Today is Saturday, so I didn’t have a chance to work with the kids much. They have a half day on Saturdays, and then they busy themselves the rest of the day with cleaning up at the school.
On Wednesday, before I left for Nairobi, I started an idea that may be a good substitute for the kids at the school not having any kind of recording available to listen to the Suzuki CD. I decided to take a few of the kids who may be able to catch on fast, and then have them learn ahead of the class. This isn’t ideal, because it favors a few kids above the rest, but I think it may be better than having no model at all.
The idea is that these few students will learn the repertoire ahead of the regular violin classes, and then during the morning, they will perform for the students on a daily basis. This way, even the pre-school students will be able to hear the Suzuki tunes, before they even begin the violin. And the ones who are learning the violin presently will have had a chance to hear these songs and learn them by ear before attempting them physically.
I did this because I was finding it an insurmountable task to not only teach the kids how to play Twinkle, but also just teach them how Twinkle goes. They know how to sing the song, but they don’t quite understand how the variations work quite yet. If they could just hear it and get it in their ears, their incredible natural musicality would take them far. So I came up with this solution. We’ll see how it works.
Today, I pulled aside Levy, the headmaster’s son, and two boys, Brian and Martin. I was hesitant to choose Levy, because he is getting so many special breaks from being the headmaster’s son – but he really is quick at picking up the instrument and he has some very natural leadership skills from being the son of a very charismatic leader of the school. (He needs to cut his nails, though. 🙂 ) Brian and Martin had a little difficulty with the second variation of Twinkle, but they’ve got the first one pretty well down after today’s session. They understand the form and can do it, especially with Levy’s help.