Introducing the Mark O’Connor String Method to local teachers

Tom talks about Mark O'Connor's new String Method with Mobile Public School string teachers Jim Lichtenberger and Felicia Sarubin

As one of the first string educators in the Alabama gulf coast area to have attended one of the Mark O’Connor String Method seminars, I’ve enjoyed talking about Mark’s teaching concepts to my colleagues. (For those of you not familiar with this new method, it employs classical violin technique, using familiar American music to engage and motivate young students.)

There is much to like about the new method, and as someone who has always looked at violin & fiddle playing without borders the same way Mark does, I’m motivated about it myself. So I was pleased today to give a talk and demonstration to a group of Mobile Public School string teachers.  Using several copies of Book 1, we paged through it together and I demonstrated the concepts of each new tune on the violin. The teachers were surprised to realize that this was not a ‘learn to play fiddle’ book at all, but that the same concepts taught with the Suzuki books (and many other methods) were also being shown in Mark’s books, using tunes that children can have fun playing and add to a life-long repertoire. As one violin teacher said to me as she was leaving, “I’m always looking for something new and exciting to help keep my students interested and motivated. I think I just found it.”

Playing selections from the Mark O'Connor String Method book while Jim & Felicia follow along

The method books are available exclusively through Shar Music Company with companion method books for Viola and Cello being released soon.

The exciting news locally in connection with my post is that there will be a Mark O’Connor String Method Seminar in Jackson, Mississippi January 7-9, 2011. Over three days, participating string teachers will receive 15 hours of instruction on using method books 1 and 2, taught by the editor of the books themselves, Pam Wiley. Pam was the instructor at the seminar I took in Washington DC and has great insight into the books, having personally helped Mark with every page. Her enthusiasm for the method is catching! I encourage every string teacher in the gulf coast region to make the trip to Jackson to start the new year right and become a certified Mark O’Connor String Method instructor! Contact Jenelle Smith at 601-842-3435 or for details.

3 comments to Introducing the Mark O’Connor String Method to local teachers

  • David Pellow

    Hello Tom,

    I will be attending the seminar and am looking forward to it.
    While I am a bassist, my research has been into violin history and pedagogy and how it relates to the string bass. American music and fiddle is very important to string players and I want to see how I might incorporate those techniques into my bass playing.

    See you this weekend!

    David Pellow
    Pittsburgh, PA

  • [...] I found this link from Tom Morley, an instructor who uses the O’Connor method and has particip… [...]

  • I’m very proud to be involved with the O’Connor Method folks, first as one of the early seminar participants, and now as one of the teachers at the upcoming O’Connor Method Camp in Charleston, SC Aug. 1-5. Let me know if I can help you out in any way!

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