[contact-form to=’kantatastudios@gmail.com’ subject=’Can I answer any questions which you might have?’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form] Garth Williams  In Peek-A-Boo Ghost I am offering my string teaching strategies to both new and experienced string teachers.   In my teaching, I use standard scales and studies which work with the pieces that I am teaching. I rely on Suzuki and Toronto Conservatory repertory  pieces, but I also like to augment those with compositions which I have written that highlight certain violinist techniques, such as chromatics, grace notes, col legno, staccato bowing.  I also like to highlight how a student can organize his/her bow when playing a particular piece.
“Peek-A-Boo-Ghost” is one of my pieces from “The Scampering Scarecrow Violin Book”.  It gives me the opportunity to introduce minor scales, and specifically the D Melodic Minor Scale, along with the rhythms found with the piece.

Peek A Boo Ghost- example #1
Within the piece, there are four rhythms which I highlight in our warmup to the piece:  They are as follows: Examples 1-4 have been taken directly from the piece.

The Basic Teaching Outline:

I begin by presenting these rhythms with a basic major scale, which we have been already using in our study: scales such as D Major and G Major.  I generally chart these rhythms into my student’s practise book.  They would be written down as:

Basic Rhythms From The Piece:


Peek A Boo Ghost- example #2

Practising these rhythms  with well known Major scales creates a very important comfort level for the student.  I would then introduce the D Melodic Minor scale with the rhythms (a) through (d), keeping in mind that these warmups would be covered over a period of a few weeks.

Highlight The Scale From The Piece:

Peek A Boo Ghost- example #3


Once the rhythms are secure with the new melodic minor scale, I would proceed to practise examples 1-4, first with pizzicato followed by  the same rhythms with the bow.
I would then introduce the first phrase of the piece, beginning first with pizzicato, followed by repetition with the bow.  The student will feel at home with the first phrase as he/she has already played this phrase as individual rhythm patterns.  Now we  begin to create a musical story.

Working on The First Phrase:


example #4 Peek A Boo Ghost
If I find that the addition of the bow creates problems, I would then revert back to practising the phrase with pizzicato until the left hand is secure.  Notice now that the first phrase has all the necessary articulation.  I would generally add this articulation (staccato bowing) as we are doing the warmups on examples 1-4.  The child already knows the rhythm pattern.  We only need to add a new articulation.  Notice also the use of the left hand pizzicato (+).  It now becomes a matter of highlighting these rhythms and phrases together and you gradually build the complete musical story of  “Peek-A-Boo-Ghost”.  Using the available MP3 audio also allows the student to practise this piece along with the piano accompaniment.  A great motivational tool for home practise.  My own students are very excited when their MP3 piano accompaniment arrives in the e-mail, and believe me, they do practise with it, as is evident at their lesson the following week. Peek-A-Boo-Ghost can be found for violin, viola, cello as well as for Beginning String Orchestra.  The cello composition can be found at https://www.kantatastudios.com/product/peek-a-boo-ghost-solo-violin/