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  • Classical Violin
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    Ruth BronsOffering private lessons in
    West Orange, New Jersey
    About MeContact MeBlog

    Building a Better Bow Hold...with Philosophy!
    Posted by Ruth Brons - September 4, 2009 - 2:54 PM

    I have recently become an accidental inventor. Patent-pending and everything!

    Upon reflection, it was not quite so much an accident, but more of a falling into this creative process formula:

    Problem + Material at Hand + Philosophy = Creative Solution

    The Problem and Material at Hand were both of the most ordinary and common nature: wandering student bow hold fingers, and duct tape.

    Philosophy is the key addend. As a studio violin teacher, I daily tackle my responsibility to systematically enable students to master fundamental violin techniques. All the Suzuki pedagogy training I took decades ago has distilled into a devotion to the philosophy that my job as teacher is to identify and remove obstacles to learning. Accepting the premise that playing an instrument is easy enough for a child to do well, my role as teacher becomes that of detective.

    Teaching is now a game, like a mystery puzzle! Lessons are a fun session of sleuthing and problem solving: Is something on the music page confusing the student, like an incorrect or misunderstood notation? Does the student have an incorrect understanding of how the body works? Is the student forgetting to listen? Do we know how many repetitions this particular student needs to master a skill? Has the imagination been engaged?

    My greatest reward is when I see the student start to assume the role of self-teacher. Just yesterday, I was more proud when 10 year old Susie reached for a pencil to mark the C natural she had just missed in her working piece than when she earned her sticker on her polished piece.
    C naturals are a ordinary problem and pencils are a common material. But seeing her embrace responsibility for recognizing and solving a problem -- that's gold!

    Ruth Brons
    Inventor of Bow Hold Buddies[tm] accessory for violin/viola, and
    CelloPhant[tm] bow accessory for cello

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    Building a Better Bow Hold...with Philosophy!
    September 4, 2009
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