In order to teach Lightly Row in Suzuki volume 1, I believe that students need a number of prerequisites:

  1. Knowledge of all fingers on A and E string.
  2. Ability to play a scale with single notes.
  3. Ability play Twinkle.

Steps to teaching:

  1. Teach the Words to Lightly Row:
    • Lightly Row, Fast and Slow, Up a river we will go
    • Mississippi, Mississippi, That’s the place to go go go
    • On our violins we play, 12345 Hooray
    • Mississippi, Mississippi, That’s the place to go go go
  2. Teach Tunnel Fingers
    1. Place 1 and 2 on A. (Leave the tunnel over the E string without touching the E string.)
    2. Play MSS on E string without squeaks.
  3. Teach, “Up a River we will go” A 1 2 3 E E E – These are the “Steps”
  4. Teach, “That’s the place to go go go” A 2 E E 2 2 2 using Tunnel Fingers over the E. These are the skips.
  5. Switch back and forth between the two parts. I do a coin toss to pick the part. Heads for the steps. Tails for the skips.
  6. Have student play with you doing the endings only. (Teacher will play the whole song, but students will only play when you get to the steps and skips.)
  7. Next lesson, teach “Lightly Row, Fast and Slow” starting with Tunnel Fingers. E 2 2, 3 1 1
  8. Also teach “Mississippi, Mississippi” starting with the Tunnel Fingers. E 2 2 2, 3 1 1 1
  9. Show the difference in the two lines by drawing the letters on a page. Clap and count the difference.
  10. Put “Lightly Row, Fast and slow” together with “Up a river we will go”
  11. Put “Mississippi, Mississippi” together with “That’s the place to go go go.”
  12. Have students play each part with the teacher (with prompts in between).
  13. Next lesson, teach the third line, “On our violins we play, 12345 Hooray.” 1 1 1 1 1 2 3, 2 2 2 2 2 3 E. Students should count how many 1’s you play.
  14. Put the whole song together in parts. Eventually, the form will take shape because of the lyrics.

Students commonly play the wrong rhythm at the beginning of the lines. If this happens, ask them what the words are to that part. Is it Lightly Row Row, or Lightly Row?