Grace has been teaching violin, fiddle, and string orchestra for almost 30 years and is the author of the blog smartmusicteacher.com.
After obtaining her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto, Grace spent several years in Prince Edward Island on the east coast of Canada, immersed in Atlantic, Acadian, Scottish, Irish, and Cape Breton music. While there, she ran a successful private teaching practice and performed in local traditional groups. Today, she has returned to her classical roots as the assistant concertmaster of the Toronto Community Orchestra, and passes on her love for both classical and Celtic traditions to the students in her Toronto high school string programme.
Grace’s teaching methods are inspired by the ideas of pedagogue, Paul Rolland, her own teacher Joan Barrett, and the challenges that her students present to her everyday. Grace is passionate about simplifying string techniques so that they are easy to teach for everyone from private teachers, to teachers of string orchestra and even to teachers who are non-string players. She has developed an accessible string pedagogy that brings more continuity to the teaching of beginner to intermediate string education outside of the Suzuki Method.
Grace has also written a series of Smart String Teacher publications including Smart Scales for Strings, Smart Fingering Charts for Strings, and Smart Bowing Exercises for Strings. Future projects include a book with ‘magic tips’ on how to practice more effectively, Smart Music Theory with worksheets appropriate for older music students, and string teacher training workshops. Grace is also designer of innovative and unique violin accessories at virtuosoviolin.ca.
About the Smart String Teacher Method
Grace gradually developed the Smart String Teacher method through her continuous efforts to simplify the complex needs of teaching four different string instruments in a string classroom. How does one teach the necessary skills of string playing easily and successfully, without the benefit of one-on-one attention found in a private lesson?
In solving these challenges, Grace has developed simple and highly effective methods that help students quickly learn everything from proper playing technique, fingering, intonation, shifting, bowing skills and more. Her methods will accelerate the way strings are taught, whether in a private teaching or classroom situation.
The Smart String Teacher Method is also a very flexible and adaptable method that can be incorporated into any method or musical style. It aims to establish a basic pedagogy with which all string teaching should start, thereby creating a common foundation upon which all teachers of stringed instruments can build.