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Suzuki Mamas Tribe - Page 20

post #381 of 459
My 4.5 year old is new to suzuki piano, as am I. we've had 2 lessons so far and he is really disliking it. The lessons are okay, it is the practice that he doesn't like. In particular the "games" where he is supposed to be learning which fingers are which numbers and games where he is learing the rhythm for the first twinkle exercise. What we are supposed to be doing so far:
1. play anything you want and give it a name ( he likes this)
2. games for finger numbers, which he hates even though I keep trying different things
3. games for the rhythm, doesn't like this too much but will do it if i let him lead and I copy him
4. play the twinkle rhythm on the piano, he will do it, but doesn't love it.

Is he too young?
do we need to try for longer to know?
any suggestions for other games?

I am worried I am killing his love for music and I will totlaly turn him off piano for good. This is not how I thought it would go, particularity with suzuki piano.

I am trying to consistantly have practise at the same time of day so it just becomes routine, ( home from preshcool, eat lunch, then practise) but sometimes then the baby needs a nap right then, then we won't do it while the baby is napping, by then its time to pick up my other child for shcool and practise gets lost in the day. I need better consistancy here I know.
post #382 of 459
How early is school? Our best results have been to do at least 1/2 of practice before school whenever is possible. It's hard with a baby, though...
post #383 of 459
I would definitely give it a little more time, at least 3 months. You and he will find your way with this, but it takes time, I think. You are asking him to do something completely different from his usual activities and you have to figure out what's motivating, when to back off, etc. I wouldn't worry if you miss a day or two each week; shoot for a number you can manage (like 4 out of 7). I have also asked her teacher for help with practice ideas when we get stuck, and she's always been great. You could certainly call her up for some tips.

I think our daughter was 5 before she figured out the connection between practice and improvement - she started at 3.5. That's a cognitive leap that takes time and experience.


Good luck!
post #384 of 459
What is his personality like? My DD hated violin "games" but she doesn't mind practice at all She needs to feel as though she is actually working towards a goal rather than just "playing games". It was awfully confusing for a while as she seemed to want to do violin so much yet every week she would resist practicing more and more until just as we were thinking we should give up the idea she said "I don't want to play violin games, I want to do real practice!". Oh, OK! We finally got it. Perhaps your DS feels similarly?
Having said all that, DD has been at a standstill for a couple of months. A combination of two long road trips sans violin and difficulties with the teacher's children (who are with her in DD's lessons). I think the only way to surmount the teacher difficulties and keep DD's interest is probably to give up on that teacher. Seeing as there isn't another certified Suzuki teacher within a 40 min drive (and I don't drive) I guess that means I wont be a real Suzuki Mama anymore Maybe I'll have to start a "sort of, not really Suzuki Mamas Tribe"
post #385 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post
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.
Just reading back. This is such a good idea . DD is pretty focused & likes the ritual of the case so if it was just her it wouldn't be a problem but of course little brother (16 months) is always around and with his "help" it always takes longer than it should. I wonder if we could find somewhere else to keep it....
post #386 of 459
Hello Mamas!

I'm a long time lurker, both on the boards and this tribe. I got an account sveral months ago and finally decided it's time to come out of lurkdom.

I'm not sure there's a Suzuki-thing that I'm not. I grew up as a Suzuki kid and am now a Suzuki teacher and mama to three young Suzuki violinists.
My eldest, DD 12, started violin a month before turning three. She'd been beggingfor lessons for months and I eventually managed to find a teacher who we both felt comfortable with and didn't think it was crazy for a not-quite-three-year-old to be in love with the violin. It's been a long journey, with many ups and downs. She just started her first Mozart concerto (5) and is loving it.
DS 8 also loved violin as a baby/toddler/preschooler and started at age 3. He's having a great time learning his first concerti movements (Seitz).
DD 5 is thrilled to be starting "real" violin lessons this year. We adopted her from China when she was four and she's only started talking understandable English a few months ago. Violin lessons just weren't an option so I taught her at home. She's speaking very clearly now, and, sure she can do everything her older siblings can, has started taking lessons with our lovely teacher. She's working on the Twinkles.

So, that's me!
post #387 of 459
Hi Kris! I grew up as a Suzuki kid, too. I only played violin for my first year, then switched to viola. Growing up as a Suzuki violist before the viola books were published meant that I was on the outside looking in a lot of the time. Now I'm a violist who mostly teaches violin students. Again, on the outside!

Congrats to your daughter on learning the A major! I think that's my favorite of the Mozart violin concerti. I've been working on the Symphonia Concertante lately - listening to it always makes me happy.

We live far from all other Suzuki activity, so I teach my own kids. My daughter is working on Oh Come Little Children, but she really likes to practice trills, glissandi, and ricochet bowings. My son has decided that he wants to learn the rest of Book 2 before the end of the year. He keeps asking me if learning vibrato is really necessary. He would feel better about learning vibrato if it could just be easier.
post #388 of 459
Welcome, Elizabeth!

My story is similar to yours: raised a Suzuki violin kid, became a Suzuki parent and Suzuki teacher, now have my own Suzuki brood. Fiona (7) is finishing the Vivaldi g minor, Noah (14) is finishing viola Book 8, Sophie (11) is starting violin Book 8, Erin (16) is doing a set of full-length recitals in November, and looking forward to a career in performance, for better or worse. She's off tomorrow on a trip across the country scouting out potential teachers at universities.

Miranda
post #389 of 459
Thanks for the warm welcome ladies! It's always so interesting to hear of people with similar stories!

Thanks ebethmom! Elisabeth has been looking forward to getting to the Mozart concerti for well over a year. She ploughed threw book 8 in her enthusasim. My personal favourite is the D major. I always love it when one of my students learns it! I love the Symphonia Concertante too.
I'm curious as to how you find teaching your own kids. I didn't think that teaching Grace would be too different from being the "home teacher" I was for my other kids. But I found that without the accountability and outside input practicing wasn't as regular as it should have been and I was always worried about missing things. That said, I enjoyed it for the most part. It was a really great bonding experience for us and I learnt so much. She's doing just fine in her lessons now so I must not have done a terrible job.
Oh, vibrato! I had such as funny experience with Sam and vibrato. Last May his teacher said "I think we should start working on vibrato". To which Sam replied "Oh, I can already do that." and then showed us a lovely vibrato which he was easily able to apply to his pieces. I'd never heard him practicing it and he never used it while playing; but there it was! It was such a different experience from the hours Elisabeth spent working on exercises that drove the rest of us crazy. It took her months to develop anything beyond a shaky wobble; not that you can tell now. I wish your son luck with his vibrato!

Miranda, I see you're from Canada. I'm in Ontario. It looks like Erin's got lots of exciting things on her plate! I hope she's having a great time on her trip. What universities are she considering?

Kristina
post #390 of 459
Thread Starter 
Dealing with a request to change teachers....

My daughter (recently turned 7) has been with the same teacher for 4 years and for the past month or so she's been sighing when I bring up her lessons. When I ask her about her response she says, "It's boring. She talks so much and I don't get very much done."

I should tell you that we all *adore* this teacher. She is so positive. So caring and kind. So very encouraging to youngsters. She has a way with the little ones. I do feel that at we reach the end of book 3 we may have reached the edge of her comfort zone and experience. But she's very much interested in pushing herself to stay on top of things and works hard to do this. She does talk quite a bit during lesson - and I think it'd be hard for her to quell this. She's a very *brainy* teacher and player. She thinks a lot while she plays, if you know what I mean. Sometimes when I notice she's losing my daughter's interest I can't help but think about what I've heard from Ed Sprunger: talk less.

I'm trying to figure out if this might be an ebb/flow cycle that's worth weathering, or if it's really time for a change. Anyone else have any experience with this kind of lull?
post #391 of 459
I have the talkative student. We call talking her language of love. She's always even at 12 constantly being reminded by her teachers (spouses) to play now, and "tell it with the music."

She is very analytical and wants to define something verbally and how something is "like something else." It's really cute, but has caused some struggles especially when she was younger.

But she LOVES her teachers, and "fell in love" with them (her words) when she was 6. I've asked if she would ever want to switch and she doesn't!

Could you have your dd describe how an "ideal" lesson would go to her? Like the whole 30 min/45 min or whatever? Maybe once that is described, she/you could bring the concerns to the teacher?
post #392 of 459
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post

Could you have your dd describe how an "ideal" lesson would go to her? Like the whole 30 min/45 min or whatever? Maybe once that is described, she/you could bring the concerns to the teacher?
Great idea! Thank you! I'm going to ask my daughter about it this afternoon while we practice.
post #393 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy kris View Post
It looks like Erin's got lots of exciting things on her plate! I hope she's having a great time on her trip. What universities are she considering?
Last summer she worked with someone who told her on no uncertain terms that she should go to the best violin performance program in Canada, and that this was currently McGill, and she should get lessons with some of the McGill teachers if she could this year and plan on playing as strong an audition as she can there in late 2011 / early2012. Erin took her seriously (this was Gwen Hoebig, so she deserves to be taken seriously!) and has become pretty fixated on McGill. It doesn't hurt that she loved Montreal when she did a quartet exchange trip there a couple of years ago.

She's also got UofT and UBC as distant alternate choices.

Miranda
post #394 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Last summer she worked with someone who told her on no uncertain terms that she should go to the best violin performance program in Canada, and that this was currently McGill, and she should get lessons with some of the McGill teachers if she could this year and plan on playing as strong an audition as she can there in late 2011 / early2012. Erin took her seriously (this was Gwen Hoebig, so she deserves to be taken seriously!) and has become pretty fixated on McGill. It doesn't hurt that she loved Montreal when she did a quartet exchange trip there a couple of years ago.

She's also got UofT and UBC as distant alternate choices.

Miranda
I went to McGill! Gwen Hoebig is certainly right (I'm sure you already knew that), it's the best. My four years there were wonderfully challenging and immensly rewarding. I then got a job with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. At this point in my life it's not practical for me to be performing, but I'd love to go back to it in a few years.
I may be a bit biased but McGill is one of the best universities in the best city (I'm actually quite biased about the last part). I hope your daughter as an excellent time checking it out and all the best with her audition!
post #395 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy kris View Post
I went to McGill! Gwen Hoebig is certainly right (I'm sure you already knew that), it's the best. My four years there were wonderfully challenging and immensly rewarding.
Cool! My brother went there in the 80's but didn't get along with his teacher terribly well (Mr. Fuks) and got a good scholarship at Cleveland so he transferred. But he did love Montreal and McGill. Erin has had lessons this week with Mark Fewer, Denise Lupien and Jonathan Crowe and loved them all. She thought Denise was adorable and they got along like they'd known each other for years, but she really liked the other two as well. All the teachers told her she'd have no trouble getting into the performance program and that she should work towards scholarships, so that was encouraging.

She now wants to move to Montreal next year and just live there and take weekly lessons and be in an orchestra and play chamber music and stuff. She can't do any of that stuff here, and so she's right: it would give her so much, and put her on a more equal footing with students she'd be competing against for admission scholarships. And she's mostly homeschooled and could do the last bit of her Grade 12 level academics via on-line means, so that's not an issue. But I'm not sure about her living independently 4000 km away at 17....

Miranda
post #396 of 459
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Cool! My brother went there in the 80's but didn't get along with his teacher terribly well (Mr. Fuks) and got a good scholarship at Cleveland so he transferred. But he did love Montreal and McGill.
Very cool! I was there in the early '90s, so a bit before your brother's time I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Erin has had lessons this week with Mark Fewer, Denise Lupien and Jonathan Crowe and loved them all. She thought Denise was adorable and they got along like they'd known each other for years, but she really liked the other two as well. All the teachers told her she'd have no trouble getting into the performance program and that she should work towards scholarships, so that was encouraging.

That's great! I know Jonathan quite well; our time at McGill overlapped a bit and we played in OSM together. He's an fabulous player, and an excellent teacher too by all accounts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
She now wants to move to Montreal next year and just live there and take weekly lessons and be in an orchestra and play chamber music and stuff. She can't do any of that stuff here, and so she's right: it would give her so much, and put her on a more equal footing with students she'd be competing against for admission scholarships. And she's mostly homeschooled and could do the last bit of her Grade 12 level academics via on-line means, so that's not an issue. But I'm not sure about her living independently 4000 km away at 17....

Miranda
Wow, right now I'm wishing I was 17 that sounds like so much fun. But definitely not an easy choice for the mother!
post #397 of 459
*sigh* I need some advice or reassurance or a slap on the hand or something. On the one hand DD:
* Is adamant she doesn't want to stop or even take a break from violin
* Is happily practicing everyday
* Is suddenly progressing again and pulling her twinkles together
On the other
* She is adamant that she will not go back to her Suzuki teacher
* Will not try another teacher, at least not until the new school year in February
* Wants to "learn at home with you Mama"
Argh. I'm not a string player, I'm a flautist with a Masters in Orchestral conducting. I know plenty about string playing, just not how to actually do it Certainly not how to teach a beginner, an itty bitty almost 4.5 year old one at that.
We unschool so on one level it's pretty clear - if she wants to do it we do and if she doesn't we don't but I have so many conflicting thoughts running around in my head. YK, I'm unknowingly teaching her all kinds of bad habits, setting her up for future repetitive stress injuries even (this is a real possibility with bad flute teaching so I assume it is with violin too) vs "Hey, she's only a Twinkler what harm can it possibly do?" "But she's enjoying it" "She'll probably switch to a wind or brass instrument later when she has all her adult teeth/more mature lungs". And so on and so on.
We stuck it out through the problems she had with her teacher for so long as I told her I didn't want to be her main teacher because violin wasn't my main instrument. So that arguement is used and discarded already.
WWYD? Force her to stop? Force her to go to a different (non-Suzuki or a two hour train trip) teacher? Continue as we are for as long as I can stand it & hope she'll want to find a teacher again? A fourth option I haven't thought of? Help!
post #398 of 459
Here's the fourth option, I think:

You take her lessons. Explain to your dd that you are willing to try being her home teacher on your own for a while and see how it goes, but because you don't know how to play or teach the violin you need the teacher to teach you how to help her. And so you will go to lessons but the lessons will be yours for now, not hers.

Do you have a violin? Each week you go to her lessons with her in tow, and you let the teacher teach you to play the Suzuki repertoire, and also to guide you in being the home teacher. You get your own pointers about Song of the Wind or bow-hold or whatever. You also explain "at home I'm working with dd on the left hand shape, and I see [this] problem happening, it's sort of like this, and we've tried working on it this way [demonstrating....] but it's not really clicking and I'm wondering if you have any suggestions." Or "Can you show me again that prep exercise for the fingering pattern in Lightly Row? I want to make sure I remember it properly for when I introduce it to her." And you also work on learning the instrument and the repertoire yourself.

And eventually, after a couple of months like this, there might come a day when your dd is interested in "showing off" for the teacher something new that she's accomplished through her work with you. And I would definitely rejoice if that day comes, and encourage her to do so, but make sure that the teacher knows that she should just applaud and express appreciation and not turn it into a lesson. She needs to know that if she's willing to participate a bit, that the teacher is going to let her do so on her terms, that she is still able to be in charge of setting limits.

She might also be willing to help at the lesson, allowing herself to be part of the explanation as you ask for help being the home teacher. Like "Okay, so she'll have her violin up like this, and her left hand in place, then what I'm doing is tapping her fingers, like this, to remind them about what to do. And I sing the pitches as we do it, like this.... What do you think? Is that a reasonable way to learn this passage? (Thank you dd for helping show the teacher, you can go back and sit in the listener's chair now.)"

I expect that gradually whatever fear and discomfort she has about the lesson expectations might soften if she has a few months of this sort of experience. She can then be the one to gradually open the door if she feels more comfortable and eager for her own instruction.

I've done this successfully with a couple of young violin students who for whatever reason developed an aversion to their own lesson instruction. It didn't take long for them to want to start participating a bit in the lessons again.

Miranda
post #399 of 459
Thanks Miranda. Unfortunately that's not an option with the Suzuki teacher we just left (although there's more to it than that DD's main problem was with her two exuberant 4 & 2 year old boys who are in and out of the room while she teaches, I suspect having DD unoccupied would mean more problems with them) but I will approach the non-Suzuki teacher I was considering with that in mind. I think we'll be fine as we are hopefully till after Christmas, then when she starts to think more about Lightly Row I will put it to her just like that - that since I'm not a violinist I will need to have a lesson with someone in order to help her approach it
post #400 of 459
Thread Starter 
Sources for fractionals?

We're looking to move from 1/8 to 1/4 - wow. It seems like a huge jump in size! And if the tone is not very pleasing, well, you have all that much more of it. So I feel like we need to tread carefully.

Currently we have a rental from a long-distance shop - Summerhays in UT. Up to this point we've been fairly pleased with their selection of rentals. The one we are currently renting is a nice Andare. They also just shipped us a 1/4 Richter and a 1/4 Pygmalius to try. These two are miles apart in tone and I don't see us being happy with anything like the Richter. The Pygmalius, on the other hand, just rings in your ear. If I were a student I'd want something like that on my shoulder.

Rental for something like the Pygmalius is quite a bit more, and has made me consider purchase options. Is this a good time to buy? I would have to travel or have them shipped. Anyone have any recommendations about places with good selection and easy to work with over long distances? Are there some violin classified ad websites I should check? I could make a visit to SLC to shop hop and try a bunch. But it sure would be nice to have some other options.
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