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Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Shifting: More Than a Toolbox of Tricks
By Diane Grieser and Karin Hendricks
The heterogeneous string classroom can often present challenges to string teachers in knowing how to help a variety of students develop complex string technique such as shifting and vibrato. Just like teaching any skill in any subject, teaching string-specific technique requires specific types of knowledge, and long-term success depends largely on ensuring that technical fundamentals are well taught. In this two-part series, we will address the issues of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK)—the integration of content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge—in regard to shifting and vibrato in the heterogeneous string classroom, to demonstrate how knowledge of technique works hand-in-hand with knowledge of teaching.
The Conductorless String Orchestra
By Shira Katsman
“Conductorless.” This word does not exist in the dictionary, yet the conductorless orchestra is gaining popularity. Professional organizations such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and A Far Cry perform without a conductor, and if you have had the opportunity to attend a high school orchestra festival recently, you probably would have seen at least one ensemble perform a piece without a conductor. What is so appealing about playing conductorless? Is it something you should try with your students, and if so, how would you teach them?
“Who’s Drivin’ This Bus?” The Learner-Centered String Class
By Blair Williams
Teachers want students to development life skills, such as collaboration, higher-order thinking, and problem solving, while acquiring and demonstrating the appropriate technique to perform on their instrument. One way to provide opportunity for such involvement in the learning process is by generating activities and assessments within the learner-centered model. Through this model, teachers and students can blend the development of each of these skills using the vehicle of the string class or lesson.
An Interview with Dr. Marvin J. Rabin
By Mary Perkinson
Marvin J. Rabin was Emeritus Professor of Music at University of Wisconsin (UW)–Madison and founder of the Wisconsin String and Orchestral Development Program for the Department of Continuing Education in the Arts. In addition, he was the founding director and conductor of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras, the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras (BYSOs), and responsible for the development of the Central Kentucky Youth Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Rabin was known internationally as a string development specialist and as a pioneer of youth orchestras.
Re/Covering the Past: Exploring Old-Time Music in the Classroom
By Nate Olson
In recent years, old-time fiddling has become more popular than ever among revivalists and increasingly present in string education. It is likely that you or your students have heard or seen videos of adventurous old-time fiddlers such as Bruce Molsky, Brad Leftwich, Tatiana Hargreaves, Kirk Sutphin, Dan Gellert, or Brittany Haas, among many others who are part of this scene—and old-time fiddle tune arrangements have multiplied, becoming some of the most popular tunes for string orchestras at nearly every level.