The Value of Teaching Open String Songs

Posted on 2:27 pm

The Beginning Violinist: A Companion Book for Children and Adults starts out with Open String Songs. I wanted to briefly give you some of the benefits of using Open String Songs with your students!


1) Open String Songs help students more quickly understand where notes are located on the fingerboard.


Students of any age can quickly learn how to read open string notes on the staff because they can easily see that they are in different locations. You can talk about the highest note and have them listen to their highest string and the same for the lowest note and string. The middle notes and strings are far enough apart that students can see and hear which one is lower and higher. These locations, both by aural pitch and location on the instrument set up a firm foundation for learning to read the notes on the staff and find their locations on each string.

2) Open String Songs allow beginners to play a song within the first few lessons


Because you don’t have to teach the left hand right away, students are playing there first songs very quickly, and they are musically and rhythmically interesting. Parents love this as well!

3) You can teach students to read more complex rhythms from the start with Open String Songs


I teach my students quarter and 8th note rhythms to start, and fairly quickly add in 16th notes. Students can learn to read any combination of quarter, 8th or 16th notes early on. Many students who have been taking lessons for years have difficulty with this skill when they have been trained mostly by ear. Students who learn to read these from the beginning avoid this pit-fall, and can also play the rhythms by ear easily!

4) Students experience progress quickly, which means they enjoy learning more!


We want our students to experience success as soon as possible because that’s what makes learning fun! If we don’t feel like we’re getting anywhere we’re most likely not going to stick with something. Open String Songs allow students to feel that enjoyment of success very early on and so they find violin fun!

5) Open String Songs make posture and instrument positioning easier


Usually students start out plucking, but because of lack of repertoire that utilizes only open strings, soon students are transitioned to using the left hand and/or the bow. This quick transition often leads to a teacher needing to correct many posture things all at one time. By having an ample repertoire of Open String Songs a teacher can make sure that each student is set up correctly, and make that positioning a habit before adding new complexities!

6) Lastly, The Open String Songs in The Beginning Violinist all include piano accompaniment so students get to play REAL music from the start that’s fun!


If you’ve looked at the same books that I have, you might be disenchanted with the open string material available on the market. It’s usually boring and very repetitious (4 bars of quarter note A’s for instance). The Beginning Violinist offers songs on open strings that are engaging! They are rhythmically and musically interesting for students, teachers and parents, and all of the songs have beautiful piano accompaniment so that students feel like they are playing real music – because they are!

Check out The Beginning Violinist 2015 Video Series to hear some of these beautiful Open String Songs with Piano Accompaniment:

 Emily Williams is the creator of Strategic Strings: An Online Course for Violin and Viola Teachers

Digg it StumbleUpon Google Yahoo!

Leave a reply