This is a wonderful workshop! It teaches everything from the basics including how to replace strings, Tighten loosen chin rest, bow hair, taking apart instrument, quick fixes on sound and instrumental care. Grace does a wonderful job at explaining everything with detail and at a great pace! Grace is devoted to answering everyone’s question. Grace is such a great teacher! Please take this course if you want to learn more about repairing your student’s instruments!
Jackie D. - Hartford, CT, 6th-12th Orchestra Teacher
I am a band director teaching strings. When students come to me with instrument issues, they are counting on me to have solutions. Prior to the workshop, I was ill equipped to deal with the myriad of problems that middle school students face. To a certain extent, I am more confident now to troubleshoot and solve problems concerning stringed instruments. It was exciting (and simultaneously apprehensive) to disassemble my violin. I haven’t even done that with my clarinet or saxophone.
John Presto - Band Director
Grace Law’s repair workshop was a great way for me to obtain the confidence and skills needed to safely perform routine maintenance and repairs on string instruments. The knowledge I gained as a result of this course will save me time and my music program money when it comes to trips to the repair shop. I will in turn, be able to pass down this information to my students who will be able to become more confident with maintaining their own instruments.
Elicia Masztal - High School Music Director, Sacramento, CA
As someone who is a music teaching veteran but who is new to teaching strings, the skills and knowledge I learned from Grace’s repair course in one very quick morning are invaluable to me both in a practical sense, and in boosting my confidence about taking on this new role. Grace is knowledgable, personable, warm and efficient. I can’t wait to sign up for my next experience with Grace!
Rebecca Watters - Strings Instructor, Bellevue Middle School - Nashville, TN
I wish I had this repair course before I started teaching strings! I feel confident in making more repairs myself, which will help my budget stretch farther. I also learned which repairs should be left to the professionals so I don’t end up doing more damage to an instrument.
Katie Virden - Joplin, MO, Elementary String Teacher
I have taught strings for 5 years now, and have learned a lot (about instrument manintenance) over the years. If you are a string teacher just starting out – PLEASE take this repair course! Everything I learned from the past 5 years plus MUCH more was gone over in this workshop. It is organized in a simple manner, easy to follow, and it is a hands-on workshop where you will actually practice and see the things that Grace is talking about.
Laura Gardner - Columbus, Ohio, Orchestra Teacher
Grace Law delivered a very thought provoking and straightforward approach to teaching all the different bowed strings. Not only was this information beneficial to in person classroom teaching, but I believe teaching virtually as well. I highly recommend her workshops for any new or experienced string teacher.
Christopher Taber - Victoria BC, Music Teacher at Selkirk Montessori and Owner/Teacher at Taber Music School
I think that this was a very valuable workshop. New string teachers have easy concepts to grab onto and more experienced string teachers can add a very useful way of approaching string playing to their arsenal. I would recommend that all string teachers explore these resources and attend her clinics!
Nathan Jacklin - Director of Strings & Orchestra, Oak Bay High School, Victoria, BC
Grace’s workshop, “6 Finger Patterns Every String Student Should Know” was excellent. Grace was very clear, succinct and practical. She provided just the right amount of information for the time we had and she communicated very clearly in the online format. Thanks so much!
Risa McDonell - Rockheights Middle School, Victoria, BC
Before the masterclass, it was challenging to get the kids placing fingers in the right place to get the right sound for the note. I really liked the incorporation of the kids listening. We do listening activities, but not necessarily through finger patterns. You made the benefits sound amazing.
Siobhan Jenkins - Yuma, AZ
Before the masterclass it was challenging teaching the position of fingers, and now I’ll be able to change everything related to how I teach fingering.
Daniela Schon - TDSB
This workshop clarified why and how it’s simpler to just teach intervals and finger patterns right from the start! The ideas make so much sense and even after years of teaching it will be incredibly easy to implement these teaching concepts right away. Looking forward to getting started!
Sarah Cecilio - Violin Teacher at Cecilio Studios
As a beginning orchestra teacher, I believe the surest way to build a successful program and retain happy, engaged, students is to make sure they begin with proper technique! Grace Law has thoughtfully captured the most troublesome struggles faced by beginning string students. What I love most about her 12 Simple Solutions to the most Common String Playing Problems is the user friendly pictures that are sure to help students and teachers alike. Thank you for putting this resource together!
Shannon Yandall - San Marcos Unified School District, Fortissimo Orchestra Teacher
Hi Grace! I loved your book and how clear it was in terms of explaining the issues and how to fix them. I also love the pictures because that helps to see how to fix the problem more clearly!
Cindy Baez - Elementary Strings Teacher, Long Island, NY
Grace is able to break down string pedagogy into practical, proven step by step methods. Her course (TBSME) was especially valuable as an experienced music teacher transitioning into beginning strings. The course is hands on with supportive individual attention and I met a great group of music educators from around the world!
Mark McCormick - Los Angeles, CA
If you want a step by step guide for teaching a beautiful bow hold check this book out. If you have students who need help correcting their bow hold then you need this book. It is full of helpful pictures and explanations for why there might be a problem. For example, why the thumb cannot sit in the right spot and a detailed explanation for good contact points. Also you don’t have to find a clever phrase or technique to fix it, just show your student the picture! The straightforward and practical application of a good bow hold is off the charts in this guide. I cannot recommend this book enough!
Brooke Wonsetler Browning
I started teaching strings a few years ago and I felt that I was somehow incompetent to teach so many string instruments at once. I knew how to teach cello and it was more intuitive to teach a double bass player, but the violin and violas were my fear. I looked for some videos, read some things that of course helped me, but the information was a bit random because I didn’t even know how to look for information. Everything was a bit deorganized and with no structure. I have a master in teaching cello and had some general pedagogical subjects, but nothing directly about the strings. So I started looking for courses that might help me and I found Grace!
I liked very much the course (TBSME) since the beggining because what I learned in lesson one was already so important. Since routines to all the step by step teaching strings, now I have a plan, a well organized way to teach and I have tools and information to be better and better with time and practice. I also met different people around the globe that were nice and interesting and it was a safe and relaxed place to learn. Now I have more confidence and feel I can be a more competent teacher. Since the beginning of the course I apply things I learned in my own classes!
Thank you so much Grace for all the material and the precious knowledge you gave us!
Joana Correia - Lisboa (Portugal), Cello & String Orchestra Teacher
Grace is a wonderful teacher who takes that time to help others! Grace is very thorough with teaching her course, TBSME. This is a wonderful course for first year teachers, and teachers at all different levels and abilities. She teaches everything from the basic of setting up your instrument, repairing, classroom lesson planning ideas, and fun ideas how to practice and solve string technique problems.
Jackie D. - Hartford, CT, 6th-12th Orchestra Teacher
I am so blessed to have found this course! Someone who could put all of the information that I am teaching together and make sense of it was an immediate attraction for me. This training allows any music teacher to jump in from the beginning with confidence and I clear strategic plan for implementation. It doesn’t take long to change a few small things like verbiage in our everyday teaching to incorporate this to my current teaching. Grace’s course was extremely hands on and she provided a platform for immediate feedback but also a welcoming environment to make even the more inexperienced teacher comfortable with not knowing. I recommend the course to any teacher ready to step into 21st century classroom music education and FLOURISH!
Rosalind Rogers - East St. Louis, IL, Executive Director of The Inner Ear Youth Orchestra
I would highly recommend TBSME to anyone wanting to build their confidence in teaching and playing string instruments. Grace provides individualized feedback that helps you improve quickly and she shares the incredible teaching resources that she has created. I learned more in ten classes from Grace than I did in an entire semester of string methods.
Celeste Landy - Colorado, High School Band and Orchestra Teacher
Grace’s course, TBSME, is something I wish I had taken before teaching strings. Because of my limited time with students, learning to teach a whole group efficiently was invaluable. The course is highly practical for teachers who didn’t major in strings, teachers who want to improve their own playing skills on a string instrument, and teachers who want to teach groups of students more effectively.
Katie Virden - Joplin, MO, Elementary String Teacher
Most of my music education experience has been in wind band settings. With my college strings techniques class feeling like too little and too long ago to truly prepare me for a full-time school orchestra teaching position, I needed a course that provided strategies that are easy to implement in the string classroom and met my unique needs as a beginning string player. TBSME was just that!
Ntinyari Miriti - Indianapolis, Middle School Orchestra Teacher
Grace’s course (TBSME) is full of clear and simple strategies for whole class instruction which is exactly what I was looking for. I took the course on a secondary instrument and exceeded my expectations. The instruction and materials were so useful and organized. I’m eager to return to the classroom and get my students off to a smart start!
Elizabeth Cunha - Bethesda, MD ASTA Department Chair, Orchestra Teacher, Violin Studio Director
The reason I decided to take the course is because I watched the master class video that Grace made about changing our language use around Low 2, and instead teaching finger patterns that are universal for all instruments. The way she explained things made a lot of sense, and I liked her style of teaching in general. She talked about her beginning methods for teaching strings that would make it really easy for students to pick up, and I was intrigued because I teach beginning strings, and it is always so difficult to get students started out correctly in the public school system. I also liked that it was offered for just three days a week, and was a very reasonable price. After taking this course I feel I have a much more succinct, organized method to teach beginners in the public school setting. The expectations from this course were high, and I found myself learning so much in each class. I took rigorous notes, and will be studying those before going into the school year, but I am excited to try out this method. It helped me to see what language I should use that was different from before, the problems to look out for, and how to quickly and easily fix these problems. Grace is a lovely person, it is evident that she is passionate about teaching strings and it was catching! I’ve found a renewed sense of excitement for what I do, and I can’t wait to try out all these new ideas. She is a great contact to have, and I know she will support everyone in their journey.
Laura Gardner - Columbus, Ohio, Orchestra Teacher
Smart String Teacher is a wonderful website that contains all the things you need to making teaching strings easy. The major key acronym system that Grace developed is amazing and should be learned in all classrooms. Her finger charts she uses to teach kids scales is an incredible way of combining visual aid and theory for kids to easily understand where their finger should go for the different major and minor scales. One of my favourite things on the website are the fun and informative posters she has, they are a great tool for the classroom. I’m positive that any strings teacher will find something of benefit on this website!
Kemi Lo - Toronto
Erin Bray - Middle School Band & Orchestra, Knoxville, TN
I would recommend TBSME to any music teacher who is teaching beginner strings. Whether you are a string player or non-string player, you can learn practical teaching strategies that will help you better address the common difficulties beginners experience.
I am a secondary music teacher with a band background who has taught strings for the past two years.
My limited playing experience before the course meant that I was only able to provide students with advice that was informed by second-hand observations and pedagogical readings. I lacked the practical insight needed to address common difficulties beginners experience.
I came away from the course with a much better understanding of bow grip, hand position, and posture, and a set of teaching strategies that I can use to help students.
The format of the course allowed me to ask questions about specific string techniques and get practical solutions to the common difficulties students experience.
I feel more confident in my ability to demonstrate playing techniques for students and to provide meaningful feedback. I am excited to see how it impacts the bow grips and hand positions of this year’s beginners!
I’ve always had a preconceived notion that one cannot teach strings if one didn’t begin private lessons at a young age. The TBSME course changed my perception of strings teaching and boosted both my confidence and playing skill in just a few short weeks.
Grace’s course is highly beneficial for novice or non-strings teachers as it uncovers many common mistakes that they might make due to lack of experience in teaching and handling the instruments. The course provides insight into the many details that come with the construction of the instruments and the techniques involved in playing them.
Lindsey Wen - Toronto
This course was one of the best Professional Development classes I have ever taken. Grace Law’s teaching style, along with her wealth of knowledge and outstanding pedagogical structure made for an incredible course. Every lesson was packed with easy to understand and teach methods for building your beginning string players’ skills. I was amazed at what I actually accomplished which was so much more than I expected. I can’t believe that I am playing in third position and having some success with vibrato.
I have played the string bass semi-professionally for many years and for the past six years I have been a High School Orchestra Director and music teacher. As a director, I have been able to help my bass players with technical issues but I had to rely on my advanced students to provide technical assistance on the other string instruments.
I was recently notified that, along with my other duties, I will be teaching beginning strings this fall. When I received this news, I was petrified and I began searching for resources to help prepare me for this daunting challenge. I was incredibly lucky to find Grace Law’s free online Teaching Beginning Strings Master Class. I got so much helpful information from that session that I decided to register for the full Teaching Beginning Strings Made Easy course.
I learned many things that will help me become a more effective director for my high school and middle school orchestras. If the students are successful, I believe they will continue through the program and I would hope that they will inspire other students to get involved.
I can honestly say that before I took the Teaching Beginning Strings Made Easy course I was terrified to teach the beginner string classes. Now I can’t wait to start teaching this fall!
Gregory Tarbox - Pembroke, MA
Take the course! For the non-string specialist, it will make you more marketable if you are searching for a job, because you will have the flexibility to take a variety of different music positions. After only ten class sessions, you will have the tools to set a good foundation for your string students, and you will be a more confident and effective teacher as a result.
As a wind player, I felt like I didn’t have a strong enough foundation to properly serve my string students. This course provided a very practical approach for non-string playing musicians wishing to teach string students in an organized and sequential manner.
Each class covered so much more than my string pedagogy course in college, and my playing improved quite a bit as a result! After only ten classes, I feel confident diving into teaching a group of beginning string students! If put in the position of teaching strings again, I will have a much more pedagogically sound and organized approach and I have the tools to be an effective teacher and to serve my students well.
I learned so much!
Maureen Isbister - NY, Band Teacher
Thank you very much for your workshop on fingering and positions to our third year music education students. Your approach is very logical and efficient; it seemed to me that our students caught on very quickly and the systematic method you employ would be easy to grasp for teaching intermediate and high school students, and younger students as well. Your manner was friendly and clear, and I and the students enjoyed your visit very much.
Jeffrey Reynolds - Professor, University of Toronto
Grace’s maintenance and repair workshop should be a required course for all music education majors! As a wind player, I didn’t learn string repair in college, and as a teacher I’ve been a bit intimidated to dive into repairs without the necessary skills and background. I’ve always been afraid of breaking the instrument. After taking the workshop I feel much more confident and comfortable addressing repair issues that might come up.
Maureen Isbister - NY, Band Teacher
I absolutely loved your fiddle camp SO MUCH. I learned TONS and it is SO practical. I thought you had a great structure to it and everything we did was of value and can be transferred forward into the classroom. Really great all around. You are fantastic. Seriously amazing. Thank you so much for doing it!!
Gregory Tarbox - MA
It was wonderful to listen how Grace plays Celtic style music using an easy tune. She demonstrated first and gave feedback on how you can improve. Besides, I also got chance to listen to other people’s interpretations of the same tune.
Thank you for offering this masterclass, Grace! I am beginner fiddler and very much enjoyed the literature and techniques taught in this session. You did a great job managing all of us in the group lesson and got the most out of us by focusing on specific ornaments. Highly recommend for anyone interested in Irish/Celtic music 🙂
This workshop should be a mandatory course or unit of study for music teacher training. It was a practical workshop where we took apart the instrument and the bow and reassembled them afterward. Through the hands-on process, I gained a deeper insight into the components of the instrument that contribute to its sound quality.
Being able to restring the instrument and check different parts to assess the playability or need for professional repair of the instrument is crucial for music teachers, yet rarely discussed. Being a music teacher is more than teaching students how to play a certain instrument. What goes on behind the scenes of teaching such as being able to do small repairs on instruments contributes to the livelihood of a music program.
Lindsey Wen - Toronto
Before Grace’s masterclass, I just taught fingerings and used low/regular fingerings. Thinking about fingerings in terms of finger patterns will make them much easier to teach. Having a consistent language will also be helpful for the students. I feel that I have another tool my students can use!
Isaiah C. Mason - North Brunswick, NJ
Beginner set up tends to be overlooked because time is not always on our side and the concert has to be perfect! I now have the proper vocabulary and techniques to demonstrate what I want from the students. I feel much more comfortable and eager to put into practice what I have learned.I definitely would recommend Grace’s beginner set-up methods because as musicians, we tend to get trapped into our own habits; sometimes teaching younger students requires a reset button on our part!
Mahendra Morales - Freeport, NY
I love Smart Scales! I have been a private teacher for over 30 years and have found most scale systems to be visually overwhelming for my students. Many are written in small fonts, or in octaves, and with generally too much on the page. This makes scales intimidating and hard for young students to read. I love that Smart Scales focuses on just one scale per page, with the option of playing one or two octaves, or both, depending on the level of the student. Also, for those who need the visual aid of the fingerboard geography, there are great diagrams. I also like that students learn all 3 forms of minor and not just melodic. In addition, there are optional fingerings provided, and since scales are not close together, there is room to write in other fingerings at the teacher’s discretion. Smart Scales is the best scale system out there for beginning and intermediate students!!
Cindy Bryan - Chesapeake, US
I teach middle school and high school beginners to advanced strings. I’m always looking for easier ways to present technique, and I find Grace’s system is better organised than others I have looked at. Her class was a great review and I registered for the full program so that I can learn more. After taking this class, I feel my class will have a better flow, and it will be easier for the kids to grasp concepts. I have already recommended this program to others because I believe it’s well presented, straight to the point and coming from a great experienced teacher, which I value more than many books on the subject.
Giovanni Bobisse - Italy
I am a woodwind player teaching strings. Before Grace’s class, my challenges were bow hold and positioning, which made me feel like I wasn’t better able to help my students. Grace had a lot of easy to implement ideas! The online interactive format was very helpful. I’m sure I will be able to apply my new knowledge once school reopens to improve my student’s playing positions. I would definitely recommend this class. Grace had a lot of easy to implement teaching strategies and she was extremely helpful in correcting my own playing!
Karen McKenna - New York
Grace’s Smart String Teacher method is an organized and clear system that makes sense. Before Grace’s course I was having a hard time transferring my knowledge as a violinist to a beginner level explanation, without overwhelming the students with information. Grace has a clear and very natural manner of relaying information and teaching. I loved that we actually learned by playing secondary instruments instead of just listening to someone lecture. After this course I think there will be much less frustration for both students and teachers. I absolutely recommend this course to other string teachers.,
Julia Sullivan - Massachusetts
This was a great opportunity to experience a step-by-step process for teaching beginner strings. Valuable insight from the perspective of both teacher and student! I was encouraged to see how the Smart String Teacher system connects to the different teaching approaches and strategies used in classrooms without an existing strings program. The process is key!
Elizabeth Seo - Toronto
This class has given me valuable tips on how to correct student mistakes. I liked how this course was hands-on and not just talking. I teach 6th 7th 8th grade strings as a non-string player. Before Grace’s class, my biggest challenge was teaching bow hold and left hand placement. I feel more confident now that I will be able to help my students’ technique improve. Grace is very relatable, and I highly recommend this course to others!
Melanie Johnston - Tempe Middle School
Grace’s class is very focused and hands-on. It gives all of the tools one needs to be successful in the string classroom in a way that is engaging and creative. Grace has tried and true teaching strategies that are a testament to her expertise as a string player and years of teaching experience.
Will Snodgrass - Toronto
I took Grace’s online class to push my technology skills and to use my “down time” from school in a constructive way. I have never done a class online! I also wanted to see if I could learn a few new tricks to refresh my teaching. I love teaching strings and I will incorporate some of Grace’s ideas into my class. I love and will use the bass scale fingering chart. I definitely would recommend this course to others, especially for non string players!
Mardi Smith - Orchestra Director, Reed Intermediate School, Newtown, CT
I teach private beginner violin and viola. Taking Grace’s class gives me a great way to both be inspired and to have practical tools to easily impart information online! It has given me a format to fall back on to get people of all ages started on strings. The ease of presenting the material was helpful, and I could see using this with anyone who wants to learn a stringed instrument. I have a new student starting online on Sunday, and hope to find other new students! Yes I would highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to teach orchestral strings. The class is well crafted, the material clearly presented. And it’s fun!
Mac McCord - Louisburg, North Carolina
Among all the teaching materials I have used and collected so far, Smartstringteacher.com is unique in the way it presents technique clearly, getting straight to the point yet remaining easy to use for the teacher and the students. I look forward to see the next publications and I strongly advise to integrate all the materials from this website into your daily classes. Smart and time saving materials coming from a great teacher!
Giovanni Bobisse - Italy
I used Smart Music Theory with my strings and vocal classes with great success. The lessons are sequential and worksheets are very nicely laid out to enhance students’ understanding. I love that they are packaged into booklets so you can hand it out at one time to students to work at the pace you set.
Camilla Rayman - Toronto
Working with Smart Music Theory has been of great benefit to me and to my students. With multiple split grade classes, the ability to provide students with clear units of work that allows them to work independently with confidence is a game changer. I am now able to address individual student needs by circulating around the classroom as they work to ensure student understanding and success!
Deborah Pady - Toronto
SMTheory’s method of teaching rhythm is one that addresses all the small details that we as educators might think are obvious to students. It also provides opportunities for students to practice their understanding in many different ways. Other theory methods often test understanding through limited lenses, but SMT looks at theory from multiple angles and ways of thinking.
Leonidas Varahidis - Toronto
Smart Scales for Violin is a wonderful tool for any aspiring string student. The method is comprehensive, smartly organized and effective. The results are immediate and students enjoy this easy approach to scales.
Ivana Popovic - Toronto
Smart Music Teacher contains a lot of very useful resources that Instrumental teachers can use in their classrooms. I have used Smart Fingering Charts for Strings with Middle School and High School students. The students found them very useful and easy to read. It helps enhance their understanding and visual memory of notes and fingerings very quickly. The videos and tips have helped me as a teacher to help students solve technical problems and new ways to teach and introduce music theory materials. I am so glad I found such helpful resources at SMT.
Vivian Peng - Toronto
Smart String Teacher’s Advanced Fingering Charts are invaluable for illustrating finger patterns. The charts are particularly useful when figuring out shifting arrangements. I refer to them constantly when learning a new piece and while practicing. The Advanced Fingering Charts takes the mystery out of shifting!
I’m decades older than most of Grace Law’s students, and adults who have been playing for a while are much harder to teach than kids. But her scale method is changing my technique for the better in all sorts of ways!
Pamela Young - Toronto
Alessia Disimino - Toronto
Hello. I am a beginning Viola student and I wanted to take the time to tell you how wonderful your teaching system is. If I were to reorganize a music system for my own comprehension, I would have done it just like yours!! Your insights into how a beginner needs to perceive patterns is fantastic!! You have catapulted my comprehension immensely. And your love of Celtic Music is after my own heart!!
Thank you for your insight and inspiration!!