Suzuki Violin Group Class Games done well can bring new levels of enthusiasm to Suzuki students. As teachers, we all need fresh ideas for making Suzuki group classes fun. The following activities are themed around St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Find individual activities as well as ready lesson plans below. I have separated this article into two sections – Suzuki activities for older students and Suzuki activities for students at the Pre-Twinkle and early Suzuki book 1 level.
Suzuki Violin Group Class Ideas for Older Students (Bk 2 and up)
Older students need to be challenged in a different way in order to stay motivated with the Suzuki group classes. It is a great idea for older students to have opportunities to explore different types of music in their group classes. Keeping things interesting and using elements outside the Suzuki literature will actually help a lot older students who may be loosing their motivation for staying in Suzuki lessons. These will work perfectly if you have students aged 9 and up. The activities will also work well for younger Suzuki students around Bk 2 and 3 levels.
Bagpipe and Musette
This is a very popular activity used by many Suzuki violin teachers. Have younger students play a drone on G and D strings while other students play Musette. This can also be a great opportunity to talk about the bagpipe.
Playing drone over Musette can be a great way for you to talk more about the technique of double stops. The students can continue practicing the same way as Musette on different Irish pieces. In this case the teacher would play the main melody. The students will play double stop drones over it. If there is a more advanced student in the class, they can be motivated by learning a more difficult part.
If the students in your group classes are old enough to do more advanced reading, you can use St Patrick to fit in a day of reading Irish music. Your students will LOVE you for it! you can also do a small unit where in the month around St Patrick your older students focus on a few Irish fun pieces.
Listen and Learn About Irish Music
Older students can be assigned to listen to Irish music. Even though this activity is not directly related to playing the violin, it can be very empowering and motivational. If you want them to do it at home, then they can have it as HW and come back with a paragraph written about what they have listened and learned. Check Free Irish Music Downloads to get started. Your students can be assigned something as simple as going on Youtube in order to complete their assignment. If you wish the activity to be a part of the class- then assign the students listen to different Irish pieces and come up with two favorites. Then ask them to come to the group class with an electronic device and be ready to share their findings with the rest of the Suzuki group class students. If you make sure that the students prepare well, this can be a ver rewarding experience. In this case you will play for the first half of class and have the sharing session in the second half.
Suzuki Violin Group Lesson Games and Ideas for Pre-Twinkle and Book 1
paper green cards
There are quite a few things you can do with cutting simple paper green cards. The cards can have different tasks for students to accomplish in a fun way.
Here is one fun activity that could take the majority of the class time: Every student picks a green card from a bag. On the front of the card there is one Suzuki review piece and one technical/preview activity. In the back there is one piece they need to practice more at home and prepare for a mini recital the following group class. The students need to present the tasks in the front of the card to their peers. Their assignment is to practice at home what is on the back. This activity can have many variables depending on the students needs.
Often teachers need ready lesson plans to make their teaching easy. So in the case above your Suzuki group lesson plan may look like this:
Ready Suzuki Violin Lesson Plan
(Pre-Twinkle and Early Book 1)
- Tune and get ready.
- Play Twinkle with different rhythms
- Explain to students about St Patrick’s Day and that the Suzuki group lesson is dedicated to it. Then play one more Twinkle with a new “made up” rhythms reflecting on St Patrick’s Day. You can have students experiment and have fun with it.
- Have a bag ready and do the activity explained above. This activity will take longer. Depending on the size of the class you may want to add more tasks for students to do (if the Suzuki group class is small) or keep them to one simple task (if the Suzuki group class is large)
- After students demonstrate their skills, do an overview of the lesson- remind them what they need to prepare at home and that you are excited about a great after-St Patrick’s Day mini recital.
Final Thoughts To The Readers
I wish you have lots of fun with these activities! I also hope that this article has made your planning of Suzuki violin group classes easier. The purpose of this blog is to make things easy for YOU! This is why I have a quick question to make your experience on the blog better. I have included a ready lesson plan as a part of this posts. I wonder if the readers of my blog would like to see more just ready, already developed lesson plans that they can just pick up and use. Feel free to give me feedback in the comments or by contacting me.