One way to increase engagement and motivation in your studio is to connect your music students with a good book. A good book can transport us to another place and time, engage our minds, and fill our hearts. If you are looking for captivating books for music students, look no further!
I have always loved to read. As a kid, I would often stay up way past my bed time, hiding under the covers with a flashlight and a good book. When I was about ten years old, I read The Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff, and was captivated by the story of Allegra working to master Mozart’s Fourth Violin Concerto, and longed to play the piece myself. I made a goal to learn the piece too, which I achieved a few years later.
Stories can inspire, motivate and excite our violin students. Here are five wonderful books for music students.
1. The Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff (Grades 6-8)
Of course, this book has to be number one. It was my favorite book for a long time, and I read it over and over. Allegra’s struggles to learn the Mozart Concerto and deal with the confusion of growing up make her so real and relatable to young readers.
2. The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt by Patricia MacLachlan (Grades 4-7)
This was another one of my favorite books. I really relate to Minna’s search for her vibrato, as I had a really hard time developing mine. Her experience playing in a string quartet can be the inspiration for new experiences in chamber music. It is a great book for music students of all instruments.
3. Just David by Eleanor H. Porter
This lesser-known novel, by the author of Pollyanna, is delightfully charming. David, a violin prodigy, is brought up in seclusion by his father, and is taught to love nature and music. When his father suddenly dies, he is sent to live with relatives who learn to be grateful and kind because of his simple love for the world.
4. Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times, and What the Neighbors Thought by Kathleen Krull (Grades 4-8)
The illustrations (by Kathryn Hewitt) are so fun, and the stories are humorous and interesting. I checked this book out of the library over 100 times. This book is appealing to all, and includes not only classical composers like Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, but others including Gilbert & Sullivan, Joplin, Gershwin, and Woody Guthrie. I think this book was the foundation for all my future music history education!
5. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss (Preschool-Grade 3)
This beautiful picture book, has fun rhymes and introduces the instruments in the orchestra. I was thirteen when my youngest sister was born, and she loved this book. At one point, I had it memorized.
I’m sure there are a lot of ways you could incorporate books for music students in your studio, here are a few that I have brainstormed:
A Studio Reading Challenge with a list of books.
I used to love the Reading Challenges from the Library. You got to color a square for every book you read, and then got prizes! Suh-weet.
Story time at Group Lesson
Maybe you could read a short story at group lesson, or chapters of a longer book. If they got into the story, maybe they would be more motivated to get to group lesson so they don’t miss the next installment!
Studio Lending Library
If you own these books or others, you could lend them out to students if you feel comfortable with that idea.
Do you incorporate books in your studio? How do you do it? What books would you add to this list?