Thursday, May 5, 2011

Conversation with Francisco Díaz

The most rural communities in Venezuela are seeders for E.S. - those places where there is no infrastructure, where they might not even have a roof, there is no strategic planning. It is being in a constant state of planification - and yet the orchestra as a model works.

E.S. is based on Vygotsky's social constructivism; learning through socialization - that is the theory of social action through music - in the orchestra children develop multiple intelligences. Not only that but we use ¨functional solfege¨ that is you learn solfege by doing, playing in the instrument.

Violin is separated into four stages which are based of Simsons Taxonomy.

Imitation, precision, control, automatizing

Imitation: kids watch imitate correct posture, instrument hold, 4 8ths per bow, first position, start with martelé, detache, spiccato, major scales (sol, la, re) and their relative minors, tuning (repeats by imitation), forte/piano, keeps time (60 quarter). Kids learn the note names by ear (Suzuki mother tongue).

Repertory: Apollo suite, traditional folk songs: el grillito, el saltarín, pomp and circumstance, preludio carmen, toy symphony, brandemburg suite, ode to joy, mexican overture, tanhauser suite, rameau suite for orchestra, vivaldi alla rustica (1,3), mission impossible theme, polovetsian dances, william tell. Arranged repertoire for level 1.

Precision: kids have more scientific knowledge, understands/adopt correct posture by themselves, understands the correct way of holding the instrument and bow, 4 eights to a bow, first and 3rd position, detaché-martelé-spiccato-balsato(??), developing quality of sound, corrects intonation, keeps precise rhythm, piano, mezzos, forte,FF, tempo 90

Repertory: gypsy overture (isaac), the great gate of kiev, concierto madrigalesco, new world symphony (4mvt), alleluia messiah, overture 1812, Ven. national anthem, jupiter planets, fire bird beracuse finale, toreadores carmen, water music finale, sobre las estepas del asia central (Borodin), mozart 28 and 12 (not arrangements), Venezuela (armenteros), aires de Venezuela:joropo.

Control: controls body posture and instrument hold, eight 8th notes per bow, 1,3,5th position, detaché/martelé/spiccato/balsato, tunes correctly, suficient sound quality, pianissimo-ff, controls tempi when performing, beginning vibrato, tempo:120

Rep (no arrangements anymore): conga del fuego nuevo (marquez), nutcracker, aires de Ven, Danzon 2, orpheus in the underworld, beethoven 1,5, mozart 31, haydn 104, light cavarly, suite ballet la estancia, danza de los trabajadores agricolas, strauss radetzky, william tell cabalgata.

Automatizing: correct body-instrument position, uses bow and instrument correctly, eight 8ths notes per bow, 1-7th position, uses vibrato and tempo with sensitivity.

Rep: march slav, tchaik 4 4mvt, rienzi ov, festive overture, tchai overture 1812, sensamaya, schubert unfinished.

These levels and pedagogical concepts is found in the Plan nacional de capacitación docente, written by the members of the Academia latinoamericana de violin.


In the begining strings they work with a lot of martelé (in the different parts of the bow), working alla corda, emphasis on separating notes. This builds from the begining the concept of sounding together. This is what he calls the Abreu sound or chasquido - everything at heel without hitting the notes. They also work Galamians´ concepts of flat hair and the point of contact where the bow adheres to the string. With the little ones they start with a lot of open strings accompanied by piano.

The techniques for the development of E.S. is the taller or sectionals. The teachers have to be great leaders, not people with degrees necessarily, they need basic conducting skills and not having a soft character. Liderazgo materno or maternal leadership is what it takes for a teacher to be successful.

LEARNING HAS TO BE FUN and its all a game for the kids. E.S. builds discipline and trains the brain to crave the satisfaction of doing things right to earn the applause.

¨Poor kids don´t get applause from anyone, and once they do they will never forget that feeling¨

Because E.S. is a meritocracy students that progress make it into the academy where they get masterclasses, private lessons, lots of playing opportunities.

You don´t need the best prepared musicians in E.S. the teachers you don´t see are the ones that make up E.S. In Lara there are 17,500 people benefitted by E.S. either directly or indirectly.

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