How does the ViolinCircus work?
The purpose of ViolinCircus is to practice intelligently focussing only on single aspects of string playing at a time. The actions on the cards are always to be combined with a piece or exercise the student is working on. The cards are sorted into three categories:
- Characters and Timbre:
The student plays the piece in many different dynamics, he/she varies the speed, tone quality and timbre.
- Technique and Accuracy:
The student focuses on good body posture, economical bowing- and left hand technique.
- Acrobatics and Creativity:
The student can make up his own ways of playing the piece, experiment with acrobatical movements and use his/her creative mind.
Later on it is possible to combine the three categories for more than 4500 different fun repetitions once the single cards are internalized well.
What makes the ViolinCircus so effective?
My students often ask me at the beginning of the lesson, if they can draw a card. I especially use the cards for memorizing passages or getting ready for a concert. I use very short passages for the little kids, repeating them using the cards. As the student first focusses on playing/learning a passage, then on drawing a card and again on playing the piece he/she has to actively remember the passage, and the piece is repeated without the student noticing. By using different characters and techniques early on the student develops a large pallet of means of expression.
The ViolinCircus costs 14,80€ (+ shipping) and is in English and German. The package contains 57 cards and a sticker for a dice in an organza or a handpainted fabric bag. The game is specially suitable for use in lessons with string students aged 4-11 and for their practice at home. Older students also benefit from ViolinCircus before concerts or competitions.
The ViolinCircus won the prize of excellence for the best master thesis 2017 at the University Mozarteum Salzburg, Austria.
The Author: Kundri Lu Emma Schäfer holds master degrees in violin and viola from UdK Berlin, Mozarteum Salzburg, Musikhochschule Hanns Eisler Berlin and HK Bern. She is a member of the ORBIS String Quartet and has a violin teaching studio in Berlin, Germany.