The Violin and Viola Explorerprogrammesare one-year courses for 5-7 year olds that introduce beginners to all basic elements of music through singing, clapping, games and violin or viola playing. The method is taught in a playful way in groups of 6 children, who meet for a weekly 40-minute class. The class is led by Katharina Baker with the help of a teaching assistant. Parents are expected to attend the class with their child so they can take notes for home practice. (Note: younger siblings are welcome to be in the classroom with the understanding that parents will temporarily take them out of the classroom if they become a distraction to others:-))
Daily home practice is an integral part of the Explorer programme. A practice CD with all tunes and songs is given to all students and is a big help for home practice and motivation. Parents are not expected to have any musical pre-knowledge, but to accompany the child’s learning and practicing process in an encouraging way. At this age and stage, the children can not be expected to practice all by themselves, but to have the support of the parents in providing a space and a time with their children for home practice.
As it is important that all children benefit fully from the classes, home practice is vital. If another person brings your child to class, please check in with them regarding what practice needs to be done so that the child can keep up with material covered in class.
From a string-technical viewpoint, the Explorer programme concentrates on setting up a healthy posture and foundation that enables the children to play their instruments in a balanced and relaxed way. The children will learn to play on all 4 open strings, plucking and eventually bowing in a number of different bowing styles. When the basics of posture and bowing are fully established, which mostly takes the course of the first year, the left hand fingers ‘stopping action’ on the fingerboard is introduced.
Every September Coole Music starts a number of Explorer Groups. After the first year, the students move on to 30min one-to-one lessons with a new teacher or sometimes, where it suits, two students can share a 40min lesson. They are then also invited to join our Voyager Orchestra which meets on Fridays approximately twice a month to play together and learn different aspects of musicianship through games and songs and improvisation.