March 1, 2011 – Sequence to teaching O Come Little Chilldren

In order to teach O Come Little Children in Suzuki volume 1, I believe that students need a number of prerequisites:

  1. Knowledge of the songs that precede it.
  2. Ability to make a tunnel with fingers over the E string.
  3. Ability to use two most of the bow with good tone. If students are unable to use the lower half of the bow, double up bows become more difficult.
  4. Ability to do some “Open, Close, Float, Sink” Exercises. (Wrist, elbow, and shoulder float to use lower half of bow)
  5. Ability to start in the middle of the bow to do an up bow.

Steps to teaching:

  1. Teach the words to the song:
    O come, little children, O come one and all,
    To Bethlehem haste, to the manger so small,
    God’s son for a gift has been sent you this night
    To be your redeemer, your joy and delight.
  2. Sing and motion: Up down up down up down up down up down up, up down up down up down up down up down up, etc.
  3. Start in the middle of the bow and float up bow.
  4. Play the rhythm of the song on open E while singing the words of the first line. (Make sure to start up bow in the middle of the bow.) Help the student stop the bow in the middle so they have room to go up. Do this several times in a row.
  5. Play the rhythm of the first seven notes on open strings: E E A E E A E (Make sure to start up bow in the middle of the bow.)
  6. Make a C# tunnel over the E string. Then do play: E E C# E E C# E (Make sure to start up bow in the middle of the bow.)
  7. Play D B B A starting down bow.
  8. Put the previous two steps together.
  9. In the next lesson, teach the next two sections of the song by rote. They may need help with the large skip to High A on the last line.

I believe the hard part of the song is the double up bow. Some students may start adding double up bow to other parts of the song or other songs. Take care of this quickly before it becomes a bad habit for them.

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