Teaching Strings in Today’s Classroom: A Guide for Group Instruction assists music education students, in-service teachers, and performers to realize their goals of becoming effective string educators. It introduces readers to the school orchestra environment, presents the foundational concepts needed to teach strings, and provides opportunities for the reader to apply this information. The author describes how becoming an effective string teacher requires three things of equal importance: content knowledge, performance skills, and opportunities to apply the content knowledge and performance skills in a teaching situation.
In two parts, the text addresses the unique context that is teaching strings, a practice with its own objectives and related teaching strategies. Part I (Foundations of Teaching and Learning String Instruments) first presents an overview of the string teaching environment, encouraging the reader to consider how context impacts teaching, followed by practical discussions of instrument sizing and position, chapters on the development of each hand, and instruction for best practices concerning tone production, articulation, and bowing guidelines. Part II (Understanding Fingerings) provides clear guidance for understanding basic finger patterns, positions, and the creation of logical fingerings. String fingerings are abstract and thus difficult to negotiate without years of playing experience—these chapters (and their corresponding interactive online tutorials) distill the content knowledge required to understand string fingerings in a way that non-string players can understand and use.
Teaching Strings in Today’s Classroom contains pedagogical information, performance activities, and an online virtual teaching environment with twelve interactive tutorials, three for each of the four string instruments.
Rebecca B. MacLeod is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she directs the string education program and conducts the UNCG Sinfonia. She has served on the American String Teachers Association National Board and is past president of the ASTA North Carolina chapter.