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#241 of 459 Old 08-12-2009, 03:26 PM
 
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I learned this quick fix from working at a music store for years. If you take the wrapped end of the string close to the ball end, and get a set of pliers and pinch it so its flat, that will compress the winding enough so that you can get it in the slot. Good luck!

Violin teaching, doula-ing Mom to Abby, (8) Ashlynn, (6) : and Max (11/13/08) Diagnosed with Metopic Craniosynostosis. First surgery 5/1/09, Second surgery March 2010.
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#242 of 459 Old 08-13-2009, 02:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Stacymom. You likely saved me a trip back to the store.
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#243 of 459 Old 08-13-2009, 09:57 PM
 
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When do you teach (or when did your child's violin teacher) introduce independent fingering instead of block? How about the advanced bow hold? And, playing with Vibrato?

I know it is going to vary by teacher and by student. What are the general markers of readiness? Or, when do you like to introduce these skills?
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#244 of 459 Old 08-15-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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I teach independent fingering right from the beginning. Even starting from "Twinkle"- when you cross to the A string and play 3-2-1, I emphasize that 3 goes down by itself, then 2 and 1, so that 3 can be quicker.

If by advanced bow hold you mean thumb on the inside of the frog, it depends on hte age and the readiness of the student. I look for a soft hand, fingers in the right place, and being able to maintain a correct bow grip through an entire piece. I don't rush it, but usually, students have thumb on the inside somewhere around Go Tell Aunt Rhody or Song of the Wind. When I start older students (6 and above) I usually start right off with thumb inside.

Vibrato is a big one. There are a lof of things that need to be in place before a student can have a good vibrato. They need to have excellent position, because the violin needs to be supported 100% by the body in order for the left hand to have freedom of movement. The left hand needs to be relaxed, and held in the correct position. If everything is in place, I'll start preliminary vibrato excercises in the middle of Book 2, but I've waited before. My goal is to have students have a rudimentary vibrato used in their playing by the end of Book 2, but I have transfer students in Book 3 and 4 that are just now starting to work on vibrato. The parents I work with are always surprised at how long it takes to learn and incorporate a good vibrato- it really is one of those skills that runs along a continuum rather than being a one-time skill.

Violin teaching, doula-ing Mom to Abby, (8) Ashlynn, (6) : and Max (11/13/08) Diagnosed with Metopic Craniosynostosis. First surgery 5/1/09, Second surgery March 2010.
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#245 of 459 Old 08-15-2009, 12:20 PM
 
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Thanks for the reply. That's interesting.
Dd1 is starting Long, Long Ago in book 2 and uses independent fingering but not the other bow hold. No mention of vibrato. (Her friends at group class about her age and playing level do both)

Dd2 is polishing up Etude in Book 1 and there's been no mention of independent fingerings. I'm sure the teacher we see has her own timing and ideas. I'm just curious what is standard-- if there is any type of "typical" timing for these things.. In out group class she is the only one (aside from the pretwinklers/twinklers) that uses block fingering. I know I cannot compare students-- but I guess I should ask our private teacher what her thoughts are on these issues.
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#246 of 459 Old 08-20-2009, 10:20 PM
 
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A friend of mine gave me "A Book 1 Review Chart" to use at home for practice.

Instead of playing all from Book 1, it gives lists for two weeks that rotates.

Does anyone have such list for Book 2??

Thanks!
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#247 of 459 Old 08-21-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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A friend of mine gave me "A Book 1 Review Chart" to use at home for practice.

Instead of playing all from Book 1, it gives lists for two weeks that rotates.

Does anyone have such list for Book 2??

Thanks!
Here's my four-part list for Book 1 & 2 review. We tend to do this in daily rotation, so that we play most pieces twice in a given week.

13 minutes
Twinkles
O Come, Little Children
Perpetual Motion
Minuet 1
Gossec Gavotte
Long, Long Ago (Bk. 2)
Witches’ Dance
Boccherini Minuet

9 minutes
Lightly Row
May Song
Allegretto
Minuet 2
Chorus
Waltz
Mignon Gavotte

8 minutes
Song of the Wind
Long, Long Ago (Bk. 1)
Andantino
Minuet 3
Musette
Handel Bourrée
Lully Gavotte

10 minutes
Go Tell Aunt Rhody
Allegro
Etude
Minuet 1
The Happy Farmer
Hunters’ Chorus
The Two Grenadiers
Minuet in G

Times are based on "CD tempo" so obviously if the review pieces have got rusty, if there's polishing left to do or the student isn't comfortable with top tempo yet, the times will be a bit longer. Still, if students are overwhelmed by the amount of review at first, it's helpful to be able to point out "look, if these pieces are easy and well-remembered, you can play them quickly and it'll only take 10 minutes a day. Let's try to get to that point."

My favourite approach for review beyond Book 2/3 is what I call the "Review Hit List." I set it up as a chart which students fill out for themselves. Basically they assign pieces to Group A, B, C or D depending on how permanently-learned and well-remembered they are. Group A are the pieces the student knows so well they will never forget them. Group B is those unlikely to be forgotten but a bit more challenging. Group C is those that need regular attention to stay in the memory banks. Group D is those that are rusty or "missing in action."

Those in Group A are on a rota to be played once every 2 weeks. Group B gets played once a week. Group C gets twice-a-week treatment. From Group D you choose one of them to work on every day until it deserves to be promoted to Group C. Then you promote it and choose another Group D piece.

You multiply out the number of pieces and their required repetitions over a 2-week period to figure out how many you need to play each day, and then it's just a matter of ticking off that many boxes every practice.

Hard to describe and it looks intimidating at first, but once you fill it out it makes sense. You can have a look here: http://www.nurturedbylove.ca/resourc...ew_hitlist.pdf

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#248 of 459 Old 08-21-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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I've been teaching independent fingering much earlier in recent years. Or rather, "modified independent fingering," which I explain as "don't put a finger down until you need it, and don't pick a finger up until you need to." I often introduce it first with the 2nd finger in the last two bars of Lightly Row, and then we elaborate on that with the beginning of Song of the Wind, where we go up the scale by adding blocked fingers in the first bar, but then use only 1 and 3 in the third bar. Depending on how well the child manages this, we might "walk" the fingers down the descending scale ... or not.

But ... in very young children with lax joints, I'll continue the block fingering longer. Ditto in kids who struggle a bit more with maintaining proper framing of the left hand. In those kids I will wait until the G Major scale and Etude before really getting into finger independence in a significant way. I use "1 and 3 but not 2" explicitly to help students with placement of the "low 2" in G major, and extend finger independence from there if it hasn't been previously introduced.

Thumb-in bow-hold, again, it depends on several factors such as age, fine motor control, stability of the technique and such. Children who are writing comfortably with a pencil or pen are usually ready sooner than the littles. My range would be somewhere from Go Tell Aunt Rhody to the end of Book 1. Most kids rollick fairly quickly through the pieces from May Song to Perpetual Motion, so that's a nice time to make the shift.

Vibrato -- similar variability. If left hand is stable and relaxed, intonation in at least three different fingering patterns is accurate, and the child is very motivated to pursue vibrato, I'll start as early as the end of Book 1. To me vibrato and shifting preparation require many of the same skills, so I'll often look at those together. Since violists start shifting sooner, I'll try to introduce pre-vibrato and pre-shifting exercises by early Book 2. In violinists I try to be there by early Book 3. But sometimes sooner. Vibrato is something that I work on as a book-long project taking 6-12 months.

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#249 of 459 Old 08-27-2009, 09:43 PM
 
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Quick question re:strings.

My daughter's teacher suggested Corelli crystals. Anyone else use those? What should I be using on my violin? I have a very nice Guarneri-styled violin which I adore. Should I just exchange the Dominant for one with a better wrap? Has the quality of Dominants dropped off or was this a fluke?
I play a wind instrument and the piano. I was pretty shocked at how much we spend on "maintenance" stuff to keep dd's violin in playing order: new strings 2x per year, $70 ea time, rehair 2-3x per year (based on how well dd treats it) $45 each time. An "inexpensive bow" is like $200.

(I just "upgraded my flute" for $270 on craigslist)

As far as strings, I've read quite a bit. Apparently Dominant are "industry standard." Around here it's about $48 to replace a set on a fractional violin (1/4 or 1/2), I don't know about on a full-sized. We once got a set of Evah Pirazzi strings on dd's 1/4 Doetsch a couple of years ago and fell in LOVE. Her teacher asked if we got a new violin.

When we just moved up to the next size, still a Doetsch, we got it with Dominant. We just actually had a whole adventure, b/c her teacher didn't like the tone, and I wasn't particularly excited either. But we had stuck with Pirazzi strings and I forgot to ask for them when we moved up. After getting her bow back after the rehair (the loaner bow was lousy), we asked for Pirazzi strings, and I think the luthier also adjusted the sound post or something when I said that the teacher didn't like the tone. We took it back with better bow, better strings, and adjustments, and he said it was great, or at least had better potential--better than "did the job."

The other guy (not the luthier, the desk guy) at the shop asked us why we wanted Pirazzi strings; the Doetsches are supposed to have the Dominant strings (a bit patronizing, really)! I said, well, much I know, but dd has had great experience with Pirazzi strings and that's what we're requesting. The luthier put them on, we tried it out and it was much better. I don't know what did the trick, but the tone was bigger and fatter, and brighter, although it seems to be mellowing and darkening as the strings break in a bit. Listen, I know when it sounds better, even if she is the violinist! She's almost 11. She knows what she likes. So the string price above is the Pirazzi strings, which we love.
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#250 of 459 Old 08-28-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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Wow, Bekka, that is a lot of money. Your dd must be playing a lot!

My kids replace the upper strings as they wear out and the lower strings about once a year. We all use Dominants, even the adults and former pro's in our extended family -- except that I've started using Evah Pirazzi strings on my viola, because it's an inexpensive instrument that doesn't quite match up with the brighter ones in the chamber groups I play in and I was looking for more "oomph" from the C and G strings. We rehair bows once a year, except in the case of my eldest who plays 3-4 hours a day -- hers twice a year.

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#251 of 459 Old 08-28-2009, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can I ask a string question, or at least what I think is a string question?

I have an e string that when I hit it from a dead stop (ie it's not vibrating) it often but not always produces a horrible high-pitched whistle instead of a ring. I can get it to ring if I hit it a second time and then I see it vibrate. But it's as if its reluctant to vibrate. Would that be caused by the string? The bow? My technique? It's a terrible sound.

And how, in general, does one tell when they are worn out and in need of replacing? I must admit I'm fairly guilty of just playing them until they break.
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#252 of 459 Old 08-28-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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I have an e string that when I hit it from a dead stop (ie it's not vibrating) it often but not always produces a horrible high-pitched whistle instead of a ring. I can get it to ring if I hit it a second time and then I see it vibrate. But it's as if its reluctant to vibrate. Would that be caused by the string? The bow? My technique? It's a terrible sound.
Ahh, the dreaded E-string whistle. Typically occurs when slurring across from a fingered A-string note. Classic place is in the 3rd bar of the violin solo part in Seitz No. 5 1st movement. Another sometimes problematic place is after the D# in Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus. It has much to do with the physics of the instrument. If the E-string is vibrating sympathetically, and your bow then hits it in a 'node' along the vibrating length, it'll often whistle. Digging in with the bow thumb a bit at the string crossing to slightly articulate the E-string note will help. Changing the point of contact (a little closer to the bridge, or a little further) of bow and string may help. Using a heavier gauge E (i.e. wound rather than straight steel) may help. And different instruments are much less susceptible. I find that instruments with a very bright sound on the upper strings are more likely to whistle.

No magic, I'm afraid. Not that I'm aware of.

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#253 of 459 Old 08-28-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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Miranda,
I'm not really sure that dd is playing more than your dd. I know that I got Pirazzi strings on sale for like $60 one time, and then the other place said they price match--what are they trying to be competitive? Anyway, dd practices 90 min to 2 hrs. She has a few slow days, and she for some reason is very very hard on bow hair--I know other kids' bow hair doesn't wear out and get all grubby as fast as hers. She is so motivated though, these days, that I can't fault her for grubby hair. Her practice goals include working toward 120 min most days by the time she starts book 5.

We just fell in love with the Pirazzi strings and she responds so much to the tone that we decided to pay for them.
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#254 of 459 Old 08-28-2009, 09:08 PM
 
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Actually, not exactly concerns. When I first did some research, there was only one guitar teacher in our region, like 1 hr 15 min away that was a Suzuki teacher, and that's too far.

So I asked around and found out that a friend of ours plays guitar, acoustic and electric, and casually asked his wife, my very good friend, whether he would consider teaching ds. Ds knows him well and likes him a lot. I don't think our friend teaches regularly. We've been busy, and I discussed this a little with our friend and he said it sounded OK but then haven't explored it any more for a few weeks.

Very recently I found out that a teacher who has a MA in guitar has been working on Suzuki training and is introducing a Suzuki program for guitar about 25 min away from my house. The tuition is very reasonable for this region. He doesn't have group lessons yet, but since the program is just getting started, he's hoping to start group lessons as well, and the tuition would increase to include those.

He's doing some info sessions/parent education things in Sept. which I think we'll attend, but I'm concerned that if I fall in love with this program, and my son especially, what do I say to my friend (like I said, their family is very good friends of ours) about changing our minds? Obviously if we decide not to pursue the Suzuki program, then we don't have to say anything.

The Suzuki teacher (a guy!!) made the same points I was thinking--about casual training and lazy technique and unlearning bad habits, etc. He's young, just finishing school, and sounds great. He's been trained in teaching young children. It's almost like the program is falling in our laps to be honest.

Thoughts please. DS is very, very interested in playing guitar, and now owns like 3 guitar T shirts.
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#255 of 459 Old 08-29-2009, 02:54 AM
 
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Miranda,
I'm not really sure that dd is playing more than your dd.
She's certainly playing a lot more than my younger three (late book 4 through book 7). I'm embarrassed to admit they typically do 20-45 minutes of practicing a day. My eldest does 3-4 hours a day, but she's playing Bruch and Mendelssohn concertos and Bach Fugues now. When she was in Book 4 she was a half-hour-day kid too.

I sure understand you about falling in love with a sound and just dealing with the expense because there's really no going back. I remember the look on my ds's face when he fell in love with his Sabatier viola's sound. Or on my elder dd's face when she fell in love with an $800 bow. How's that Visa ad go? "Priceless...."

Am I right in gathering that your dd is on a half-sized Doetsch in Book 4? Tell her she's a lucky girl. I play a Doetsch viola. They make some wonderful instruments -- I manage with mine in a semi-professional capacity. My book 4 kid would think she had died and gone to heaven if she had an instrument capable of that kind of sound.

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#256 of 459 Old 08-30-2009, 12:42 AM
 
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Am I right in gathering that your dd is on a half-sized Doetsch in Book 4? Tell her she's a lucky girl. I play a Doetsch viola. They make some wonderful instruments -- I manage with mine in a semi-professional capacity.
Yes. Our dd is very sensitive to tone, and really has responded so well to the more expensive violin that it adds to her motivation. Also our luthier has a very reasonable rent and then buy program: You can rent a very good quality instrument (like the Chinese ones that go for around $600 or $700) for a couple of years ($25 per month), then like 18 months of your rent go toward a "down payment" on any instrument that you buy from them.

Initially I got like $750 to pay on our 1/4 Doetsch, so I paid for the bow, violin and case, but only paid about $250.

After that, they do a "buy back" program where your previous instrument is a trade in, minus a $200 refurbishing fee. So to go up a size I paid $400, not the full price of a brand-new Doetsch.

They don't trade in the bows. Apparently the bows depreciate too much or get warped or something. It's still smaller chunks than putting out $1000 or $1400 every single time we go up a size on violin.

DD is a small (short, with short arms) 11 yo, and so the 1/2 size is brand new, and will probably fit her for about 2 years, unless she grows in a screaming leap and bound. (Her teacher is a bit particular; he was encouraging me to look at Kliers and Konos. Those are quite a bit more, so the strings and sound adjustments are our less expensive alternative. Eventually we'll get to Kliers, but you know, we have other kids!).
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#257 of 459 Old 08-30-2009, 03:31 AM
 
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Beginning Suzuki kid here -- just started a couple of months ago at the age of 9, and we LOVE her teacher, she's wonderful. My daughter really enjoys lessons, does not want to quit playing violin, but NEVER EVER wants to practice. ever. I'm wondering if we should reinstate the reward system that we had for twinkle, because she was KEEN to play with a reward at the end...

her teacher also mentioned starting her with reading music earlier than she would with younger students, as she is a very visual learner, is older than your average beginning player, and it seems like maybe she'd progress faster (thereby holding her interest) if she had the music in front of her.

I am no musician, and my dh is, but he's a 'play by ear' kind of musician... just wanted to check in with the suzuki moms here -- especially you, moominmama, with your unschooling perspective -- oh, I should mention that we're unschoolers, so it goes against my instincts to force her to practice, though I do threaten to stop taking her to lessons if she isn't going to practice -- that results in one solid *racing through it* practice, and then it's a struggle again the next day. she does really like her lessons... maybe we should just spring for daily lessons!

in a nutshell, I'm thinking bribes for practice time, maybe learning to read music??? I feel like she's in a slump (we're mid Go Tell Aunt Rhody), she's kind of bored, she's kind of frustrated that she isn't magically getting better, and I'm frustrated that she wants to play but doesn't want to practice... *sigh*

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#258 of 459 Old 08-30-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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Are you doing the listening with her? When dd starts to struggle, her teacher KNOWS she hasn't been listening.
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#259 of 459 Old 08-30-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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DD is a small (short, with short arms) 11 yo, and so the 1/2 size is brand new, and will probably fit her for about 2 years, unless she grows in a screaming leap and bound.
Having small kids is a challenge if they're learning to play a stringed instrument from a young age. I think it's especially important to "buy tone" for small kids, because their peers of a similar age and level will be playing bigger instruments with concomitantly bigger sound. There are additional challenges due to the physics of small instruments that make them harder to play, and I think it's worth doing whatever you can to make things easier.

My 6yo is playing a 1/10th, and I am wondering what we'll do when she gets to the Largo of the Vivaldi a minor ... there's a place where you're playing more than an octave above open A in 5th position and it is physically impossible to play the B-flat up there on her instrument because due to the short string length the A-string ends up pressed down below the level of the D and E-strings, meaning the bow can't reach the string to make it speak. Probably she'll have to use modified fingerings until she's on an 1/8th.

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#260 of 459 Old 08-30-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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Having small kids is a challenge if they're learning to play a stringed instrument from a young age. I think it's especially important to "buy tone" for small kids, because their peers of a similar age and level will be playing bigger instruments with concomitantly bigger sound. There are additional challenges due to the physics of small instruments that make them harder to play, and I think it's worth doing whatever you can to make things easier.
Yeah, especially if we're hoping (very much) that the violin will last her in this size, and if she gets very very motivated, she could be a book 6 student playing on this same instrument, and so it really needs to be something that she can ask a lot of. If she grows faster, it may only last 1 year. But she seems to go up bow sizes faster than violin sizes--I insisted on making sure that we'll get the "outfit price" for a violin bow increase, which should save us a couple hundred, because the non-outfit price is pretty hefty. She may go up in bow size as soon as 6 months from now. I think her right arm may actually be shorter than her left arm, and her musical peers are all younger than her in our program. She has 1 friend a year older than her, but she has just finished Bk 1.
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#261 of 459 Old 08-30-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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My daughter really enjoys lessons, does not want to quit playing violin, but NEVER EVER wants to practice. ever. I'm wondering if we should reinstate the reward system that we had for twinkle,
I'm not one for rewards, but I do understand that sometimes putting in the time and the work necessary to get over a plateau requires something more than just instrinsic motivation. I've found that objective, tangible measurement of the work is often enough and that rewards aren't required. Some examples of ways to illustrate work in tangible ways:

Light a candle at the beginning of each practice session, blowing it out at the end. Tiny slender tapers are the most gratifying. Marking off inches and half-inches can make it more fun and encourage a child to self-challenge. See how soon she can do a "candle's worth" of practicing.

Put a hundred beans in a jar and have an empty jar to put beside it. Every time she plays a review piece, move a bean into the empty jar. Watch it fill up and she'll see all the work she's doing. You can do the same thing with a chart made on paper -- colour in a square every time she does something.

Find 9 places or positions she can practice in around your home (I usually do repetitions to match age -- you could choose less). Things like standing on the kitchen stool, standing in the bathtub, kneeling on the floor, on the deck, facing into the corner of the living room, standing on left leg, standing on right leg, sticking out tongue, etc. ... and play anything that requires repetitions in all those different ways.

Coin toss. Ten pennies (or more, or less, depending on how ambitious she's feeling that day). She picks heads or tails. Toss first penny. If she wins the toss she gets to choose what to practice -- anything! It could be something really simple like "make a perfect bowhold three times" or "sing Twinkle Theme using the note-names." Once she's done that task, set the penny somewhere. Toss the next penny. When you win you can choose one of the lesson assignments, or something you've noticed that you think could be worked on. As you work through the pennies, line them up so that she can see the work she's done, and know how much is left.

*******************

When a child loves her lessons but hates her practicing, it's worth asking yourself "how can I make practicing more like the lesson?" Sure, a lot of the difference in attitude comes from the difference in relationships, but I still think it's worth examining what's working so well about lessons and trying to do more of that at home. I find that running a mental camcorder while I'm working with my child is helpful -- because I usually discover that I'm much more demanding and negative, and much less appreciative, than the teacher. A friend of mine, Stephanie Judy, once put together a "Parent's Daily Dozen" checklist / self-evaluation survey as a reminder to parents about how much of a role they have in creating an enjoyable practicing regimen. Here is a bare-bones version of it:

1. Listening: I played the recording ____ times today.
2. Setting a time: We agreed in advance on a time for today’s practice.
3. Preparing: I prepared for today’s practice.
4. Initiating the practice: I gave my child warning before practice time.
5. “Bracketing” the practice: We began/ended our practice with a bow.
6. Parent’s priority: I gave our practice time a high priority.
7. Encouragement: I expressed sincere appreciation for my child’s efforts.
8. Positive environment: I created a positive environment for practicing.
9. Giving choices: My child made choices about how/what to practice.
10. Tonalization: Our practice included tonalization.
11. Review: Our practice included review (P = partial, C = complete).
12. Ending the practice: We ended the practice on a positive note.
PARENT’S SUMMARY: What was today’s practice like?
STUDENT’S SUMMARY: How did your practice partner do today?
STUDENT’S SUMMARY: How did you do today?

It's a useful reminder for me, even after all these years. I find that number 12 is the most magical one of all. If, for even two or three days, I can somehow make the practicing end with giggles and smiles, doing whatever is necessary to make that happen, resistance vanishes.

Hope that helps!

Miranda

Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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#262 of 459 Old 08-31-2009, 01:27 AM
 
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Miranda, those are awesom ideas. Thanks!

And re: upsizing instruments. Can I just say ugh! We're in the process of moving from a 1/8 to a 1/4, and although I worked in music retail for 10 years and know the business inside and out, I still don't like the process! We found 1/4 Pygmalius that we like, but I'm hating the bow that we have with it. My daughter is starting 3rd Seitz in Bk 4, and working on spicatto, etc, and the bow is terrible! Its just really, really hard to make a trip to the music store with three littles in tow...

I too agree about getting the best instrument possible for their size. Its so important for tone development! My dd is 7, and when we started looking at instruments this time around, I knew we had to look at everything because she'll be playing Bach Double and beyond on this violin!

Bekka, I've never tried the Eva Pirazzis on a fractional violin- I didn't even know that was a possiblity! I loved the Pirazzis on my violin, but found I couldn't justify the expense. They also seemed to take forever to break in, and didn't have that long of a life! I may try them on dd's new violin though to help with some of the brightness. My favorite all time string when I was in college and playing 8 or so hours a day was the Corelli Alliance, but again at $100 a pop on a college student's budget and replacing them every 2-3 months? Ouch. Problem is, they don't make em anymore.

About the E String whistle: two different things to try. First off, make sure the arm weight is solidly on the E string when you change strings. If you find a whistle consistently, try dropping the bow arm down more when you switch to the E string and that may help. The other thing that may help is trying a wound E string rather than a steel one. My favorite is the Eudoxa Wound E (not the Eudoxa gold). My violin is very prone to E string whistles, and the heavier gauge of the wound E helps it sing a little better.

(I should have multiquoted this message...)

Tiffani, has your teacher introduced anything other than Suzuki music at lessons? Don't get me wrong, I'm a die hard Suzuki teacher. But I find that especially with older beginners, the early Book 1 songs sound and feel a lot like "baby songs" to the kids, and its hard to get them motivated. A few well-placed fiddle songs or something like it might do wonders at this point. I think reading music is also a really good idea. But as a teacher, I would have a hard time teaching a student from week to week who wasn't practicing. Its frustrating for the teacher and the student to do the same lesson over and over again because the student isn't practicing at home.

Violin teaching, doula-ing Mom to Abby, (8) Ashlynn, (6) : and Max (11/13/08) Diagnosed with Metopic Craniosynostosis. First surgery 5/1/09, Second surgery March 2010.
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#263 of 459 Old 08-31-2009, 05:39 AM
 
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I'm not one for rewards, but I do understand that sometimes putting in the time and the work necessary to get over a plateau requires something more than just instrinsic motivation. I've found that objective, tangible measurement of the work is often enough and that rewards aren't required.
I actually think that's the magic in the sticker chart, much more than the reward at the end -- she could see her progress, and be proud of how much she was accomplishing. thank you so much for the ideas, though, those are great!!!!

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I still think it's worth examining what's working so well about lessons and trying to do more of that at home.
a thousand thank you's, this is so obvious but I totally missed it -- I've been sort of barking at her to practice, thinking that I needed to stay out of the process as much as possible (as much as you can with suzuki) but I need to do the opposite, I need to "connect before I direct" just like anything else in parenting... thanks for the reminder!

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Originally Posted by Stacymom View Post
Tiffani, has your teacher introduced anything other than Suzuki music at lessons? Don't get me wrong, I'm a die hard Suzuki teacher. But I find that especially with older beginners, the early Book 1 songs sound and feel a lot like "baby songs" to the kids, and its hard to get them motivated. A few well-placed fiddle songs or something like it might do wonders at this point. I think reading music is also a really good idea. But as a teacher, I would have a hard time teaching a student from week to week who wasn't practicing. Its frustrating for the teacher and the student to do the same lesson over and over again because the student isn't practicing at home.
she hasn't introduced anything else, and that might be helpful, but I think it's pretty obvious that lucy isn't putting in the time to practice. It is frustrating for all of us, I think -- part of the issue is the lack of listening (you caught us Bekka! ) as we couldn't get the disk for a while, and could only listen to it on the computer, so it wasn't that handy... then we had a string of illness, so practice wasn't happening... yada yada yada, I think we're all sick to death of being stuck in this rut, but I'm so glad I found this thread, it's been super helpful, and I feel like I have some great ideas to put into action...

feeling much better, thanks!

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#264 of 459 Old 08-31-2009, 09:27 PM
 
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I think -- part of the issue is the lack of listening (you caught us Bekka! ) as we couldn't get the disk for a while, and could only listen to it on the computer, so it wasn't that handy...
Here are some thoughts for making listening easier. If a listening device for your dd is in your budget, you might do that. We got dd a CD player when she was only 5 years old to give her ownership of the listening, and burned a copy of whichever CD she was on. Now she has a little MP3 player--not a fancy one, it only holds 2 GB worth of files (boy that looks strange--the first computer I had was a 40 MB harddrive and it wasn't that old ...).

Put a CD in your car. Listen while going places (captive audience). If you have more than one CD thing in your tray (we have 3 at our house) in your stereo (OK, we're old school), then designate 1 as the Suzuki CD. Permanently.

I will say that our teacher always says "all you have to do is push the button." Well, you have to set it up to be easy to push the button--find the CD, maybe the baby is eating the case, threw up on it, pulled it out of the CD rack, or whatever. Maybe it melted in the car. So set yourself up for success. (Our violin teachers only have 1 little baby right now ...).

DH is a copyright fanatic, and insists on "doing things legally." So I'm sure this is right--if you buy a CD, you can legally make copies for your own personal use. You can also copy songs off it to save to your MP3 player. This is all legal under copyright law.
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#265 of 459 Old 08-31-2009, 09:30 PM
 
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Oh, and I loved this way of practicing--when dd was about 6 and having huge motivation issues, a favorite way of doing practice was to play pretend--she was the travelling minstrel and travelled all around the country playing to different audiences. So she dressed up like a minstrel and she played in England (kitchen), France (LR), etc.
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#266 of 459 Old 09-01-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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Put a CD in your car. Listen while going places (captive audience).
one more reason why we rarely listen to the CD, we don't have a CD player in our car, or any MP3/ipods, what have you... we bought lucy a portable cd player, but then our CD burner went out on our computer (we're in new zealand, and the suzuki CD's are about $50, so our teacher lent us hers to copy , so we couldn't burn the disk for the longest time. lots of little things have been standing in the way of the listening, but we're remedying that currently... we're only in NZ for a year or so, we're leasing our car (so we're not going to add a CD player) don't have a good stereo to listen on, etc... not excuses so much as small obstacles

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Oh, and I loved this way of practicing--when dd was about 6 and having huge motivation issues, a favorite way of doing practice was to play pretend--she was the travelling minstrel and travelled all around the country playing to different audiences. So she dressed up like a minstrel and she played in England (kitchen), France (LR), etc.
that is such a great idea, especially for my geography/history hound of a daughter!

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#267 of 459 Old 09-01-2009, 01:20 PM
 
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lots of little things have been standing in the way of the listening, but we're remedying that currently...
Good for you! It's important to have the big picture and to see past the little things.

I have a student who had lots of little things standing in the way of his listening. He was getting only a fraction of the benefit from the lessons that he should have been getting due to lack of listening. When I pointed out to his family that they'd been paying for months of $20 lessons and getting $5 of benefit due to lack of listening they realized that dropping the $80 on a small-capacity iPod shuffle was actually a very good investment. It's so easy to think of listening as an "extra" rather than as an integral part of the music learning. Comparing it directly to lessons in terms of cost and benefit can be eye-opening.

Miranda

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#268 of 459 Old 09-01-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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I think I just figured out what we'll be getting lucy for her birthday!

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#269 of 459 Old 09-02-2009, 11:16 AM
 
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I'll chime in too.

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Beginning Suzuki kid here -- just started a couple of months ago at the age of 9, and we LOVE her teacher, she's wonderful. My daughter really enjoys lessons, does not want to quit playing violin, but NEVER EVER wants to practice. ever.
My almost 10yo dd started piano last year with a Suzuki-inspired teacher.

She doesn't have all the years of musical practice the other kids have so I worked really hard at establishing a routine so that practicing can become part of her day, every day. Just something that is done.

So we picked a time where she could have my undivided attention (after her brother goes to bed at night, in our case) and I make sure to really protect that time slot. Every night, I remind her: We'll do piano when I come back down. When I come back down, the grumbling is generally minimal and once at the piano, she's fine.

I think she likes the special time with me. I sit with her and check things off on her practice sheet, count the reps, help her focus on whatever her teacher emphasized at the last lesson, point out stuff, sing the notes, clap the beat, whatever she needs me to.

Since she's new, I feel she needs help with both getting to practice everyday and what to do during that practice time to progress. Left to herself, it wouldn't be very effective.

If we don't really have time one day, we still sit at the piano and run through most of the stuff once. Just to help cement the routine.

Hope it helps!
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#270 of 459 Old 09-02-2009, 11:31 AM
 
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I was getting a lot of resistance to listening to CD 1 daily, so I got CDs 2 through 4 and mixed them up into a playlist on my ipod, threw in a couple "fiddle tunes" that he likes and we listen to it through the day.
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