AST Journal - May 2021

Volume 71, Number 2

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Making Connections in the Virtual String Classroom: New Goals for Unprecedented Times
By Tiffany Ou


As virtual teaching continues to be a part of many string programs, teachers are adapting to make meaningful connections with students across the Internet. Communities of string teachers gather online, sharing goals to make their online classrooms musically robust, caring, and connected. These are challenging goals from behind screens and wavering WiFi connections…

Developing Finger Flexibility for Playing Left-Hand Extensions on the Violin
By Stephen Nordstrom


Extensions can be particularly demanding for students who play with too much tension in the left hand. They also pose a unique problem for those with smaller hands and shorter fingers. When a student is uncomfortable with an extension passage, the result is often an unnatural manipulation of the wrist, hand, or fingers, which amounts to an overcompensation…

ASTA at 75
By BettyAnne Gottlieb


The year 2021 marks a significant anniversary in the history of the American String Teachers Association. Seventy-five years ago, Dr. Karl O. Kuersteiner put forth a proposal for an organization that had as one of its objectives the improvement of string pedagogy (Ritsema 1996). While the names, faces, scope, and mission statements have evolved over the years, the central pursuit of promoting quality string teaching remains fundamental to the organization’s purpose…

Teaching Sul Tasto: Making String Ensembles Accessible for Students with Light and Sound Sensitivities
By Mercedes Yvonne Lysaker


I first knew something was wrong when I went to my regular Thursday night orchestra rehearsal. Just two days earlier, I was on my way to work when my carpool hit a deer on the highway, and I had been feeling a little “off ” since then. I shook off the accident and tried to get back to work in the cello section, but I felt light-headed, and it was difficult to walk and speak…

Rehearsal and Performance Guide: Dello Joio’s Choreography
By Mark Laycock


The year 2021, the 75th anniversary of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), also marks fifty years since the commissioning of Choreography, a vibrant work for advanced student orchestras. Composer Norman Dello Joio (1913–2008), at the time a well-seasoned craftsman with respected contributions across a variety of genres, fashioned Choreography with clear directives as to technical, expressive, and aesthetic elements…

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