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  • #18951 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    In this extended video, starring Grace, I unleash the mischievous methods I have used over the years to keep students on their toes and satisfy my impulse to exact karma where possible. Oddly, my students seem to enjoy this kind of mistreatment.

    There is always a method to my madness.

    1. Testing the bow tip shows the student that it is desirable to keep the bow heavy towards the tip. The first time you do this test, you may find the student’s bow flopping away from the violin. Not acceptable. Tell them to keep the bow on the string.

    2. Mr. Bump Simon says draws the student’s mind to the thumb knuckle during random exercise movements. If Mr. Bump has to touch stuff, the thumb never collapses.

    3. Standing on one foot teaches balance and agility and is rarely as easy as Grace makes it look. When the student is allowed to return both feet to the floor, they will appreciate the freedom to balance the weight naturally and evenly on both sides of the body.

    4. Dropping the left hand on every open string in the piece shows that the student is holding the violin securely with the head and shoulder. If they’re not, they’ll fix it, then they will be doing it soon!

    5. Marching or walking and playing is like chewing gum and well, walking or marching at the same time. Add to the challenge of playing violin by adding another physical movement, then when the student doesn’t have to do both, playing is a lot easier.

    6. The Pointy Pencil is simply a threat. Must I say don’t ever really allow it to come into contact with the student’s hand? If pointy pencils, pinched noses and snipping thumbs that peek over fingerboards is a little too much for you, maybe you’ve come to the wrong Violin Teacher.

    7. Knocking unceremoniously on the violin while the student is holding with head only is another challenge that forces the student to secure the instrument. A little meanness goes a long way.

    8. Blindfolding (tying hands, taping mouths shut, etc) is sometimes necessary for naughty peekers who have not trained the ear to hear the music instead of relying on the eyes to read the printed page. If you can trust the student, simply closing their eyes will accomplish the same thing.

    9. Grabbing the bow is a shocking, abrupt, poke in the ribs sort of thing to do to a student but it does make a point. Keep a firm bow grip. In my experience the student never lets it happen twice.

    10. Playing on one’s knees humbles… oh, never mind. It’s just a fun variation. Pillow included.

    1. Play with the bow grip half way up. Shortening the bow makes it harder to play, but when the student has access to the entire bow again, they have learned to get sound with less bow.

    2. Playing with bow upside down, although it naturally weights the tip end of the bow, is just silly. And therefore, fun.

    3. Playing while laying on the floor is for tired people who still have some practicing to do.

    #18958 Reply


    I love your playfulness in teaching! I’m still trying to unlearn old habits of tension and pressuring myself. The resulting anxiety is very destructive for me. Sometimes I have to limit my practice time or just practice very simple exercises to avoid tension and anxiety. I’d love any other suggestions.

    #18959 Reply


    I hope my teacher doesn’t make me play on my knees or laying down. I would never get back up. JK. It looks like fun.

    #18963 Reply

    Jennifer Bachman

    Hi Dianne
    I love this Video,You were having just too much fun….Especially like the pointy pencil, that is one of the problems I am having with my playing right now, will have to have Dh help me with that one..
    You’re a hoot.. thanks for sharing the video.

    #18964 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    Thanks for the nice comments friends!

    #18983 Reply


    this is a funny way to have fun and work on the violin 😉

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