Teaching Tone With Sound Innovations: Sound Development for Intermediate String Orchestra, Level 1: Sound Tone

Kirk D. Moss, Ph.D.

Kirk D. Moss, Ph.D.

Without sound, there would be no music; and without the right hand, a string player makes no sound. A string player’s right hand shares similarities with the voice of a singer. Many string teachers compare the bow to the singer’s breath. Just as a singer vocalizes, a string player needs to “tonalize” or produce sound by a planned design. Designing a signature sound requires more than simply playing a warm-up scale, and that’s why I’m excited to tell you about Level 1: Sound Tone within the new Sound Innovations: Sound Development for Intermediate String Orchestra.

 Level 1 offers a systematic approach to developing right-hand technique through teaching sequences that refine the most important variables of sound: bowing lanes, bow weight, and bow speed. Teach your students to change bowing lanes for added dynamic contrast, release bow weight to feel the natural spring of the bow stick, save and spend bow length by varying bow speed, and use different sections of the bow by dividing the bow into thirds. Imagine how refined your students will sound when they vary these variables to produce a more characteristic beautiful tone in their repertoire. Remember: Students can do anything; we just have to teach them how.

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