I just wanted to write and thank you for all of the work that you’ve put into your website! I teach three different levels of H.S.. orchestra in a suburb of Chicago. …Thanks again!!
M. C., Palatine IL
Came across your web site today. Was thrilled to find such a wealth of aids. I was very pleased with your mission and your attitude towards learning.
T. B., Meridian, MS
This web site looks really interesting. And you’re correct – you should get the word out to teachers about it.
M. S., Tempe, AZ
Thank you for such a helpful violin site!! The finger charts, and the tetra chord patterns are just perfect. And adding the midi accompaniments gives them a great way to keep it in their ear when they walk out my door. And my boyfriend is teaching himself to play cello, so now he’s thrilled to have something help him learn the notes. He’s always learned music by ear, and now he thinks he’ll be able to read in no time. What a very generous thing you have done to make learning a stringed instrument easier! THANK YOU!!
K. M., Santa Barbara CA
I also found your website – thank you! I like your concept of finding joy in the “teachable moments”. … Thanks again and take care!
J. Z., Pennsylvania
Bravo! Thanks for your continued support in educating our string youth. I really found the site useful and insightful. Thank you again.
T. D., Lancaster, TX
Thank you for publishing stringskills.com. It is an excellent resource!
K. P., Greendale WI
I teach strings in West Palm Beach, Fl. I just want to thank you for providing your site – it is a great resource!
West Palm Beach FL
I wanted to thank you for your website. I went to your clinics in February at the WMEA conference in Yakima, WA. I have used your songs and methods since as a supplement to the books that I already use; and the students ability to shift and to understand scale passages has made my life so much easier. Thank you again for sharing your knowledge and expertise on String instruments, “Us” string teachers are always struggling to find new ways and techniques to work orchestras together, and your website has opened new opportunities.
M. F., Spokane WA
I am a 6th year orchestra director in Enid, OK and i teach 3 6th grade beginning classes, 7th grade, and 8/9th grade at the junior high. I just wanted to thank you for making all of these wonderful materials available on your website- it is awesome!! It is great to find all of those things in one spot rather than several different places.
S. F., Enid OK
I just found your website and was so excited at all of the information you have made available! I am a fairly new teacher (4 years) and teach strings to beginners in grades 3-5 and also at the high school level. I have found our district’s method book to be unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. I plan on using your information in the future for my students. Thank you very much!
K. J., Virginia Beach VA
I am a public school string teacher in Halifax, NS. I have been doing some professional development finding web resources and just seeing what is out there on the net. I discovered your excellent website today; it is ironic in that my long term project before I retire from teaching strings in a few years was to create something very like what you have done. My motivation was to leave a trail new teachers could pick up on, and I see you and I have followed a similar path. I congratulate you on a very useful teaching resource.
S. W., Halifax NS Canada
I am a second year string orchestra and band teacher teaching in an English speaking school here in Seoul, South Korea. I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your website. I am using everything from your website. I learned on my own the hard way last year not “to be tied to the curriculum.” The string orchestra program is not a part of the Korean elementary/secondary system. But God just put me smack in the middle of starting a string program from elementary to high school and it’s getting attention from many Korean parents. Thanks again! All of your wisdom and experience is being put in use over here in South Korea!
B. V., Seoul, South Korea
This is my first year as Orchestra Director at Bullard High School in Fresno, Ca. Thanks so much for making your materials available. I have been organizing them into books to distribute to my class.
I am a woodwind player who has taught strings mostly in grades 7-8 for 20 years. My specialty is Jazz and I have taught band for 28 years. I have always pushed the envelope of teaching fundamentals at the beginning of each class period and your materials are perfect. Thanks again.
J. A., Fresno, CA
My mom (another orchestra teacher) actually sent me your website link and I wanted to thank you for putting up some great resources. I’ve never looked at the MENC board before so I have been spending the day reading the posts and you have a lot of great things to say.
M. O., Fort Bend TX
I would just like to thank you for your amazing website. I am a string teacher in New York and my main instrument is Double Bass. This information provided on your website will help my students tremendously! Thank you once again.
S. T., Long Island NY
I have been using your site stringskills.com recently for my string classes. Thank you for sharing your ideas and content with the string world. I am a new string teacher with a growing program and I can use all of the knowledge that is out there. Thank you for your time.
T. W., West Linn, OR
Once again I found myself exploring your site, having written you before. I enjoyed your examples, and the connections they made… Your resources are ‘very’ valid and especially well done. What can I do to … help others… understand your contributions?
An example: I play by ear ‘a lot’ and can already play America the Beautiful, with feeling, in any key, and quickly becoming, in any position.
A. J., War WV
Thank you so much for your site. I can see that you must a great performer and teacher. Thank goodness for your site…
D. M., Florida
I just want to say thank you for such a wonderful website. I have been a Suzuki violin teacher for many years and have recently begun to increase the amount of supplemental reading material that I assign my students. Your website has many excellent teaching materials, is highly navigable, and the exercises are fun and educational. Thank you for sharing your skills with the rest of the teaching community.
V. G., Farmington, CT
Just wanted to drop you a short note to say Hello and Thank You! It was a pleasant surprise to find your website and the materials available are a blessing. I have been having difficulty in finding useful exercises for my string students. Glad to see that you are doing well!
M. B., Honolulu HI
Thank you so much – this was all very helpful information. You just made my job a lot easier!
M. B., Yakima WA
Thank you for your wonderful website and insight into 9-12 strings! I came across your website while searching for various techniques and ways to improve my HS Orchestra. You are quite correct in your assertion that most teachers stop after Book II. That is why I am looking for various technical exercises.
E. F., New Providence NJ
I was just glancing through an MENC e-mail, noticed the forums, and found my way to your website. I was very impressed with a couple of things. First of all, you clearly have given a whole lot of thought to these methods, and they strike me as very innovative and useful. But the reason I felt compelled to just drop you a quick e-mail, is that I was so struck by your generosity at sharing your fine work. Goodness knows, teaching is hard work, and teaching instrumental music in a classroom is no exception. Fine suggestions like yours are such a valuable contribution to the literature, and whatever else we can find to help us, as we try to creatively move our kids forward. Thanks so much,
E. S., Santa Fe NM
What a wonderful website you have!! Thank You!! I suggest that all Suzuki Teachers visit your wonderful site!
Suzanne, Suzuki teacher
Wanted you to know that I’ve been using your website with my advanced middle school orchestra. We have been working on an orchestra piece, Ridin’ the Rails, and in that piece, the song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is incorporated. Therefore, we’ve taken the shifting songs from your website and also on the crazy rhythmic tunes and been working on them in sectionals. It’s been a great stretch for the kids. I also e-mailed the parents about the website, and several students have already printed off some of the exercises to work on at home. So, just thought you’d like to know. Thanks again, This is a great resource and I’m really enjoying using it!
B. G., Oregon
I enjoyed your sessions last week so much! I’m a long-time choral director, and this is my 2nd year teaching high school orchestra as well. I’ve conducted strings for years, but hiring professional players and telling them what I want them to do is vastly different from teaching HS string players to actually do it! It’s great fun, and I’m learning a lot, more than the students, I think. The exercises in the notes you sent will be really helpful to me and to my students. I’ve already been to www.stringskills.com, too, and I know that will provide other helpful things for me to use. Thanks for offering all this material to us! And thanks for your help.
W.O., Bealeton VA
Thank you for your very practical tips. I plan to share many of them with my conducting students!
L.M., Norfolk VA
I’ve been using several of the left hand skills you talked about, kids respond to them well.
S.S., Fairfax NJ
I remembered your stringskills.com website and it is proving to be an incredible resource. Since we don’t have many texts, the scale and song downloads are extremely helpful Thanks so much for putting this together. I hope to have my kids climbing to the stratosphere very soon 🙂
D.P., Honolulu HI
I just bumped into you site, which has so much info and represents such an enormous amount of work. Bravo.
R.B., New Jersey
I greatly appreciate the materials you have posted on your “string skills” website.
B.B., Crystal MN
Thank you for sharing your knowledge. It has been very useful to me although I don’t speak English perfectly, but you explain it so easy that anyone could understand you. Thank you very much!
V.T., Mendoza, Argentina
Your website and materials are fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing!
R.F., Batavia IL
First, thank you for making these resources available. I can see already how they will help my students improve on fundamentals of string playing. Thanks again for this excellent resource.
A.R., Glendale AZ
I’m a private violin teacher in Maryland. I just found your website and I want to tell you how wonderful I think your teaching curriculum is. I’ve been using Wohlfahrt, Introducing the Positions, Hrimaly, etc. for a while, but many students are turned off because the material is so dry. . . . I’m THRILLED to have found your website and I think your arrangements and exercises are wonderful and exciting way for students to learn these more advanced concepts. Thank you so much for making these products of your life’s work as a teacher available publicly. I certainly hope that more teachers will read your website and take all that you have said to heart. I completely agree with your observations, and I’m very excited to be able to share these materials with my students as well. Thank you so much for your dedication, creativity and hard work!
Hi, I am a high school orchestra director as well as a Suzuki violin private teacher in San Jose. Thank you for the helpful resources you have provided on your website! I would really like to use the scales for my orchestra. Again, thanks for the resources. I could not find something like what you had ANYWHERE else, with appropriate fingering suggestions for each of the instruments. Of course, there are all kinds of scale books for each individual instrument; but I was looking for something simple and concise (and free!) and something that could work as a warm-up for the entire group.
A.J., San Jose CA
I wanted to let you know that I have visited your website and think your material is great. I have down-loaded some of the one string songs you arranged and started using them with my private students. I feel like I need to pay you for them! I cannot believe you did all that work and you are giving them away. You should probably have them published so that you get some financial benefit out of your work.
My kids are intrigued by the songs, and I know they will benefit from practicing them. Thanks so much.
M. B. Raleigh NC
I found your website recently and have used many of the resources you provide with my students finding them extremely useful.
I just wanted to take the time and thank you for providing the web site, stringskills.com. I am a part time orchestra director in Virginia. I retired from full time teaching in 2009. Your web site has provided me with a wealth of material that I have used the last 2 years. I like all of your ideas especially the finger patterns and the tunes for shifting. Anyway, I just thought it was time to say thanks!
D.B., Woodbridge VA
Hello. I teach instrumental music at St. Paul Central High School in St. Paul, MN. I just came across your materials on line and was very pleased to find them. I teach one orchestra of about 65 players and the student experience and training levels are all over the map. With your permission I’d like to use much of the material you’ve posted online.
M. O., St. Paul MN
LOVE your site, have used the finger patterns extensively with my Middle Schoolers, and this year I plan on using the UNA CORDA exercises and MULTIPLE KEY exercises for my students that finish Books 1-2-3 before leaving me.
I shared your site with students last year, and wanted to pass on something that might amuse you. Apparently this one student didn’t exactly appreciate your exercises. He was mentioning your site and said, “You know…that strings kill place!
Hello! First let me say thank you for such a great resource. I especially love the sul D songs. I wanted to ask for help in implementing the modal names of finger patterns. I’m trying to relate the modes to the whole and half steps but still have a handful that think of them as 12, 23, 34; so when they move out of first position Ionian/Major becomes Dorian. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated! Thank you,
I just discovered your website and I must say it’s wonderful! If you ever get the chance I think adding shifting exercises would round out the entire site nicely. Currently I’m using your scale sheet exercises in my classroom. Keep up the great work! Regards,
F. S., Madison, WI
I have begun to use your page in earnest and can already see the improvement in the technical abilities of my middle and HS groups. Thanks so much for putting this out there. As you know I am not a trained string player. Thanks.
J. C., Pinkney MI
I came across your String Skills website today and LOVE all the materials that you have provided. I am very much looking forward to incorporating them into my classroom teaching. … Also, if it is alright with you, I would like to include your website link on my orchestra’s website so that students can easily find your wonderful resources outside of class. Thank you in advance for any help, and have a great day.
P.C., Austell GA
Great website! Wonderful, creative, supportive, and useful information. I especially like the scales and (level appropriate) unison solos. I’ve visited the site numerous times since learning about you and your work. A class act! Bravo for making them available to NAƒME members! Thanks a million!
A. M., Colorado
Thanks for this link! I have been looking for a good visual showing finger patterns, and this is excellent.
I am a high school orchestra teacher in Des Moines, Iowa and came across a forum about orchestra techniques. You had mentioned that you have bowing exercises not available on your website but were willing to email out to people. I am very interested in your bowing exercises and would appreciate if you could send me those. I enjoy your website and have used many of your exercises with my students. I especially like the familiar tunes played on one string and the crazy rhythm exercises.
J.L., Des Moines, IA
It’s FABULOUS! Can’t wait to share it with my kids tomorrow. Thank you!!!
Thanks for so much input! I know your website we’ll and I love it- thank you so much for putting all that experience and resources online! Looking at how you name the finger patterns using modes is what prompted me to question my current practices ( I do sing a lot with my kids and they sing too, will definitely try to implement singing into naming the finger patterns) Thanks everyone!
Wow! What an amazing website Gabe has created! I am a flutist studying music education at Kent Sate University. The only experience I have with string instruments is playing in the orchestra for the past two years, so this website was full of valuable knowledge– I will definitely reference this when I take string methods next semester.
sholloman, Kent OH.
Thank you so much for this resource!
D.M., Greensboro NC
Thank you so much for the resources! I will definitely have my students take a look!
I wish to thank you for creating this site. You are so right about the pitfalls of the string teacher and the straightjacketing of material that makes it so hard to advance the students. Part of the problem is the pressure to perform concerts whereby the instruction book is abandoned for sheet music-and you’re right- all in the beginning keys. I’d rather spend time on the advanced material you have put out, than getting ready for the usual grade two concert. I would love to get a good list of sheetmusic that “breaks out “of this straightjacket” as fast as possible! Thank you, thank you!!
R.B., Crozet Va
That site is a nice resource.
J.S.D., Buffalo NY
Yes it sure is [nice]! [I] love the shifting tunes.
Thank you, Gabriel Villasurda.
F.O., Wichita KS
I used the rhythm sheets this year and my kids actually enjoyed working on the skills. They wanted to challenge other sections to see who got them right first.
L.M., Midland MI
This is awesome. Thanks for the links!!
M.Z.E., St. Louis Park MN
Whoa! That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing! I will be using this next school year.
A.D., Norfolk VA
Thanks so much Gabriel! I’m looking forward to exploring your website. I LOVE that it is 100% and copyable. THANKS!
Thank you. I can definitely use those resources. My 7th graders are required to learn most of those scales for their end of year exam. This will be a nice review and reinforcement for my students at the beginning of 8th grade!
M. J., SC
THANK you for your site, which I’ve been using for years!!!! BTW I really love your youTube bowings – they are fabulous!
C.M., Cobb City GA
Hi! I love your site and I use it in my orchestra class. … Thank you so much for this site!!!
J.S., Houston TX
I love your site!! I visit it frequently.
N.L., Byron Center MI
I used all of your string materials for my camp this year! It was so helpful to me and the kids loved it!
S.C.J, Oxford MI
Thank you so much, Gabe! This is awesome!
S.G., Tempe AZ
Please, let me thank you for your wonderful website. It has been so instrumental to me in how I put together my lesson plans, and, even my private studio. Your website is so detailed and organized. I appreciate your hard work in helping so many teachers like me.
J.B., Adrian MI
Gabriel, I want to thank you for your great resources online! I have been using your 25 essential bowing strokes as daily warm-ups with one-octave scales in a series – as well as the tunes in 3 keys. They are fantastic! THANK YOU!
C.M., Edina MN
This is Awesome. Thank you
D.B., Lakeland FL
First, let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for your website, Stringskills.com… you have been a godsend as I have been trying to develop my string teaching skills as a woodwind player myself.
M.W., LaMesa CA
Oh my goodness! Thank you so much! This is absolutely perfect. I’m going to use this ASAP
C.H., Longmont CO
Let me first say, I love your website! It has proven to be such a great resource for my middle school orchestra students. Everything is laid out in such a way that it is all very easy to understand and put into practice.
L.R., Houston TX
Thank you for that website! In many ways, it saved me last year as I was in my first year teaching strings.
S.P., Monona WI
I’ve used your “String Skills” website for a long time as a resource. Thank you for that!
A.W.A., Irvine CA
Wow! Cool! Thank you so much! Your site is AWESOME!
M.A., Freeport NY
I am very grateful for your website—it is wonderful to know there are other string teachers out there who are committed to their craft!
L.B., Richmond VA
Hi Mr. Villasurda,
I’m just getting ready for the first day of school with my orchestras next Tuesday, and I’m incorporating many of your scale, rhythm, Una Corda, and multiple key tunes in a collection of technique materials for my students. I’ve spent so much time writing out and arranging similar exercises in the past, it is a huge relief to see so many useful materials that you have made available to teachers. I can’t wait to use them with my students. Thank you!
All the best,
Z.M., White Plains NY
By the way. Thank you so much for your site. Use things from it all the time. It is an amazing resource for all of us.
I use the Tunes in Multiple Keys with my older kids all the time – it’s really helping us focus on intonation and finding a core sound this year. Thank you for all of the time and effort you’re putting into StringSkills.com!
J.K., Intependence KS
Hi, Gabriel! Firstly, thanks for putting this site together! I think it’s a GREAT resource
A.S., Lacey WA
Thank you Gabriel,
The scale sequence is a huge resource for me. Thank you for the direct, relevant approach. The format and content is excellent. Do you have more material?
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