Session 1.5: Coaching Violin/ Viola Students to Play with More Ease
Session: Playing and teaching the violin or viola is a complex process, as the instrument support and coordination between the hands can be challenging. This presentation outlines a few basic strategies for teachers and ensemble conductors to assist students in developing proficiency and ease when playing the violin or viola. It is based on principles drawn from the Alexander Technique (Alexander, Alcantara, Davies, Kleinman & Buckoke).
This presentation includes some basic understanding of anatomy through body mapping (Conable, Dimon, Johnson), and offers some practical suggestions in the following areas: standing and sitting, instrument support, ease in using the bow and left-hand finger action. These strategies can also be utilised by performers and in remedial teaching to facilitate ease in technical development. As the upper string instruments constitute about 75% of the string section, the presentation will focus on the upper string instruments.
Sheau-Fang Low’s passion in violin pedagogy is reflected in her Master degree research thesis; which also led her to pursue further training and gaining certification in the Suzuki Method, the Colourstrings Method and Dalcroze Eurhythmics. She has given presentations in numerous workshops and conference on various aspects of violin teaching for more than two decades.
She is undertaking the Alexander Technique teacher training with Greg Holdaway and Anne Finlay at the BodyMinded Alexander Technique School. Janet Davies, Shi-Xiang Zhang, Semyon Kobets, Charmain Gadd and Alice Waten, were her mentors in violin playing.
Currently an AMEB (NSW) string examiner and violin pedagogue at Barker College; she is sought after for her ability to adapt her teaching to suit the various learning styles of her students. Many of her students have been successful at AMEB examinations, music auditions and various competitions.
Sheau-Fang is one of the founding committee members of the Australian Strings Academy (ASA); and has served as committee member for AUSTA (NSW), the Dalcroze Australia Society, the band and string committee at her children’s public school, and as Director of the Zhang Violin Summer School. She has been active in violin performance, being a long standing member with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra.