Skills for Twinkle

As you can see when perusing this list, learning to play the violin well develops focus, coordination, relaxation, precision, attention to detail, discipline, perseverance, responsibility, and balance right from the start.

These skills are needed for every song ever played on the violin. They form the foundation for all successful violin playing, and strong foundations take time to build and solidify before adding to them. Therefore, these skills—and the correlating ability to play the variations and theme of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star—often take the longest time in violin study (compared to how long it takes to learn each skill subsequently added to this foundation).

Remember that it is much harder—and much more time consuming—to unlearn bad habits later on than it is to learn good habits right from the start. Therefore, when beginning violin instruction, remember the importance of strong foundations and celebrate each and every step!

• Positions of the feet
    o Rest position—eventually with corresponding violin rest position, and ability to bow
     (bending at waist, looking at feet)
    o Ready feet
    o Playing feet
• Violin on the shoulder—with playing feet
    o Relaxed
    o Head providing natural counterbalance, resting on the violin
• Head turned toward the violin independently of the body

• An attention span developed to the duration of the Twinkle variations
• Quiet hands, quiet body, quiet mind (we hope!)
• Eventually, able to hold the box (then the violin) comfortably for the duration of the
     Twinkle variation, with good focus

Rhythm Sense
• Internal pulse
• Feeling different lengths of notes and rests
• Able to tap, "soap," handshake, and play five different rhythms

Aural & Internalized Knowledge of the Twinkle Tune and Its Pitches
• Pitch recognition—A, E, and eventually every note in the whole A Major scale
• Knowing the song—as demonstrated by humming or singing it

Bow Hand Formation
• Identification of bow hand→bow "bunny"→hand ably formed on bow
• Bent, soft thumb
• Relaxed fingers, positioned correctly
• Firm (so that it can control the bow)
• Flexible (so there isn't a death grip)

Care of Instrument & Bow
• Identification of parts of the violin
• Identification of parts of the bow
• How to clean off rosin dust
• How to rosin the bow
• How to tighten & loosen the bow
• Able to carry and be responsible for carrying one's own instrument safely

Holding the Violin & the Bow at the Same Time
• Good posture & good bow hold
• Coordination & independence of the right & left sides of the body

Placement of the Bow on the String
• Silently, without making any sound
• Control over both ends of the bow (the tip & the frog)

Bow Articulation
• Understanding of and discriminatory recognition of tone
• Able to stop the bow on the string, without pressure (listening for the ring),
     in between notes→good preparation in between notes
• Relaxed bow arm—shoulder, elbow, hand all relaxed
• Staying on the "highway"
• Bow direction (straight)
• Bow distribution/division
• Bow speed (for Twinkle theme)

Changing Strings
• Able to rock the bow accurately & in isolation from the E string to the A string,
     and vice versa
• Completely relaxed, smooth motion

Left Hand Formation
• Soft (relaxed, not gripping) thumb with natural curve, but not bent
• Hovering fingers
• Finger numbers
• Placement of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd fingers
    o At inside corners, still relaxed
    o A Major finger pattern
    o Ability to build fingers in sequence
    o Whole and half steps (accurately on pitch)

Able to Practice: "Correct Repetitions With Thought"
• Good listening habits
• Able to listen & imitate what is heard
• Able to follow directions
• Able to work as a team (parent as "home teacher" and child)

Copyright NWISC 2007—2015