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#301 of 459 Old 09-23-2009, 01:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ecstaticmama24 View Post
Hey Mamas! I love music and I'm so excited that my girl is in piano, I hope she loves it too! I'm almost considering taking lessons again. Anyone take lessons with their little ones?
I've been learning violin with dd...I'm getting ready to finish book 2, along with a bunch of other music thrown in from an ensemble class, and fiddle tunes. I love playing, but it is way tricky to find practice time for me! And, next year my 3 year old will begin (she's chomping at the bit now ; )
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#302 of 459 Old 10-05-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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Hi everyone,
I have LOVED reading through all the posts here; they have really inspired me.
My 4 yo DD just started cello this summer, and we're already hitting a wall! Well, I am, maybe because I went through this same situation with my 8 yo DS on violin. Basically when we practice, I am always saying, "let me help you with that bowhold like the teacher said I should", or "I'll do the bowing and you do the fingers", or correcting her (too much for a 4 yo, I know!), or making her do things again if they're not right. She gets really mad and wants to do everything all by herself, hates having me suggest anything, etc. She would be happiest just sawing away on the C string... How do I gently get her technique to improve without ruining our relationship and without being a control freak? I really think my frustration with my son was NOT good for our relationship (or for his relationship with violin, but that's another story). I really can't take another 4 years of constant struggle!!!!! (I know it'll get better, but I can't see past this right now!)
TIA,
Genevieve
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#303 of 459 Old 10-05-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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Genevieve, how about taking turns directing the practice? We play a game with coins. My dd chooses heads or tails. She also decides how many coins to use. Let's say she chooses 8 coins and heads. We lay the eight out on a shelf. I pick up the first one and flip it. If it's heads, she chooses what to do. She might say "I'm going to do a made-up song" and scrub away. Fine. When she's done, she bows and I applaud. Then we put that 'used' coin in a separate pile, get a new one and flip that one. If it's heads she gets to choose again. But if it's tails, I get to choose. "Five beautiful bow-holds!" or "play Twinkle rhythm C on the D-string three times with big tone" or something like that. And so on, flipping coins and making our respective choices until all eight coins are used up.

I find that because this makes the work to be done and the work already done tangible (we can look at the coins and see) my child feels much more in control and proud of her work. Because the random coin toss decides what type of work (mom-work or kid-work) gets done, she can feel annoyed at the coins, rather than at me. And because she is given full autonomy over specific parts of the practice session, to play the role of practice coach to herself, as time goes on she actually begins to make productive choices of her own. Finally, it's very helpful to both of us that there are particular parts of the practice session where I am not allowed to guide and correct and direct. I become more aware of how reflexively I correct and redirect -- and my child appreciates the little breaks from parental control.

Hope that helps!

Miranda

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#304 of 459 Old 10-06-2009, 09:08 AM
 
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Wow, Miranda -- what a wonderful idea!!! Thank you so much for posting it. My 7 year old is doing great at the moment, but my extremely independent almost 4 year-old.... it's a struggle. I think the coin toss idea will help a ton. Thanks for sharing it!
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#305 of 459 Old 10-06-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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That IS a great idea! I can hardly wait to try it with my 6yo. We have been using folded slips of paper -- each one has a particular task on it, such as "do one Up Like a Rocket," along with a couple of funny surprises like "hug Mom" or "do 5 pushups." He really likes these, especially when I rotate different surprises in and out, but we are already getting to the stage where he doesn't want me telling him what to do. I think he will love the coin toss!

I am also experimenting with asking HIM whether he managed to, say, maintain his bowhold all the way to the end of Up Like a Rocket, rather than me telling him whether or not he did. I praise him to high heaven if he is honest in his self-assessment, and I let the attempt "count" even if his bowhold wasn't great.

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#306 of 459 Old 10-06-2009, 08:31 PM
 
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Thanks so much for the suggestion, Miranda! I also went back and printed out your parent checklist, which is amazing!
We started with a bow today, did 6 coins, and, you're totally right, I was able to let go for "her turns" and just let her do whatever, then I did get a turn to gently guide the bow for some rhythms, and sort of fix what I saw going on during her turns. It was SO much more positive than before! Maybe I'll try 8 coins with my son later tonight!!!!!
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#307 of 459 Old 10-07-2009, 10:17 PM
 
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Hi,
sorry I didn't respond to your post upthread. I haven't checked in over here for a while b/c I've been elsewhere, and also trying to cut down online time. Have things evened out a little bit with dd's practice?

Here are a few thoughts: when dd1 was 7 she was in mid book 2. She had some real issues about practice motivation, and any change took a LONG time to adjust to--violin size, school starting, etc. Like I needed to give it a month to get through.

Are you doing ALL of the practice at once? We haven't had good results with that forever and ever. If she can do say, 45 mins, then do that much in the morning. Do you teach all afternoon until bedtime? Is it possible to let her take charge of say, 15-30 min of practice? Often dd started rebelling a LOT when she needed another level of autonomy. I know that autonomy seems like the antithesis of Suzuki, but aren't we working toward that eventually?

DD needed "fun" even when we were working on book 2 and book 3 pieces, so we still did the funny games. One that worked well for us was a card game--we had K (dd), M(mom), and W (wild). We made about 5 cards of each to make a big deck. We made a big list of all the assignment items for the week, and then shuffle the deck. She would draw a card. If K was on there, then she would pick which thing off the list to play. If M was on there, I would pick which thing off the list to play. If W was on there, she could play ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING. Sometimes I had to leave the room as she screeched like a police car or whatever, sometimes she improvised, sometimes she fiddled some stuff.

We also experimented with a lot of different practice schedules. Sometimes I made up a trivia game, where I made up questions about each piece/assignment, including info about composers or whatever, or riddles to guess the title or whatever. She loves figuring things out, so this worked for us. She LOVED these.

Interestingly, it wasn't until I was about 10 1/2 that I took responsibility for my own music practice. This has been a fabulous year as far as dd taking responsibility (mostly) for her practice (she just turned 11). She disappears into the basement, and I sometimes hear and often don't and we get to the lesson and her teacher says, "do you have X prepared?" and she says YES! I have no idea. She needs reminders, and sometimes a little push to go get started, but that is normal for her personality.

(She did not make the final cut for the regional youth orchestra, and we are interested in why, but she considered the audition experience a "good experience for learning," and is trying to add sightreading to her practice to prepare.)

When things are going terrible, we scrap the assignments for the week and just review old stuff that is fun. Or play anything she wants by ear. Even just getting her to play if she's in a serious funk may keep things moving for a while until she can get back on track.
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#308 of 459 Old 10-07-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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Suggestions from anyone for what to do to practice sightreading? We have quite a bit of intermediate level flute music (mine), advanced clarinet music (dh), beginning organ music (mine), and med to adv piano music. Plus a bunch of beginning piano stuff and whatever stuff her teachers have assigned:

rhythm training
scale book
etudes (for sightreading and music reading practice)
assigned Suzuki pieces
tonalization
Study list for group class

What should we use for more sightreading practice, like 5x per week? Any ideas? Are there any books of good, fun violin music to get? Or for any C instrument.
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#309 of 459 Old 10-26-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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Hi Folks,

DS (6yo) is in the midst of book 3 (cello), and I'm finding it quite a struggle to help him learn new songs. Generally, our teachers goes over tricky points in the lesson and then we are sent home to learn some/all of the piece. We're just starting Beethoven's Minuet in G. On the first half page, there are 13 shifts (oh the joy of cello!). I don't know how to do all the "instructing" to help DS get all of the notes, the shifts, the slurs, the bowings. I'm saying crazy things like "4th position first finger D string" and we're just plodding along note by note. And him having the tune in our head from listening even throws us off sometimes because he'll keep playing, but he'll have the wrong position, bowing, etc.

I'm going a bit crazy!!!!!! (clearly!). I'm feeling like note reading would be a huge help here. Thoughts? On any of this (not just the note reading)?

I think I'll call his teacher today, too.

Thanks!
megin

Mommy to an amazing 8 year old, wife to an inspiring principal, and welcoming Wylie Grace! Our July 4th babe!
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#310 of 459 Old 10-27-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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Megin,
I'm surprised he hasn't started reading yet, tbh. In both programs that dd has been in, they started reading by early book 2. Although he's book 3 and only 6 yo, so does he read regular language yet?

Can you shorten the assignment to only 4 measures? Maybe do shorter assignments for a couple of weeks to have successful practices?
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#311 of 459 Old 10-27-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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Thanks, Bekka. Yes, he's really just starting to read some easy books, and that's pretty recent, so it does seem okay that he has yet to learn to read music, but I do feel it has to come soon. I'm talking to his teacher on the phone tonight about it.

We've been working REALLY small chunks of pieces in our practice. That has worked okay, but it's hard to see/feel the whole piece when it's so broken down.

Luckily, this frustration with learning new pieces is paired with polishing up two others for a recital, and those are sounding quite good.

Still searching, though, for the right way to go about this....

megin

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#312 of 459 Old 10-28-2009, 07:46 PM
 
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I have to go but I just remembered that our teachers have the kids SING the parts that they aren't playing yet, and then play the notes they are playing, then sing some more. Our studio is very, very into singing first.
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#313 of 459 Old 11-21-2009, 04:10 AM
 
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Hi Suzuki folks! I have a question. Do your programs have Book Recitals when students finish a book? Our program has a tradition of Book recitals. The students pick 4 or 5 pieces from their "finished" book, and they are featured on a recital.

I've changed the format to Solo/Book/Group recital to add more variety (and to increase the audience size!). The combo approach is going well. We just had a recital tonight, and it flowed nicely.

I think I'm going to tweak my policy on the requirements for the Book recital. The other teachers in the program have had their students play the recital as soon as they finish the book. I'm finding that my students are still nervous about basics (notes, bowings, just getting through the piece). I realized recently that this is just too much pressure. So I think my students will need to be at least two or three pieces into the next book before we attempt a Book recital.
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#314 of 459 Old 11-21-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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nakking
Our program has 2 solo and 3 group concerts per year. Also each kid has to "graduate" every song in the book again as she's preparing to finish a level, but it's all done in the lesson. Usuallt takes 5-6 lessons to graduate a book.
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#315 of 459 Old 11-26-2009, 03:27 AM
 
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What a GREAT thread! Thank you!

I was wondering where do you buy the different Suzuki books,
like Violin 1 & so on?
Does each book come with a CD?
Is there a complete set that you can buy, books with CD'S all the way through book 10?
What is the approx. cost involved?
Thank you in advance!
By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to all!
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#316 of 459 Old 11-26-2009, 03:31 AM
 
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I order my books from Sharmusic.com . You can order just the book or the book with CD (which I always do). They also have a fantastic program for purchasing slightly blemished violins, which you can then trade in for full value later on, when you need a larger violin. I know several who have used them and have loved the quality of the violins they have received.

I have also found Suzuki violin books in local music stores (the kind that carry violins!).
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#317 of 459 Old 11-26-2009, 04:14 AM
 
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Hi Suzuki folks! I have a question. Do your programs have Book Recitals when students finish a book? Our program has a tradition of Book recitals. The students pick 4 or 5 pieces from their "finished" book, and they are featured on a recital.

I've changed the format to Solo/Book/Group recital to add more variety (and to increase the audience size!). The combo approach is going well. We just had a recital tonight, and it flowed nicely.

I think I'm going to tweak my policy on the requirements for the Book recital. The other teachers in the program have had their students play the recital as soon as they finish the book. I'm finding that my students are still nervous about basics (notes, bowings, just getting through the piece). I realized recently that this is just too much pressure. So I think my students will need to be at least two or three pieces into the next book before we attempt a Book recital.
our program has book recitals. the student has to play EVERY song in the book (liek book 1 includes all the twinkle variations, and every song - 17 I think?) the students are generally 2 or 3 pieces into the next book.
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#318 of 459 Old 11-27-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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I order my books from Sharmusic.com . You can order just the book or the book with CD (which I always do). They also have a fantastic program for purchasing slightly blemished violins, which you can then trade in for full value later on, when you need a larger violin. I know several who have used them and have loved the quality of the violins they have received.

I have also found Suzuki violin books in local music stores (the kind that carry violins!).

Should I assume when they say VOLUME 1 its Book 1 & so on, right ?
It seems that they have Book Volume 1 & then something that seems to be Book & CD Volume 1, it has the word Preucil (sp??) in the title or something close to that spelling....
Thank you so much!!
Have a nice evening!
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#319 of 459 Old 11-28-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ebethmom View Post
Hi Suzuki folks! I have a question. Do your programs have Book Recitals when students finish a book? Our program has a tradition of Book recitals. The students pick 4 or 5 pieces from their "finished" book, and they are featured on a recital.

<snip>

I think I'm going to tweak my policy on the requirements for the Book recital. The other teachers in the program have had their students play the recital as soon as they finish the book. I'm finding that my students are still nervous about basics (notes, bowings, just getting through the piece). I realized recently that this is just too much pressure. So I think my students will need to be at least two or three pieces into the next book before we attempt a Book recital.
We don't do book recitals. I am very leary of doing anything that can promote competition, or anything that puts the focus more on moving through the repertoire than on the development of fine musicianship. In our program here we encourage students to reach well back in their repertoire for all performances and we have occasionally had recitals where everyone has to choose a piece from the first half of their repertoire. So a student in early Book 7 would have to choose a Book 1, 2 or 3 piece. The quality of performances is stunning on those recitals! So anyway, as you can imagine, I am in definite agreement with you about delaying Book Recitals until students are well beyond completion of that book.

Do you know Dr. Suzuki's rule for graduations? You had to have reached the repertoire level of the *next* graduation in order to graduate from the earlier level. So a student wouldn't be eligible for their Gossec Gavotte graduation until they had learned Bach Bourrée. They couldn't do Bach Bourrée until they had learned the next level (which I think was the Vivaldi g minor, after that the Bach a minor, then one of the Mozart concertos ... ?? I don't remember his graduation pieces, but there weren't many).

If we considered doing Book Recitals here I think we would follow a similar model. While moving through the next book with new-piece learning, you revisit the pieces of the previous book, polishing them up to a new level of mastery. Only once you've finished Book 2 would you hold your Book 1 recital.

Miranda

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#320 of 459 Old 11-28-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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When my dd began book 2 we had a "graduation party" and she played several pieces in book 1 for the residents of a local nursing home and some close friends and family attended as well. We went back to our house afterward for some cake. It was fun! She had a lovely time. I think it was a chance to celebrate all her efforts and hard work.
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#321 of 459 Old 11-28-2009, 05:36 PM
 
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We don't do book recitals. I am very leary of doing anything that can promote competition, or anything that puts the focus more on moving through the repertoire than on the development of fine musicianship.
Amen to that! We don't do book recitals either, and for the same reason. Plus, I don't think you can ever be truly "finished" with a book, and I wouldn't want to promote that idea. Seems like we are constantly going back to books 1 and 2 for one reason or another, e.g. using Gossec Gavotte to practice spiccato.

16yo DS; 13yo DD; 9yo DS

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#322 of 459 Old 11-29-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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Should I assume when they say VOLUME 1 its Book 1 & so on, right ?
It seems that they have Book Volume 1 & then something that seems to be Book & CD Volume 1, it has the word Preucil (sp??) in the title or something close to that spelling....
Thank you so much!!
Have a nice evening!
Yes, Volume 1 is Book 1. The Preucil refers to the recording artist on the CD and that version is the one that goes with the newly revised edition -- definitely the one to get!

Miranda

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#323 of 459 Old 11-30-2009, 12:05 AM
 
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We don't do book recitals. I am very leary of doing anything that can promote competition, or anything that puts the focus more on moving through the repertoire than on the development of fine musicianship. In our program here we encourage students to reach well back in their repertoire for all performances and we have occasionally had recitals where everyone has to choose a piece from the first half of their repertoire. So a student in early Book 7 would have to choose a Book 1, 2 or 3 piece. The quality of performances is stunning on those recitals! So anyway, as you can imagine, I am in definite agreement with you about delaying Book Recitals until students are well beyond completion of that book.

Do you know Dr. Suzuki's rule for graduations? You had to have reached the repertoire level of the *next* graduation in order to graduate from the earlier level. So a student wouldn't be eligible for their Gossec Gavotte graduation until they had learned Bach Bourrée. They couldn't do Bach Bourrée until they had learned the next level (which I think was the Vivaldi g minor, after that the Bach a minor, then one of the Mozart concertos ... ?? I don't remember his graduation pieces, but there weren't many).

If we considered doing Book Recitals here I think we would follow a similar model. While moving through the next book with new-piece learning, you revisit the pieces of the previous book, polishing them up to a new level of mastery. Only once you've finished Book 2 would you hold your Book 1 recital.

Miranda
the book recitals in our program are not played with other students. It is more jsut a time to play through the entire book (show you can do it, etc). you can havbe people over to your house, or a lot of people do as a pp suggested and play at a nursing home.
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#324 of 459 Old 12-01-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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the book recitals in our program are not played with other students. It is more jsut a time to play through the entire book (show you can do it, etc). you can havbe people over to your house, or a lot of people do as a pp suggested and play at a nursing home.
No, I assumed we were discussing "unshared" recitals. I was just mentioning our program's approach to joint recitals to illustrate the emphasis we put on continued polishing and on the performance of review pieces rather than recently learned ones.

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#325 of 459 Old 12-05-2009, 04:33 AM
 
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Do you know Dr. Suzuki's rule for graduations? You had to have reached the repertoire level of the *next* graduation in order to graduate from the earlier level. So a student wouldn't be eligible for their Gossec Gavotte graduation until they had learned Bach Bourrée. They couldn't do Bach Bourrée until they had learned the next level (which I think was the Vivaldi g minor, after that the Bach a minor, then one of the Mozart concertos ... ?? I don't remember his graduation pieces, but there weren't many).
I just saw that list . . . I think it was on a video presented during the SAA Virtual Leadership Retreat last May. I didn't watch closely enough to actually remember the list. The Ottawa (KS) Institute models their graduation list on Dr. Suzuki's original list, but I think they have changed it some. They do their graduation recital during their summer Institute.

When I first started teaching with this program, the ONLY recitals programmed were Book recitals and Group performances. I caught a lot of flack when I insisted that we schedule solo recitals that would be open to all students. I've rearranged, so now we play combo recitals. I put solos, Book recitals and Group performances on the same program.

I've just started the check list idea with the students who are approaching the end of a book. So far it's working well. These two Book 1 students both have some pressing technical issues, so I'm glad to have more built-in review time.

Thinking of the Ottawas Institute and review work . . . Brian Lewis performed Chorus from "Judas Maccabaeus" on his recital last summer. It was gorgeous!
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#326 of 459 Old 12-07-2009, 11:46 PM
 
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Hi everyone,
I got some great ideas for my now-5 year old cellist, so I thought I'd run my 8 yo son's situation by you guys. He's been playing violin for 4 years, is nearing the end of book 2, and really, really doesn't like the violin. Doesn't like practicing, doesn't like going to rep class (2 Saturdays a month) (though I think he enjoys Being there playing with the kids, just not the trip, not sitting through the 1/2 hour recital every time, between rep class and orchestra), doesn't really have any ambition, either about playing beautifully or about progressing to bk 3.
This is getting me down. At times I'm tempted to quit, but I really see music as a lifetime gift (if we could get him to accept it!), and he's put so much into getting so far. And to worsen things (for me,this is really my issue, and it doesn't seem to bother him), his good friend at school, who started afterschool lessons at age 6 (not Suzuki method, but using Suzuki books) has finnished bk 2 and is starting bk 3. Now, he doesn't know his pieces by heart and he doesn't hold his violin and bow like my son's teacher MAKES him, but still, he isn't half bad. AND he practices on his own, his parents just leave the violin out (no toddlers there!), and he plays, goofs around, experiments with fiddling music... How is Suzuki better than this?
Words of encouragement? My son is into Christmas carols, and we are having my 5 yo pluck the d or a string to "accompany" him, which he's into. But in terms of "getting the bowings on Gavotte by Lully", whether for the sake of it or (I admit I am motivated by this) to GET TO BK 3 and make some kind of progress, he is NOT motivated. I know I need to shift the way I'm looking at this, so fire away!!!!
Thanks!
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#327 of 459 Old 12-09-2009, 01:33 PM
 
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G-love,

There may be a few issues here. One is that your child may have hit a plateau and is bored. If that's the case, then you may just need to wait it out but with a few conditions. You need to find a way to make violin exciting again. If you play an instrument, be it ever so humble (even at the beginner level), then find songs that you can duet with him. Those carols that he is playing will do wonders for his interest in music, so if that is what he wants to concentrate on at this time of year then let him go for it, even if his other repartoire is neglected! And if you can play an instrument, try to play along with him. If you don't play an instrument, sing the carols as he plays them. Also, how about having him give a concert at home (or a nursing home as others in this forum have suggested). If you don't mind, maybe you could make it a sing-along. This would make your son feel as if he is contributing to yours or others happiness in a very real way--live music is infinitely better than recorded music, even with mistakes.

The next issue that I can think of is that maybe he's outgrown his teacher. Observe his classes (I'm sure you do!) and try to see if he is clashing, even slightly, with his teacher. Is it just that the demands have gotten greater? Or does he need a new teacher? Maybe the teacher is so focused on minute skills that he/she won't let your child move on to another song and he is getting bored. Maybe your son needs a more traditional teacher (dare I say that on a Suzuki forum?). You may want to interview other teachers in your area and observe lessons and/or recitals to see how they teach and if it would be a better fit for your son. Now that it is recital season or coming up soon, you may be able to do this now. You talk about your son's friend who does violin afterschool--maybe that teacher would be a better fit for your son too. If nothing else, he would have the social aspect of doing something with his friend. And because he has been doing violin for years, he would probably fit into the class well enough, even though he's entering the class late in the semester.

The last issue that I can think of is that maybe your son needs another instrument. Violin is one of the hardest orchestral instruments to play. Some people are better suited to one instrument over others. What instrument does he want to play? He may have a preference already. If he's in a school that has a music program, he may have been exposed to some instruments already, but if not, then take him to children's concerts so that he can be exposed to other instruments.

It could be also that he just needs a break from all school, including Suzuki. The holidays are coming up and with them a school break. While I would not allow him to go the whole time without playing his violin at all, I would definately let him take it easy. He probably needs a break. I am sure that if you get him to play carols once a day for friends and family, that will keep him in the swing enough when he gets back to the grind.

Good luck with your decision!
Shifra
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#328 of 459 Old 12-09-2009, 11:45 PM
 
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Hi Shifra,
Thanks for your ideas. I have toyed with the idea of switching teachers--so far my only idea was to switch to another Suzuki teacher at the school (the young friendly one, vs. the strict one we have now--well the young one is strict too but so much happier and more fun). I am intrigued by the idea of leaving Suzuki altogether--though my daughter would stay with her amazing cello teacher, so that could be uncomfortable, to say the least!

He is really interested in drums, and I am letting him take after school drum lessons at his school. No practice required, I have no clue what/ if he's learning, but he LOVES it. Maybe that is enough, and I should just let violin go, but it's hard to when we've put SO MUCH into it, and if we quit, the benefits will be so intangible (the main one being learning that you can master anything if you break it down into small enough parts and take it one bit at a time) (also the value of creating something beautiful) (maybe I'm not ready to leave Suzuki!!)

My cello is at a relative's house in New Hampshire, but I love your idea of getting it here and accompanying him--esp since he's SO much better than I will be! That could be a ball!

And maybe he and his buddy could do an Xmas concert at a nursing home together---that's a SUPER idea!

Thanks again for all the ideas! Keep them coming, if anyone else out there has some!
G.
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#329 of 459 Old 12-10-2009, 05:38 PM
 
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More autonomy in his practicing? Sometimes with dd (11 yao) I needed to back noff and she could direct part of the prACtice.
o and flute so I accompany/duet C\ould you rent a cello for yourself short term? I play the pin thse. HAVE NO IEA IF You
CAN u
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d these words;
I'll try
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My baby is he--ing me type P h
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#330 of 459 Old 01-17-2010, 10:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post
More autonomy in his practicing? Sometimes with dd (11 yao) I needed to back noff and she could direct part of the prACtice.
o and flute so I accompany/duet C\ould you rent a cello for yourself short term? I play the pin thse. HAVE NO IEA IF You
CAN u
NDe
rsan
Ta
d these words;
I'll try
\ later.


\
\\\\\\\\

My baby is he--ing me type P h

This post is priceless.

Perpetually exhausted single mother by choice to one little girl (2/06)
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