ViolinCircus is a creative repetition card game for practicing stringed instruments. By drawing cards and applying the information on the card, the attention is focused on different aspects of string playing. The piece is repeated in many different ways until it is ready for performance.
The purpose of ViolinCircus is to practice intelligently focussing only on one aspect of string playing at a time. The actions on the cards are always to be combined with a piece or exercise the student is working on. The cards are sorted into three categories:
Technique and Accuracy:
In this category the student focuses on good body posture, economical bowing- and left hand technique.
Acrobatics and Creativity:
In this category the student can make up his own ways of playing the piece, experiment with acrobatical movements and use his/her creative mind.
Characters and Timbre:
In this category the student plays the piece in many different dynamics, he/she varies the speed, tone quality and timbre.
What makes the ViolinCircus so effective?
My students often ask me at the beginning of the lesson, if they can draw a card. I especially use the cards for memorizing passages or getting ready for a concert. I use very short passages for the little kids, repeating them using the cards. As the student first focusses on playing/learning a passage, then on drawing a card and again on playing the piece he/she has to actively remember the passage, and the piece is repeated without the student noticing. By using different characters and techniques early on the student develops a large pallet of means of expression.
Is the violin circus also suitable for adults / professionals?
Yes. Although the pictures are child-friendly, adults / professionals can also profit from using the cards (see “Reviews”). In concert preparation and to prepare difficult pieces, I often practice with the ViolinCircus. Some of the easiest cards can be left out.
Is the ViolinCircus also suitable for cello?
Yes, if it does not bother you that a violin playing clown is depicted. All cards except for 5 are easily transferable to cello.
What happens in the Violin Circus 2 and 3?
In Violin Circus 2 is the continuation of Violin Circus1 for advanced players. Violin Circus 3 is the extension for professional musicians.
Karlotta shows us how she practices Bach’s Double Concerto and an Etude with the ViolinCircus. Activate the English subtitles if you don’t speak German:
Experiences with ViolinCircus
Prof. Veronika Hagen Di-Ronza, violist in the Hagen Quartet and professor for viola at the University Mozarteum Salzburg
I can only recommend this wonderfully successful “card game”, and not only for children. Even adults can benefit from it, if only to revive and inspire the inner child.
Erich Scheungraber, musician, music educator, owner of Amarillis Publishing
In three different situations I had the opportunity to gain experience with the violin circus last week.
A. 8 – year – old (3 years of lessons) tasted all the “addictive potential” of the game. She could not draw enough cards. The lesson was much too short. The perfect appearance of the cards – they look just like the other games the kids are used to – makes the kids submerge in their positively connotated game world. At the same time: What is written has to be done otherwise you are a spoilsport. (I used to use dice in my lessons.(…)) I’ve had some mixed experiences with it, and some have come to love that game, on the other hand repeating only until the number is full is not worth anything.)
B: Violist 14 years. She plays in tune but very quiet. Safety and comfort zone lover. Surprisingly, she smiled about the tasks on the cards. Especially amazing: in “Play with an ugly sound” I showed her by pressing on her hand while bowing, how much pressure a pressed sound needs. For the first time in years, she played a nice, full forte in her own first attempt. I’m looking forward to the next lesson.
C: Self-experiment: 3 lines Brahms concerto with all cards. Astonishing result: After 30 years of teaching there is still, or increasingly ? the discrepancy between knowing what helps and using one’s knowledge. Impatience? The cards are an authority. I can outsource the “command authority”. At the same time, I decide for myself how the task will be carried out exactly. What seems to be an ugly sound for younger children can be a well-defined undertone for a grown-up. Unlike the aforementioned dice, the cards have something to do with the music and before I play the game, I make the decision for myself, what exactly I use from the suggestion on the cards.
Patricia, medical doctor
I have been playing the violin since elementary school age. Kundri teaches me and advises my string quartet. I work as a doctor and have a doctorate in the field of neuroscience. I dealt with learning processes in the hippocampus. In the exercises with Kundri’s musical cards, the concentration of the violin is directed to a simultaneous motor exercise. Or, for example, the use of different dynamics is required. Due to the frequent, varied repetition, the learned passages are easily stored in the long-term memory. And the most important thing, the practice method is a lot of fun. This alone facilitates the learning process and creates motivating small successes.
Mario, 32 years old
At thirty, I decided to learn how to play the violin. In Kundri I found a patient and always cheerful teacher. But how do I manage to practice motivated after a working day with nine to ten hours, let alone follow the lessons attentively?
Kundri had the idea of using the cards, which seemed more suitable for children, than for me. They are divided into different categories and each card has its own task, which is illustrated by a picture drawn by Kundri herself.
And indeed: Due to the lovingly and partly funny designed cards it is easier for me to follow the instructions. By the way, the funny pictures also make for a good mood, not only in the classroom.
I can only recommend the cards!
Jonathan, 7 years old
My name is Jonathan, I’m 7 years old and have been taking violin lessons with Kundri Schäfer for a few months now. From the beginning Kundri played the violin circus game with me. I like it a lot because there are so many different things on the violin: plucking, lying on the floor with the violin, playing very fast, playing very slowly, with eyes closed, with a crooked bow … I think that’s good, because then I can always choose something and not always just play what someone tells me. I can also think up my own variations, I like to do that. I like to play with sordino.
Tabea, 5 years old
I play violin since I turned 4. I find Kundris card game funny because a clown and a dwarf are on it. The pictures are very pretty. I like to practice with it.
Lili, 8 years old
I’m playing violin for 3 years now. Even when I practice more difficult pieces, I can work great with the card game. It’s funny and you learn something. I really like the character cards.
The game ViolinZirkus was awarded a prize for excellency by the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg on the 20. June 2017.
ViolinCircus – Ordering Possibilities
Price: 14,80€ plus shipping
The action card game for violin and viola turns your practice room into a circus tent! By choosing cards your attention is drawn to different aspects of the violin-/violaplaying, you try different timbres and experiment with gravity when you are playing lying down or standing on one leg. You change the tempo or the dynamics and you are playfully practice good posture. You can also perform multiple actions at the same time. Your piece will be repeated in a variety of ways until it is ready for performance.
Prizewinning at the University Mozarteum Salzburg, suitable for beginners and advanced players from 4 to 99 years. Applicable to any repertoire. In German and English. Ready? Then clear the ring for the violin circus!
Content: 57 cards in a practical cloth bag, ideal for the violin case or to hang it on your music stand in 6 different colors, hand-painted by the author.
Invoice in Advance:
Please send me an email with your address and what color you wish to purchase: info(ät)violinzirkus.de
I will send you an invoice.
The game can be bought in your local music store, ask your merchant for ISBN 978-3-9819286-0-0.
Discount for greater amounts:
Special offer for music stores or music teachers, who want to purchase a greater amount: Please write me an Email! info(at)violinzirkus.de