Nowadays, violin students in conservatoires often learn solfège and music theory by singing and using the piano. For some instruments it is difficult to apply the acquired knowledge because it needs to be ‘translated’ into a different context. The main goal of this study is to get more information of working with an approach where violin playing is integrated into the teaching of solfège and music theory. At the beginning of the research a literature study was done to consider music learning theories and to analyse violin methods. Then an action research was conducted to take into account the ways in which solfège and music theory can be taught in a group violin lesson context. The lessons took place in the Young Talent Department at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague among 7- to 17-year-old students. The action research consisted of three cycles. The findings are that students in general had no difficulty with playing by ear and singing with relative sol-fa names. Results from the analysis of the transposition, note naming and writing exercises indicated that students’ knowledge of absolute pitch letter names and the tone- semitone relationships between neighbouring notes were not at the same level. During the evaluation process of students’ answers to these exercises, some violin and theory teachers presumed that the difficulties could emerge partly from the fact that in most violin schools the first note reading exercises are not in C major but in G, D or A major. Hence students easily get confused when they become familiar with some augmented notes (e. g. f sharp, c sharp, g sharp) before they learn how to play and read their natural versions. My conclusions are that playing by ear and singing with relative sol-fa names can be good basis for teaching the connection between sound and notation. When introducing absolute pitch names it is advisable that violin and solfège teachers compose the content of the lessons together. Transposition exercises from the very early stages using just two-note melodies give good opportunities for applying knowledge into violin playing. For illustrating the tone- semitone relations between the notes Lego models can be used. Singing with ABC or sol-fa names while playing and subsequently notating these transposed notes gives a multimodal experience for students.
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