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Music – A Universal Language

June 9th, 2016 by Katherine Moller

Through the years I have had a variety of teaching experiences.  My first job was teaching remedial violin at a fine arts school in Montreal.  All of the students at the school had to either play an instrument or sing, so my job was to bring students who had come to the school late up to the level of their classmates.  It was a bilingual school, so some of my students spoke English, some spoke Friends, and one girl only spoke Mandarin.  It was quite an introduction!

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Since then, I have taught a variety of students.  It is currently my pleasure to be teaching two Syrian girls who are newcomers to our community.  This has been a lovely adventure!  The girls did not speak any English when they first came.

Music is such a great way to work with these girls.  The first things that you usually learn in a new language are the alphabet and how to count.  In music, knowing the letters A through G and being able to count, from 1 to 4, will get you started!  Between that and showing them how to physically hold the instrument and bow; as well as demonstrating what I want them to do, we are moving along quite well!

So what have been my contributions to their English?  The word “again”.  As all of my students know, “again” is one of my favourite words in lessons!  We have also worked on bowings and the idea of “up” and “down”.

I am enjoying the adventure, and hope that the girls are having a good experience too.  I have had other newly arrived students in past years whose parents have worried about the language barrier.  This is one of the things that I love about teaching music!  Even though there are things that would be easier to explain with words, music truly in a universal language!

*Please note the picture that another student had given me with a note on the back! Sometimes I doubt myself and then they give me this. I am blessed!

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''Celtic fiddle with a classical twist:
the heart and soul of afiddler, the artistry and finesse of a classical violinist.''