Violin Movement Building Blocks
Designed for children ages 3-6, these whimsical and fun exercises help young beginners master the complex movements of playing the violin while singing enjoyable songs that form the Kaleidoscopes violin repertoire.
Violin posture problems often arise when various parts of the body haven’t yet learned to move independently. For example, an effort to bend one finger results in several fingers (and the thumb) bending as well.
The current set of Violin Movement Building Blocks can be found in the Parent Guide which accompanies Kaleidoscopes Book 1 (the Teacher Guide includes this volume). Videos for some of the earliest building blocks are also available on YouTube (see right).
The Kaleidoscopes YouTube channel features a searchable playlist of movement building blocks, designed for your child to sing along. Please be sure to subscribe!
Please note that the videos are designed for young children to watch and participate, so the violin and bow hands are demonstrated in mirror image (i.e. matching the child’s perspective).
Yankee Doodle (“Finger Soldiers”) builds the skill of aligning the base of the finger with the back of the hand, and keeping the other fingers relaxed while the index is fully bent.
Naughty Kitty Cat (“Soft Paws and Cat Claws”) helps students to notice the two possible alignments between the fingers and the hand. This control is important for both the bow and violin hand.
Frere Jacques: (“Where is do Finger”) practices finding fingers do, re, mi, and fa (index through pinky).
Birds’ Wedding (“Birds’ Eggs & Birds’ Nest”) builds awareness of the different fingers, differentiates the finger tip from the finger pad, and builds the skill of pressing the finger.
Button You May Wander develops dexterity by picking up small items with each finger. It is also a midline-crossing activity. Supplies needed: a large book or box; four large beads or pom-poms.
Lateral Control of the Fingers
This Old Man (“Finger Gym”) develops lateral finger independence. In the scissors shape, the fingers form a “V.” In the “Rocket Booster” shape, the index and pinky separate, while the middle two fingers stay together.
Turning the Head
Toddy-O (“Stuck in Mud”) When young children turn their head, they naturally turn their entire body. As a result, when they play violin they may gradually twist to the left. This lively exercise helps them isolate the head turn.
Finger Flexion & Extension
Bingo (“Doggy Perks His Ears”) develops the ability to maintain the curve of the middle fingers while alternately lifting the pinky and index finger.
Twinkle (“Stargazing Pinky”) develops the ability to maintain a curve in the middle fingers while extending the pinky.
Paw Paw Patch (“Bending Down for a Paw Paw”) develops the ability to bend the index while maintaining the thumb straight.
Reuben & Rachel (“Teasing Friends”) develops the reverse skill.
Coordination of the Bow Arm, Wrist, and Elbow
Hot Cross Buns (“Tray of Cookies”) develops awareness of keeping the bow arm level and opening from the elbow.
Boil Them Cabbage (“Bunny Hops”) establishes the hand position for playing at the frog. It also builds comfort with having the bow arm raised to the level of the violin.
Skip to My Lou (“Bows & Bumps”) teaches the distinction between opening from the elbow (the correct motion) and opening from the shoulder (the wrong motion).
All Around the Buttercup introduces a preliminary bowhold, the “bow bunny.”
White Coral Bells (“Fairy Ballet”) practices maintaining a simple bow hand (“bow bunny”) while bending the wrist. In the high position, the wrist is convex; in the low position, it is concave.
Rotation of the Violin Arm
All My Little Ducklings (“Duck Wings”) practices the rotation of the arm using both arms and touching the elbows together.
Mary Had a Little Lamb (“Nose to Tail”) practices the twisted and lifted position of the violin arm, which can feel unfamiliar and awkward to a novice player.
Final Pre-Violin Steps
Love Somebody (“Silent Violin”) combines the movements for the left and right arms, which have already been learned separately.
Arroro (“Violin Cradle”) practices holding a box violin under the chin while gently swinging the left arm.