Are you teaching violin group classes? Perhaps you need fresh ideas for teaching your violin group class with more variety. Let me share all the things that have worked for me! I started this blog about five years ago hoping it will be helpful to other violin teachers. Everything from specific violin class ideas, to how to schedule your lesson plan, and ready materials. I hope the ideas in this post will be helpful to you as well!
Quick important update: Before you continue reading, we are starting a brand new music teacher You Tube channel where you can find lots of string teaching ideas along with the ones in this blog. We want to provide as many free ideas to teachers as possible. Please check us out here.
But first…about me…
I have been teaching strings in the school system for the past 14 years. I absolutely love what I do.
About seven years ago I started working as a coordinator at the University of New Mexico String Pedagogy program. I taught demo lessons and help younger educators create lesson plans and develop their teaching skills. I had the honor of working with Prof. Susan Kempter. As a result, this blog was born. I have now moved to a different position teaching at a high school and its feeder middle school. I am still somewhat involved in the Suzuki community but mostly as a clinician. I am still constantly working with young teachers through my blog and in the community.
So if you need ideas for teaching violin group classes, let’s get started! You are always welcome to contact me directly if you have a question, need an idea, or want to work with me.
You can find these ideas useful both in a public school setting, violin class at a private or charter school, or a Suzuki violin program.
Update: I have started uploading new violin lesson plans and materials on my Teachers Pay Teachers store page. You can see a ready violin group lesson for you to use here and lots of other materials here.
Teaching Violin Group Classes Depending on The Class Size
This is so important and sometimes overlooked!
The difference in student numbers makes a huge difference in the way a violin group class should be taught in order to keep the students engaged.
Generally a smaller class size is easier to manage but requires more energy on the teacher’s part in order to keep kids engaged. You would need to change activities more often and keep the pace of the lesson faster. Lesson planning will require more activities.
If you feel your class is tiny and some activities may not work, it is great to engage the parents 9in Suzuki setting), thus creating a bigger class size. Here are to articles that will help you with the ideas discussed, and especially if you have a small class.
On the other hand, a big class is actually very easy to teach. But…only after you get experienced managing a large crowd. You will find ideas below.
The kids feed off of each other’s energy and all activities tend to be easier to do. Usually in a large class there is no issue of keeping students engaged in what they do. Enthusiasm flows and motivating students is easier.
The planning time is actually less as it takes longer for more kids to go through an activity. So centering the violin group class around just 2-3 things is more than enough. If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, there is a section about specific ideas about lesson plan and structuring your violin group class.
So if your challenge is a large class and keeping everyone quiet and behaved, you may enjoy these tips:
- 4 Tips to Improve the Behavior of Your Students
- What to Do at the Beginning of Class and How to Prevent Students from Plucking All the Time
Teaching Violin Group Classes Around the Holidays
Let’s get to the fun part!
The Holidays provide such a wonderful opportunity to reinforce skills in a fun way. As the kids naturally get excited around all holidays. So using themed lessons is a fantastic way to teach! These ideas are also great if you feel that some students are loosing interest in playing. It will spark their enthusiasm right back up!
So here are some violin group class teaching ideas centered around three holidays! They are lots of fun! They will keep your students busy for awhile!
What is even better? It is not difficult to substitute the activities. What is suggested for Halloween can very easily be modified and done in a regular class or say at Christmas time.
Note: I will have Valentine’s Day group class ideas coming up soon! I am also developing some ready resources for violin group classes that I may put on my Teachers Pay Teachers page. So if interested, bookmark this page and check back with this post!
- 2 Halloween Games Kids Love
- Halloween Activities for String Classes
- Easter Violin Games and Activities
- St Patrick’s Day Suzuki Violin Group Class Ideas
Teaching Posture As a Part of Your Violin Group Class
Again, I do so much with posture. I have so many ideas and very little time to write them all down. So again, check back on the page for updates of the content. The holiday lesson plans above have plenty of posture components. But for now, here are a few ideas to integrate posture work in your violin group class in a fun way:
Teaching Violin Group Classes Based on Student Interests
This is important!
Have you ever worried about student retention? We all have! None of us want students to loose interest and drop out of playing, correct? So…
What do your students like? What are their interest? What are their favorite movies, favorite sports, what do they like doing outside school?
If you know this and you are able to tap into it while planning for your lessons, YOU WILL NEVER have kids dropping out! Period! Teaching with the students in mind is the best way to develop a great music program or a private studio.
Here are some ideas that have worked for me. This can be take on so many different shapes and forms depending on your students age and interest!
- I have done sections of the group class where students get to share their heritage and background at the end of the class. It works well at the beginning of the year or if you have students who are new and need to get to know each other.
- Just as many teachers have “composer of the month” you can have also “student of the month”. Each month a student gets to introduce their family, what they enjoy doing, if they are in sports, etc. And at the end they get to play for the class. Or for that day they get to be the “teacher” and tell the class what activity to do.
- When Harry Potter’s last episode came out my students absolutely loved having lessons with Harry Potter theme.
- My students love Star Wars. Who doesn’t? So here are ready lesson plan ideas with Start Wars theme. This will be a guaranteed hit!
The best idea? Have your students come up with fun games and activities for your class. You will be amazed how creative they can get!
How to Structure Your Violin Group Classes
It is always good to have a structure in place. This way you can “plug in” activities into the structure that you have created for yourself, instead of having to re-invent the wheel with a new idea every single class. Also, keep in mind that students handle routine better! It makes them feel safe as they know what to expect. So creative routines and structure of a lesson plan is quite important.
Here are three super easy suggestions. They are basic as I don’t know the specifics of your class situation, but would get the job done!
Lesson Plan Structure #1
- Start the class with a scale or preview piece
- Work on bow holds, left hand and posture
- Choose one pice to work on for longer with a specific technical element the students need to practice
- Choose one thing do for fun. The ideas linked above will give you plenty of ideas!
Lesson Plan Structure #2
- Start the class with a scale or technical work.
- Play through pieces students are working on at the moment.
- Choose one piece or part of a piece to work on.
- Have students close with a fun activity.
Lesson Plan Structure #3
- Start the class with short stretching
- Work on posture
- Do one piece or activity that you know students love and would have fun with.
- Have a designated time where students play solo for the class and receive feedback on what they need to improve.
- Close the lesson with an activity involving the parents (if applicable in your situation).
- If parents are not present, close with an activity where the students can work in teams and help each other out.
- End the class with short stretching and packing the violins.
Note: If you happen to be in a school situation where the administration requires lesson plans of you, then you must check this ready lesson plan.
- Always start class with activity to warm up.
- Surround the more difficult work with easier activities and fun games.
- Vary your class activities.
- Do you notice both fun activities and technical work? They always compliment each other or balance each other. It is NOT true that one can go without the other!
- I try to have a bigger plan for the structure of a lesson. Within that I can plug in anything more specific I need for that particular class.
- Thinking this way makes it very easy to plan once you start teaching many lessons in a row.
- Once you start teaching, you start feeling what works best for you and your class. Often the structure comes as a result.
Teaching Violin Group Classes in Different Countries?
One of the things about this blog that makes me incredibly happy is that we are getting more and more readers from different countries. All of the ideas you read in the blog will be applicable in any situation. However the blog provides quite a bit of resources, games and ready activities. I have started translating them so that kids and teachers everywhere can have fun with them. You can find a link below with the languages we have products for young kids learning violin so far. If you feel there is an interest where you teach, drop me a line in the comment section! Hope they are helpful:
Ready Violin Activities in:
Suzuki Group Class Ready Lesson Plans
If you teach specifically Suzuki violin, you will enjoy these ideas! This year I have started collecting what has worked for me into ready lesson plans so teachers can get them and deliver a great group lesson plan with no extra fuss or extra planning. Find links to some of them below:
Why did I title the post 100 Ideas for Teaching Violin Group Classes? I made sure to put enough links for each category leading you to lots of lesson plans, ideas, activities, and lots of different ways to structure your violin group classes. I hope it has been somewhat comprehensive and useful to you! Are the ideas 100? You decide.
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