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Suzuki Mamas Tribe - Page 18

post #341 of 459
I'm just hopping on...

DD plays flute - though not really suzuki method. She has learned to sight read and generally practices, but my trouble is trying to get her to complete her school work also...
post #342 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgale View Post
Currently, with only one in a Suzuki program, the 6 year old (non-Suzuki) really wants to help with his sister's practice--I guess because it seems more fun than just sitting and playing your songs over and over, which is kind of what he's supposed to do.
No-one else has addressed this yet. Speaking as a non-Suzuki instrumental teacher rather than a Suzuki parent I have to wonder if that is really what he is meant to be doing or if there is a miscommunication. Do you go to his lessons with him? Does the teacher write in a notebook or write notes on his music? If you don't go to his lessons with him can you record the so you can listen to them later and find out more precisely what he is meant to practice?
As for working with her, I'm sure it wont do him any harm. Maybe make her teacher aware of the situation and see what they think with regards to how it might affect her.
post #343 of 459
Hi everyone! We're in the middle of a 100 Days of Practice challenge. My five year old dd LOVES this challenge! I was having a heck of time getting her to practice at all, and now she's playing her violin every day.

My ds, in typical fashion, has rejected the 100 Day challenge. He's going for 1000+ days. When he makes it to his three year mark, we'll go shopping for whichever hand held electronic gadget is hot on the market.
post #344 of 459

Violin Book 4 with CD

Does anyone know what website will I find the new Book 4 with CD, or if the new one (with CD) is out for sale?? Thanks!
post #345 of 459

Milestone

We had "Graduation" when kids completed Book 1 or Twinkles. If you did, or planning to celebarte the milestones, how are you going to do so? I need some ideas. Thanks, Geencat
post #346 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by greencat View Post
Does anyone know what website will I find the new Book 4 with CD, or if the new one (with CD) is out for sale?? Thanks!
Most string supply places which deal with Suzuki materials carry this. We bought ours several months ago and it is already well-worn. Try www.ymonline.com or www.sharmusic.com .

Miranda
post #347 of 459
I'm a new suzuki violin parent and so far through book 1 we've all had a great experience. Well we hit a major brick wall with Etude. My daughter just can't/won't get through the "middle". She refuses to try, refuses to believe that the teachers' discussion on the SSA forum is correct! Her last 2 lessons have been fine but as soon as she gets home she's stuck in the middle again. I'm at a loss as to how to help her with this situation. Any suggestions?
post #348 of 459
Moominmamma: Thanks! I'll look there.

I think we are all familiar with the Etude Loop. I would just go back to listening to the CD, and count with her. Then, I would count with her when she is practing.
post #349 of 459

Synesthesia

Does anyone have a child/ren or teach children with Synesthesia?

Thanks!
post #350 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by greencat View Post
Does anyone know what website will I find the new Book 4 with CD, or if the new one (with CD) is out for sale?? Thanks!
That reminds me to ask. Have any of the teachers here had experience teaching the Bohm Perpetual Motion "in sequence" in Book 4? I have only done so with one young child yet, my youngest daughter, and gosh, it feels like yet another "hump" piece stuck into the notorious Book 4 onslaught of complex challenging repertoire. I mean, it's shorter than the others, but getting it up to tempo is a huge technical challenge.

Also, do you teach it with sautillé? I would with an older child but on a 1/10th or 1/8th sized bow all we were really able to achieve was the biomechanics which would produce sautillé on a larger bow. Even I can't really get a true sautillé with a bow that size.

I will say this, though: the Vivaldi g minor is coming very easily after that even-huger-than-normal Book 4.

Miranda
post #351 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by jspring0308 View Post
I'm a new suzuki violin parent and so far through book 1 we've all had a great experience. Well we hit a major brick wall with Etude. My daughter just can't/won't get through the "middle".
By "middle" are you referring to the scale-wise passages after the B-G-B-D? If so, I usually teach this first, as a variation on the G-major scale that I teach a few weeks before beginning work on Etude proper.

I also us a variety of mnemonics with Etude.

The Etude Train is useful to break it up into manageable chunks. I actually draw it out for kids on different pieces of coloured paper. The train is made up two engines, two boxcars and a caboose. The first engine is the first 4 bars up to the B on beat 3 of the 4th bar, and it's "coupling" is the three notes that lead into bar 5. The second engine is the next four bars, identical to the first, with the "coupling" being "G-B-D". The first boxcar is the 2nd-finger boxcar: it starts on high G (second finger) and ends on F# (second on D) and then has a coupling of "D-F#-A" (a hopping 2nd finger). The next boxcar is the 3rd-finger boxcar: it starts on high A (third finger) and ends on G (3 on D) and then has a coupling of "D-G-A" (a hopping 3rd finger). The caboose starts out like the engine but ends with the long scale down to G.

Taking the two boxcars out and practicing them until they are drop-dead easy might be helpful if that's where her resistance lies. If her difficulty is in what leads into them, then she could practice the engines, stopping on the B, thinking about which "coupling" to use, and then going on once she's chosen correctly.

I don't use words very often in teaching repertoire, but Etude is one of the times they can occasionally be useful. I'm particularly fond of these, as they elucidate the form of the piece pretty well (lines of text split at bar-lines):

One, pick up to two, pick up to three and down the scale, pick up to
One, pick up to two, pick up to three and down the scale, pick up to
One, pick up to two, pick up to three and down the sclae, pick up to
One, pick up to two, pick up to three and down the scale, ar - peg- gi-
O! and down the scale to end on 2, ar - peg- gi-
O! and down the scale to end on 3, pick up to
One, pick up to two, pick up to three and down the longer scale to end on open G.

Hope that helps!

Miranda
post #352 of 459
Wow, I haven't been around here forever!

Miranda, I'm right in the middle of the Perpetual Motion with my daughter who's eight, and two of my students who are 11 and 13 have just started it.

My daughter is learning it pretty quickly. We spent a week or two doing preview spots, then by the end of the third week we had it memorized. She's playing it for a recital in a few weeks, but we're also going to be starting the Bach Double next week. (Yay!) I dunno, I think all kids have their "bang heads against the wall" pieces, but this one has come fairly easily for her, and she was really excited to learn it, which probably helped.

Our teacher wants our finished tempo to be between 120-130 for the quarter note, and she said the Suzuki recording is around 160. Abby is playing on a 1/4 size, and we're probably not shooting for sautille bowing. We worked at her lesson yesterday at keeping her bow hand relaxed, and bouncing her knees as she played to try and get somewhat of an off-the-string effect, but I don't think that kids this young have the ability for a true sautille. I think it might be one of those pieces we come back to later on when we're working on that technique, and her teacher agrees.

Now, my two students who are learning it are transfer students and are not particularly good practicers, nor do they have a completely solid technical foundation. (I took them both as Book 4 students on second Seitz a year and some ago- that shows you how fast they are moving!) We'll see how fast they decide to progress through this. While I don't think the Perpetual Motion introduces anything hugely new technically (unless you decide to go for the advanced bowings, which I certainly won't with these students!) I think the main objective I would have for these students is playing fluently without major errors at 120-130. It may take until Christmas, unfortunately. I am really learning with my transfer students how important the early foundation is.
post #353 of 459
Thanks Stacymom. That's basically what we've done -- worked on sautillé-type springiness without getting an actual sautillé, got the fluidity at a moderately fast tempo, and left the advanced technique for later. Fiona will probably be on a 1/2-size around age 10-11, so we'll come back to it then.

Miranda
post #354 of 459
I love that this thread is here! I read through the whole thing eagerly. I feel like Suzuki has been such a well of learning for both dd (5.5) and I-- music, yes, but also about our relationship, learning-to-learn, managing frustration, and on and on.

She started at 3.5, another one who begged and played violin with coat hangers for a year until we asked grandma to pay for lessons. I've loved how the Suzuki approach leaves her internal motivation intact, and respects her pacing. Practicing has been really enjoyable for the most part, and any resistance she has is mostly to the scheduling factor (have to stop what you're doing and practice now because there won't be another time to do it today, etc.). She plays a lot just for fun, or as part of a larger game, and really sees making music as just another thing we do as part of life.

Lately though, a dynamic that has come up in our practicing is starting to seem permanent despite my efforts to think it through, and I don't like it. It crops up most often when she's learning a new song, and I think feeling pressured to "get it right" while I am listening. She'll get stuck somewhere, but hates any reminders of fingering, notes, singing along, or suggestions to listen to the song to "refresh it in her mind", and feels really angry when I offer any of these things. I try just waiting for her to ask for help, or asking if she needs any, but it seems to feed the cycle also. Lots of tears and yelling. She'll sometimes get so frustrated I take her violin away because of how roughly she's moving it.

I think it's kind of a habit or performance at this point, more than real frustration-- she's a kid who regularly sounds out and plays whatever strikes her fancy, and often has the new song all but memorized by the time it's introduced in lesson (love that magical Suzuki listening effect). She's learning Allegretto right now.

It's occurring to me that I should start putting her new song on repeat more often when we do our listening-- I doubt she'd object.

Any other thoughts on how to shake up the learning-the-correct-notes phase of practice and approach it from a novel perspective? For the first time I am beginning to see why some teaching methods wait to start until kids can learn to read music....

Thanks, Suzuki mamas, in advance!
post #355 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by snanna View Post
It crops up most often when she's learning a new song, and I think feeling pressured to "get it right" while I am listening. She'll get stuck somewhere, but hates any reminders .... Lots of tears and yelling. She'll sometimes get so frustrated I take her violin away because of how roughly she's moving it.
She sounds like she's got some perfectionism going on. The best way I've found to help my perfectionists is to get in and do some prep-work with them before they start their brow-furrowing intense pursuit of their own high standards.

So in the situation you describe, I would remind her how this "new piece" was really frustrating for her yesterday, and so as her parent it's your job to come up with new ideas for doing the work which are better for her... and you have two ideas.

First, you want to help her take bite-sized pieces, rather than trying to choke back the whole meal. (Point out that ice cream cones are really yummy, unless you try to cram the whole thing in your mouth at once, in which case they might make you want to choke and puke. Same thing with Allegretto -- it's delicious to learn in small bites, but trying to cram the whole thing in at once will make you feel terrible.) Have a plan for appropriate bite-sized pieces -- one phrase, or one bar, or even just three notes at a time. Bite, chew, enjoy, swallow, then take the next bite. Make the bites small enough that you can give her the help she needs to be successful with them before she tries them. That way she won't get stuck and then need (but resist) help, and perceive the help as evidence of her personal inadequacy. I find this is one of the big tricks to dealing with perfectionists: give them suggestions before the fact, rather than after it. Save corrections from today's work and give them as "clues" before tomorrow's work and they won't be emotionally toxic.

[The pieces are going to get a lot longer and more complicated over the next book of repertoire and it is crucial that kids get comfortable with chunking things down. Those early pieces can mostly be learned by starting at the beginning and feeling one's way through, but that strategy is not going to be sufficient for long. Much though it pains some of them, kids need to learn how to treat the different parts of their new repertoire as building blocks to be individually mastered and then assembled. She may hear you better if you frame it as "now that you're getting to big pieces, you need to learn how to take bites of them." Don't talk about them getting "hard" and "complicated," which can be intimidating.]

Second, you want her to just promise herself "good tries," not "learning this part." I usually ask for a number of good tries that equals the child's age in years. That makes today's stated aim "getting five good tries closer to learning it" and removes the expectation of mastery from today's practice session. Depending on the child's likely volatility I might insert "and I get to blow raspberries on your tummy in between every try." If the little bite isn't mastered after five good tries, just cheerfully shrug and remind her that tomorrow it'll be that much easier, because of all the good work she's done today. If she wants to keep going, you need to make a bit of a judgment call. If she wants to keep going because she's enjoying the challenge and the hard work, then I would agree to do a few more tries, but later in the practice session after doing a few other different [easy, enjoyable, large-motor] tasks. If she wants to keep going because she can't abide the thought of not mastering it today, then I would not support that. Perfectionists need to learn how to set aside obsessiveness like that and settle for good tries -- and violin is a perfect place to practice that.

As a parent to two kids who were pretty intense perfectionists I also think it's important to set boundaries as soon as things begin to escalate. I can remember times when I said "This isn't working right now. I'd like you to do something else, or else work on it like I suggested. I've explained my plan: you need to play just that four-note bit and then stop. If you insist on just running through from the beginning of the section, then I'm done. We can practice properly together another time." I think the sort of dynamic you describe can easily become habitual, especially if practice sessions are ending in tears and frustration, because that negative emotional memory will affect the next day's session, making meltdowns more likely. And so on. Vicious cycle.

If you can manage to end practice sessions while they're smiling and happy for two weeks straight -- even if this means they're very short indeed on both time and substance -- I can almost guarantee that you'll break the cycle of negativity. And then you'll more than make up for whatever productivity might have been lost during the two weeks.

Good luck!

Miranda

(Suzuki teacher, and mom to Erin-16, Suzuki violin 'grad' 2007, Noah-13, Suzuki viola Book 8, Sophie-11, Suzuki violin Book 7, and Fiona-7, Suzuki violin Book 5)
post #356 of 459
Thank you so much for this EXTREMELY helpful reply, Miranda. We've had two positive, fun, SHORT, laughing practice sessions now (including the raspberries on the belly, administered by both me and 2-yr-old ds), and I do feel like if we keep it up for a while we'll be in an entirely new place, practice-wise. I don't think dd is a dyed-in-the-wool perfectionist at this point, but I would describe her as stubborn, if it weren't so pejorative. She has an idea of how things should go, and sometimes she'll just. keep. going. with something even when she lacks the skills to get there. I myself am a reformed perfectionist, and I benefit from "scripts" that let me let go more-- "good tries" that "make it easier next time"... love it.

I made notes about "clues" to offer the next day, which went really well, and the new vocabulary of "taking a bite" of a "big piece" (not that Allegretto is big- but it feels like it because it's such a challenge to get the D and G sounding good) was way more meaningful than talking about "slowing down" and "trying again", which was where I was at before.

It's interesting that the first day we had a truly happy practice, including a short stab at "just the middle bite" of Allegro that resulted in dd getting it effortlessly right, dd followed said happy practice with a tantrum of epic proportions. Way past what we usually see from her now that she's five. The good energy of the practice kept me going, though, and I watched her rage about nothing (you know, about having a thread coming off her shirt, about her voice sounding "funny", etc.) for a good while-- then suddenly she was done, and we had a lovely day. It felt as though she was kind of recalibrating, checking to see if I would engage with her huge negative emotions without the excuse of frustration during practice. Maybe?

I think dd's teacher is a little surprised that dd loves review so much, and can be resistant to moving forward even when she's clearly capable of, and even excited about, learning something new. At lesson she greets new ideas/tasks/songs with open arms, but at home she cries. Meanwhile, she's teaching herself all kinds of stuff, on the violin and off. Violin is the one skill she's actually being taught, unlike our unschooling approach to pretty much everything else, and it's such an interesting nexus. She's a leap-then-rest kind of learner, I'm realizing, and it can be nerve wracking to the observer!

I described the problems we've been having with new pieces to dd's teacher, and she seemed to think it was time to start introducing note-reading, something dd is interested in in only the MOST play-based way-- scribbling pretend musical notation and "playing" it. Looking intently at my sheet music and "playing" it. Not sure music-reading is the answer to our current situation, really, but maybe it's just time?

Thanks, Miranda, for helping me think this through. She's my first, and I want to help her avoid going down the path of the self-loathing perfectionism that kept me distracted for so many years. It's encouraging that your children do not seem to be held back by their perfectionist tendencies, and that you have developed such good strategies for how to keep yourself from reinforcing it!
post #357 of 459
DD's (11, finishing up Book 4, playing the primo part of Bach Double for studio balance), violin teachers are very conservative (slow) to move the students up to the next violin size; we are fine with that. Her orchestra teacher at school has made noise about her getting the next bigger violin sound, "because he needs more tone," and "think about the bigger violin." She has a very nice violin, a Doetsch, 1/2 size, which has a big beautiful tone for its size. She is a very petite 6th grader; she has short arms, and she has conservative teachers.

I feel like her (5+ years) private teachers definitely win in this regard, even if she *doesn't* play with a bigger tone (which she totally can); the violin should be in proportion according to what her teacher thinks, not what the orchestra teacher thinks he "needs."

Feedback?
post #358 of 459
My daughter is also 11, average height, and just finishing up book 4 -- and she also plays on a half-size. I know there are kids the same size as her who play on bigger violins but our teacher believes that it's better to sacrifice some tone than develop bad habits or an injury from playing an instrument that doesn't fit. I totally trust our teacher and would never question his judgment on this. I'm surprised an orchestra teacher would have that attitude.
post #359 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post
I feel like her (5+ years) private teachers definitely win in this regard, even if she *doesn't* play with a bigger tone (which she totally can); the violin should be in proportion according to what her teacher thinks, not what the orchestra teacher thinks he "needs."

Feedback?
Of course they(/you/her) do. Is it a school orchestra or a youth orchestra? I assumed school because you wrote teacher rather than conductor. If it's an audition entry youth orchestra you may just need to be prepared that if they are focused on building the sound of the orchestra she may not make the cut next time. Otherwise, he needs to work with what he's got and what instrument she plays is not his business.
post #360 of 459
Bekka, I also have an 11-year-old on a half-size. She's short for her age, though she has long arms and fingers. In orchestra it's not a big deal, since there are other players in her section who can help balance out the sound. But this summer she'll be first violinist in a quartet playing Beethoven, made up of full-sized players, as well as the only violinist on a fractional instrument in a group of a dozen players doing Brandenburg No. 3 and parts of the Copland Nonet. Her half is a lovely antique French instrument with a sweet, balanced sound, but it doesn't have an assertive type of tone and I think she'll have to work very hard to project the amount of sound she'll need to balance the other players. The temptation to move her up to the robust-sounding German 3/4 that is in waiting for her is strong.

Her teacher is also conservative about moving kids up. My dd has the arm length to handle the 3/4, but it still "looks big on her" because her general body habitus is so petite. So far her teacher's decision has been to wait at least until fall, but I'm wanting to push for the earlier move, given the chamber music challenges of the summer. Her teacher is her grandma (my mom) -- which creates an interesting dynamic if we disagree over things. We'll see.

One-on-a-part chamber music demands more equal balance from each instrument than orchestral playing, though. In your situation, especially without the long arms and fingers, I would hold fast on the half-size for a while longer. Definitely the private lesson teachers' views should hold sway. She should feel flattered that the orchestra director recognizes that she's a strong player and wants to hear more of her, but I would stick with what the teachers say.

Miranda
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