“Teaching from the Balance Point” – A Guide for Suzuki Parents, Teachers, and students by Edward Kreitman
This book was so amazing, What can I say about this book other than to go read it right now if you are a Suzuki parent, teacher, or a student? I learned so much and was reminded of even more while reading this book. Ed Kreitman is an excellent teacher and is able to make complex skills seem doable and simple.
Let me summarize in short 5 priorities that Kreitman uses. When he is teaching, Kreitman uses his 5 priorities to help him decide what needs his focus.
Kreitman’s 5 priorities are:
1. Teaching balanced posture of the body, including violin and bow hold.
2. Teaching balanced tone production or tonalization.
3. Teaching perfect intonation.
4. Teaching skills for developing artistic musicianship in performance.
5. Teaching notes and bowings to new pieces.
He explains why he spends so much time working on balanced posture instead of teaching the notes to new songs. He helps us understand why we should work on having a balanced tone and perfect intonation before working on artistic musicianship in performance.
As a teacher, it has been incredible useful to read what he has to say, and then to spend some time seeing a vision for my students. I ask myself, “Am I neglecting to work on their posture and just working on new music? Are they frustrated because their working piece doesn’t sound that great because their tone is not balanced?” With a vision of how I want my students to play way down the road helps me stay focused on the right priority for each individual student.
As a bonus, he also has chapters on practicing, review, shifting and positions, and vibrato. Basically, he covers everything a beginning Suzuki student is going to learn for the first several years and gives an overview of how what happens at the beginning will lay a foundation for the “advanced skills” of vibrato and shifting.
I highly recommend any of my violin students or parents to read this book. You will have a better understanding of how to improve you violin playing.