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Suzuki Mamas Tribe - Page 19

post #361 of 459
Using my "quick quotes quill", I will respond.

First of all, thanks for all the feedback. She is definitely still the right size for 1/2 size still. She isn't doing chamber stuff yet, and is auditioning in 3 weeks for the regional strings ensemble. I'm talking about her school orchestra teacher in an infant program which she likes but plays better than the 8th graders.

I told her if he mentions it again that she will be following her private teachers' guidelines, to avoid injury. Oh, and she's getting new strings and hair next week, which should help as well (that would be my errand...). There are students in the regional orchestra playing on 1/8s, 1/4s, and 1/2s as well as larger, so I'm really not concerned about that; just her own best tone for instrument.
post #362 of 459

Eek! String players help!

So DD had a joint lesson this morning at our house with the teacher's son. She brings her toddler too (of course) so there were two adults and four littlies in our tiny loungeroom and in the ensuing craziness while tuning DD's violin DS grabbed her bow by the hair with raspberry jam all over his hands It doesn't, umm work anymore
Is it possible to clean it? She suggested wiping with methylated spirits but that sounds a bit harsh to me. DH thought shampoo (since it is hair after all) and in either case enormous amounts of rosin afterwards. What do you think?
post #363 of 459
I've used denatured alcohol before for removing grime and grease with reasonable results. I would definitely use that rather than shampoo, since the latter is a potpourri of synthetic detergents, colorants, scents etc.. Any crud on the bow quickly gets mixed in with the rosin itself, so you really need something that can dissolve the rosin. Rosin is a highly hydrophobic compound made up largely of terpenes. It would require lots of very harsh detergents, or else an organic solvent, to dissolve. I think a pure organic solvent is the way to go. Just be very careful to keep it off the stick because it'll dissolve the finish. Unscrew the bowhair from the stick and cover the stick, then set to work with paper towels, solvent and a comb.

After removing all the rosin and grime, you'll need to reapply the rosin of course. I find that bows cleaned this way function pretty well, but the hair never seems to hold onto the rosin quite as well as it did before.

For the little bit of grime that accumulates right near the frog due to the thumb, a useful trick is to clean the hair by rubbing it with a sugar cube. It's the right size, dry, slightly abrasive, and tends to absorbs the hand grease. The cosmetic improvement is better than the functional improvement, but it does improve grip on the strings somewhat.

post #364 of 459
Thanks Miranda
post #365 of 459
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
For the little bit of grime that accumulates right near the frog due to the thumb, a useful trick is to clean the hair by rubbing it with a sugar cube. It's the right size, dry, slightly abrasive, and tends to absorbs the hand grease. The cosmetic improvement is better than the functional improvement,
This sounds really useful at our house, as dd tends to have the rigorous skin oil that dh has and gets dirty right at the frog very quickly after a rehair. The bigger problem will be to actually find sugar cubes; I'll be looking in all the supermarkets I frequent, for the next while, I guess.
post #366 of 459
Actually, I really dropped in to share my idea and get feedback. We will be camping in a dry climate (Denver) for almost a week this summer, and I decided that I was NOT going to try to take dd's "nice" violin (Doetsch) for that period. We have a separate "student model" half-size violin and super light-weight case. The cheap wood bow that goes with it is toast.

So here's my idea--set up the cheap violin with inexpensive strings (red label?) and buy a Glasser bow at Sharmusic. Then we have a violin and bow that will play OK, and the bow won't warp in the dry climate, and bring our green worm (what's that called?) to help hydrate.

Feedback? We will need to leave the violin in the tent or the trunk of the car. Which is worse?
post #367 of 459
Anyone going to the SAGWA Suzuki Institute tomorrow? DD is starting. Very excited. I won't really be too involved (missing all the lectures) because of my other children.
post #368 of 459
Please PM me if you know of any instructors willing to work with 3 yos in Manhattan.
post #369 of 459
Bekka - how did your special camping gear work out? I did something similar on a long road trip. I had an audition coming up a few weeks after our trip, and I knew that I needed to practice absolutely every day leading up to that. There was no way to hike and sight-see *and* protect my professional instrument. So I rented one. I felt a little guilty about subjecting any instrument to a hot trunk, but this rental really was a clunker! It weighed a ton, and it came with one of those fiberglass Glasser bows. (Ick)

It did its job of keeping my fingers in shape, and I really appreciated my instrument after our trip!
post #370 of 459
Miranda and Stacy (and other teachers and Moms with Suzuki insight!) - I just got an email from a student's Mom about an ongoing issue. The younger of two sisters is struggling with her practice and wants to quit lessons. I appreciate that the parents have told her "violin is what we do, and you play too well to quit." They are continuing for now, but her Mom has told me that she is very frustrated with her daughter's attitude.

This student has several recently diagnosed learning disabilities. I don't have many details on these. I'm not sure how her LD directly affect her violin learning. I do know that the self-esteem issues do impact her practice sessions and her lessons. She is very sensitive to correction.

I did ask the Mom what her daughter dislikes about violin, and her daughter's response was "you and my teacher listen to me play, tell me what's good about it, then make me work on it some more." How would you go about addressing this? Do you interpret this as a student who probably needs more ownership?

They are going to Institute in a few weeks. I hope it's a good experience. They are going to a brand new one that has a different format.
post #371 of 459
Can I have some advice on guiding DD as she chooses an instrument? I expect her to start lessons in a month and a half, when she will be 3 yo. She has tried out both violin and cello and liked both. When asked, she will say she wants to play both. (This is her typical answer when presented with a choice.) I had expected her to go a school where they would interview her and guide us to the best fit (whereas I know I picked violin just because girls I wanted to be friends with played the violin -- nothing to do with me and the instrument) but for various irritating reasons we are just going with private lessons independent of any school for the first year.
post #372 of 459
ebethmom, I teach but not Suzuki. I think you're correct that she needs more ownership. How about asking her what she thinks could be improved?
PiePie, it isn't clear from your post if she's really driven to play an instrument at all yet. Is there a reason you want her to start at three? My DD was desperate to start violin from her second birthday. Because we moved just after we found a teacher she had one lesson but then didn't start until around 3.75. If she'd continued with that desperation in the interim we would have searched harder for a teacher in our new area but she found ballet in the meantime and I think those extra months have been helpful
post #373 of 459
Originally Posted by greenmamapagan View Post
My DD was desperate to start violin from her second birthday. Because we moved just after we found a teacher she had one lesson but then didn't start until around 3.75.
This was my dd as well. She started at 3 y 2 mos. The first 6 months were hard. Then it was great for a while. We of course had hard patches but in general she is now almost 12 and has (almost) full ownership except for reminders TO practice. This is good b/c she mostly practices 2 plus hours a day, and I canNOT sit with her more than 10 min chunks these days.

Tried starting my son when he was 4 1/2 and "really wanted to" and we backed off. He was not ready. My next kid just turned 4. I really am in the mode of start when the kid is ready. I think if anyone else wants to do violin I'd start between 4 1/2 and 6, depending on her insistence (the youngest 2 are both girls). Yes, even for Suzuki.

We haven't gone camping yet. DH just brought home the cheap violin with its strings replaced this week. The (cheaper) luthier took the fine tuners off b/c they're the wrong kind for wrapped strings, so we're practicing tuning with just pegs, certainly a real challenge. We didn't want to put much money into the alt. violin. DD is practicing on it a little bit this week. It sounds like it's a smaller "room" inside than her current violin, although it's a slightly large 1/2 size. It's an interesting tone for the Scottish fiddling she's playing with (since Institute). We're going camping next week. The other good thing is, the case is a tiny case, as opposed to her behemoth case. We'll have to get one of the super expensive kinds of cases for travel, as we won't usually be camping for many days in a row; just visiting GPs across the country.

Would you turn the pegs 1/4 turn flat for while in flight?
post #374 of 459
Just checking in, I have a DS who plays the cello and has been for the last couple of years. We were late starters (he started at 7) and he enjoys it immensely. Looking forward to what this thread has in store.
post #375 of 459
Checking back in after a long hiatus. I had just about forgotten about this tribe, but I'm glad it's still here.

I am struggling with Suzuki. Ds1 has been playing for about 1 year and 8 months. It has been up and down. Things do seem to be finally coming together in terms of his positioning with bow and violin hand. It does seem like once one thing gets fixed, something else gets out of whack.

We have struggled with practice. To be honest, I'm not sure I'M disciplined enough for Suzuki. I try, but with soon-to-be -four kiddos under age 7, life just seems really full. Also, sometimes he will really fight me about practice, which makes me dread it, too.

He is starting first grade in the fall, and I am wondering when to fit practice in once he is full-time. His school goes really late... 9 to 4, so there is not a whole lot of time in the evening with dinner and getting ready for bed... and he so needs some down/play time, too.

We're also starting my 4 1/2 year old in a couple of weeks, who is very eager to start. Ds1 will be switching teachers (same studio... it's scheduling/time issues), and ds2 will start with the new teacher. And I'm having a baby in October. So, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. But I don't want to stop... progress has been so slow for ds1 that a long break would put us back to square 1. I try not to compare, but students that started much later are past him in book 1... I am just glad he doesn't really notice that.

I have just been going along on the premise that I can just do the best I can with life circumstances in the moment, and at least he's getting the exposure, even though we are by far not a perfect Suzuki family. But then I read things about kids just needing to be kids and not pushed early into formal lessons, etc. and wonder if I am just on some kind of ego trip.

I don't think so... I am not aiming to have professional musicians. I just want them to have a musical background so if they choose to pursue it more formally later, they have that potential (I feel like I never had a chance starting an instrument later, 5th grade, and never being able to take private lessons, and never getting very good even though I practiced a lot). And, I want them to love music and be able to play informally and have something to enjoy for the rest of their lives.

So, anyways, I am glad this thread is here to get a little encouragement, some ideas for making practice more fun, and I'm hoping for a "hang in there, it does get better/easier, it's worth it" etc.
post #376 of 459
I will just reply quickly, honeybee. Hang in there; transitions (new school years) can be really hard. My daughter was in book 1 for three years--a teacher transition actually slowed things down a bit, but may not for all children. She is 12 and is advancing readily through book 5 and plays well and with confidence. Advancing quickly is not always ideal.

And there is space to "let kids be kids" within the context of Suzuki... many of us have reached some sort of hiatus where we needed to "let things go" for a while; do the minimum, etc. Make sure you have read Ed Sprunger's book, it has some ideas for you.

This thread moves slow, but there are good ideas here sometimes. Your goals for music are great!
post #377 of 459
Hey everyone. I was referred to this tribe. I see lots of pages of info I can learn. My dd(7)'s charter arts school started a honors music for the lower grades that weren't offered orchestra(K thru 2nd or 3rd) and they get to do suzuki violin lessons this year. At first it was going to be once a week but the teacher increased it starting this week to Tuesdays and Thursdays so extra learning.

I may seek out private lessons over next summer as well.

I was wondering about a few things but I'll spend some time reading before I dive in.

Oh and I am reading The Suzuki Violinist by William Starr.
post #378 of 459

First of all, make sure that you play the Suzuki Violin 1 tape/CD whenever you can--at least once a day!

If you can leave the violin out on a table where it will not get hurt or sat on (hard to do if you have toddlers in the house), the violin will be played more often!

I also found that my playing the violin [by watching the instructor teach my son, my 10 year old daughter (who was not taking violin) and I were able to do it], we were able to stimulate my son to play the violin also! The revised editions of Suzuki violin are much better at explaining to lay people about how to do the exercises.

It also helped us by buying Don't Fret Violin "Finger Tape" Decal (amazon.com sells it; we got it from www.ymonline.com) to let us know where to place our fingers. We had the store where we bought the violin put the Don't Fret sticker on the violin.
post #379 of 459
The teacher put 3 tapes on the "neck"(going on limited time and knowledge of the violin) under the strings. Is that the tape?

She learned to pluck twinkle twinkle little star. I'll see what happens tomorrow. She definitely needs to practice more but I don't have any tapes or books other than the ones I proactively checked out at the public library. How do I find this "tape". I'm sure practice will increase when she has more learned but I try to encourage her to at least play around. Does the tape/cd help with that?

We have a very snoopy kitten that climbs on everything so I don't feel comfortable leaving it out of the case but the case is located in the living room so it gets passed by a lot. I have that same problem with my camera. I want to learn more and more and grow with photography and leaving it out keeps it handy and more ready but I do leave it on the floor sometimes. Its ready to grab and take the cap off and already on the floor so it can't be knocked off. But my camera is more sturdy than the violin so alas it is staying in the case when she is not using it for now. The kitty already plays with(or tries) the guitar hero guitars.
post #380 of 459
Do you have a cabinet drawer? We found so often that it was extremely time consuming to get the violin out of the case, and dd lost interest by the time it was out. We had a cabinet with a large deep drawer, so I lined it with an old pillowcase and she has kept her violin in the same drawer for many years now. She's on a 1/2 size violin at the moment and it still fits; I am wondering about a 3/4 violin when she gets there, but she has younger siblings and we may need the violin drawer for someone else's violin at some point. Right now her sister plays the piano and no one else plays.
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