The Violin Channel recently caught up with Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Violin Professor and String Academy Director, Ms. Mimi Zweig.
In a VC-exclusive blog, Mimi talks us through her inspiration and purpose behind StringPedagogy.com - her online learning resource whereby she shares her lifetime experience and knowledge of string teaching.
"StringPedagogy.com began its life around the dinner table (and of course with a glass of wine) in 2001 with two colleagues, Hideki Isoda and Peggy Wheeler.
Hideki is a web designer, filmmaker, musician, composer and currently a Professor of Music at Sookmyung Women's University, South Korea. Peggy is a violinist/violist, teacher and the one that questions every spoken and written word.
The two suggested that I write down my teaching principles because there are teachers, students and parents throughout the world that could benefit from this knowledge.
The web was just beginning to offer many new and innovative opportunities for learning through written text and videos, and Hideki (the tech genius) said, “We can do this!”
Thus began the development of the first volume of StringPedagogy.com.
Volume One focuses on what to do with the very beginning student, ending with the Suzuki Twinkle Variations.
Since most of us do not remember our initial lessons it is very useful to have specific information on what to do when the excited child first enters the studio.
This first teacher is the most important teacher setting the groundwork for a healthy and happy violin life for the years to come.
What one learns in the first lessons is truly amazing: how to balance the violin and bow, shifting and vibrato rudiments, finger patterns, how to practice, rhythmic reading, ensemble playing (in the group classes), repertoire, solo performing, and the list goes on.
All this is set in a non-judgmental environment that allows for a healthy musical and physical approach.
Since 2002, we have added four volumes to StringPedagogy.com.
Volume Two helps to answer the questions on what to do with a student that has been playing but is in need of rehabilitation. We call this, Establishing a Healthy Foundation.
The focus of this volume is on etudes, scales, shifting, vibrato and putting it all together in repertoire all leading to artistry.
In addition, there are volumes that offer insights into The Cello Teaching of Susan Moses, and Setting Up for Success in the String Classroom with Brenda Brenner.
Currently, my project is placing the weekly lessons of two students (a five-year-old beginner and a new 15-year-old student to me that is going through the process of Creating a Healthy Foundation) online for teachers to observe what happens over a 30-week span.
Playing the violin is a lifelong journey for the teacher and student. The goal is for students to become their own teachers.
When students reach this level, we the teachers feel a great sense of accomplishment.
Teaching and playing the violin become a way of life that is filled with adventure, fascination and hard work.
Success lies in the joy of a good journey and this is what has and continues to inspire me to develop StringPedagogy.com.
Thanks to Thomastik Strings and Connolly Music for sponsoring StringPedagogy.com making it accessible to all.
Mimi Zweig is currently a professor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music - and serves as Director of the school's String and Summer String Academies | A student of Louis Krasner, Raphael Bronstein, Samuel Kissel, and Tadeusz Wronski, Mimi has since 1972 worked consistently on developing pre-college string programs across the United States - her famed students including Joshua Bell