Here is what we learned about the educational model used in this project:
- Taking time is essential; making effective changes in equipment and playing habits requires several months.
- It takes a team to provide the variety of expertise necessary to give support to the students. Violin or viola teacher, Alexander Technique teacher, equipment technician, and a group of students with similar goals all contribute to the necessary mix for success.
- Having a wide range of equipment on hand increases success through efficiency and accuracy of fittings while decreasing stress and drop-out rate. Our equipment included specially designed chin rests and shoulder rests not yet found in stores. Our equipment technician adjusted and created new equipment as needed.
- Re-adjusting equipment, re-positioning the instrument, and re-training cramped playing habits must all go together.
This three-part approach helps to eliminate the “rejection” of new equipment by the body and improves overall coordination to improve playing technique.
- A supportive atmosphere is necessary, in which the school administration, violin and viola teachers, and fellow students all support the learning process.