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#1 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 12:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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There seems to be interest in a Suzuki music method tribe, so here's a place to ask questions and offer support. Here's a link to the old thread.

As for us, my only DD will be five next month and has been playing violin since 3.5. She just gave a couple of neighborhood concerts tonight - part of an assignment from her teacher. It was harder on her than I anticipated, particularly announcing the pieces she was going to play. When I was young and played I don't ever remember being nervous at all - not one iota - and I attributed it to starting young and assumed that the same would be true for her. Not so. I'm assuming that the more she does it the easier it will get, so I'm trying to think of more informal opportunities for her to play. For example, we took her violin out to an organic farm this weekend and she played for the chickens, and of course then the farm staff was begging for more. I hope things like this will help. If anyone has any insights to share I'm all ears. Oh, and she had no accompanist - so perhaps the whole totally solo aspect may have been what tipped her over the edge. She was completely exposed. I'm no pianist but I could pretty easily plunk out the melody or some chords for her. Any thoughts about violins performing without accompaniment?

As reluctant as she was she played beautifully today. We tried the hint about the honey on the bow and that seemed to make a huge difference, Miranda. Thank you. Her tone is nearly as big as it can be on the little violin.

BTW DD also started piano last month and she's giving a twinkles graduation on Friday. So between the two, I'm hoping the performance jitters will soon be easier to handle. But again, any advice is certainly welcome. I'm flying blindly on this issue.
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#2 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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nkm1968 -

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Although they would both quit if were an option at my house; it isn't, although we aren't mean about it, we have explained to both of them that it is good for their brains, we send them to schools with little to no homework, so giving back to us 15 to 20 minutes per night is a reasonable request.
I wanted to respond to your post, nkm, because I've often wondered how much of an "option" music lessons would be for my own DD. It's interesting to me that it's not an option for you. That's the way it was for me, growing up, and I SWORE I'd NEVER do that to my own. And yet..... I don't know what I'd do, now, if she started to complain. Of course we're still very much honeymooning with it. But I'm sure the time will come when I'm faced with this.

I thank my mom on a fairly regular basis, now, for not letting me quit....just like she said I would. (I took private lessons for 12 years, starting age 4) It's an interesting issue for me and I'm fascinated with different approaches. I have no idea, at this point, what I would do.

By the way, congratulations on finding a teacher you're happy with. It sounds like good things are happening with the change.
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#3 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 01:49 AM
 
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Well, they have not really protested that loudly or strenuously, so it hasn't really interfered with our overall relationships! So, I don't feel that bad for forcing them at times to practice, because it's not like some of the kids I've seen at Suzuki groups who look murderously angry about being there!

And they are also pretty used to doing other things they don't want to do or love to do, like pick up dog doo from the yard (hey, nobody wants to do that!), help with cleaning the house, or, for my adolescent, to HAVE to visit with her great grandfather and myself and our almost 7 year old EVERY Friday night , from about 5:30 pm till before 8pm, where we cook dinner and have a nice relaxed meal, and even sometimes they play their fiddles for him. She understands that we are on borrowed time to enjoy a relationship with him, and so she minimizes the grief if she would rather glam out for an hour before a mixer at school (she does glam out at his house, and I drop her off after school, haha).

So in the scheme of things that kids in my house have to do, practicing music is high on our list. Getting straight A's or getting into an Ivy League College aren't even on the list. Other folks have different rules which I respect but do not enforce at my house. For instance, I was forced to attend Catholic mass every week, and I am an atheist and have been since age 13, yet I attended with little protest out of respect for my parents who also had a limited list of what me and my brothers HAD to do.

On the bright side, 15 year old DD1 just started playing guitar and has been able to play by ear and fairly effortlessly compared to other beginners, and she and her guitar teacher (NOT Suzuki) have both commented it is probably because of great ear-training on the fiddle!!

Sometimes girl, moms just can't all the way win. I'll take a partial any way I can.
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#4 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 02:16 AM
 
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I could've written that. My DD told me, in a neutral tone of voice, that she wanted to quit violin; I responded that I was sorry, she may, in fact feel that way, but at our house, you must practice your instrument. She accepted this with only the complaint that her two-year-old brother didn't have to: she was mollified when I assured her that he would have to, also.

I can't make them cook dinner. I can't make them do laundry. Yet I can give them important, meaningful work even when they are young. And the fact is that making music is so much more joyful a task than any of the bloody things I have to do as an adult, that I don't feel too bad about cracking the whip.

It helps properly wire their brains. It teaches them how to work hard. It gives them a gift when they reach adulthood. It's worth it, no matter that they will go through times when they don't see that. We are the adults. We have the foresight.
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#5 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 08:04 AM
 
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I'm so glad to see the tribe here. My 4 yr old DS started violin 2 months ago. We're having fun so far. The honeymoon wore off when he started trying to play "run pony stop pony" but his enthusiasm came back when he "got it." Since it was his idea to play violin (we spent a month trying to talk him out of it), he's bewildered that I insist that he play violin everyday, but we're having pretty good results using game pieces and playing around the house and things like that. The internet video phone with his grandparents has been a big help too.
I'm encouraged to hear that Suzuki kids are learning to play fiddle tunes too. I think the source of his interest in violin is the bluegrass festival we went to last summer, but he doesn't make any distinction between styles of music yet, so as far as he's concerned Twinkle Twinkle is a fine fiddle tune.
I have a 2 yr old DS who wants to play too, but I've explained that he's not old enough so he's happily played with the toys in the play area during his brother's group lesson. This week there was a 2 yr old girl in the class and my DS2 wouldn't leave the room. "Where's MY biolin?" he demands.
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#6 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 12:28 PM
 
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Hi, thanks for starting this tribe!

I'm Miranda, raised a Suzuki kid myself back in the 1970's, daughter of a Suzuki violin teacher trainer, part-time Suzuki teacher and sibling to two full-time Suzuki teachers. I have four kids.

Erin (14) began Suzuki violin at age 4. She finished the first 8 Suzuki books around her 11th birthday and this year has moved on to a Suzuki-friendly advanced teacher who unfortunately lives 8 hours from us, so we make monthly treks for lessons and it's nowhere near ideal but I can't see any other way that would be better. She lives for music, this girl, and is also an advanced pianist (non-Suzuki trained) and talented soprano. She's got five weeks of intensive music lined up for the summer and would be happier if it were 10 weeks!

Noah (11) began Suzuki lessons at age 5 and switched from violin to viola at around age 8. He is working in the middle of viola Book 6 and has come into his own this year as a solo performer and a chamber musician. He loves being a violist and is very much in demand these days as a chamber player.

Sophie (9) began violin at about 4.5. She's progressed well and has just begun Book 6. She is struggling with some posture and technique issues in her bowing, as well as with the 'success' and acclaim her siblings are all getting. "Middle Suzuki Child Syndrome" I guess. She's really sweet and will come into her own soon, I think, but I do feel for her. She practices entirely independently, and has for a year or two, due to perfectionistic meltdowns that occur when she lets me watch. So that makes it much tougher for her to progress and get a handle on remediative stuff.

Fiona (newly 5) began violin at not-quite-3, because no one seemed to be able to convince her she should wait. She's progressing solidly through book 3 and is reading, shifting and working well on beginning vibrato. She's tiny and is a showstopper when she performs. She's also the only one of my kids who isn't a perfectionist, who enjoys practicing, who can make a mistake and move on.

Looking forward to participating here!

Miranda

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#7 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 02:22 PM
 
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Hey I have a Fiona too! DD2, almost 7!

We chose her name after DH and I fell in love with the Fiona charachter from "The Secret of Roan Inish"
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#8 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 10:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanaT View Post
I'm so glad to see the tribe here. My 4 yr old DS started violin 2 months ago. We're having fun so far. The honeymoon wore off when he started trying to play "run pony stop pony" but his enthusiasm came back when he "got it." Since it was his idea to play violin (we spent a month trying to talk him out of it), he's bewildered that I insist that he play violin everyday, but we're having pretty good results using game pieces and playing around the house and things like that. The internet video phone with his grandparents has been a big help too.
I'm encouraged to hear that Suzuki kids are learning to play fiddle tunes too. I think the source of his interest in violin is the bluegrass festival we went to last summer, but he doesn't make any distinction between styles of music yet, so as far as he's concerned Twinkle Twinkle is a fine fiddle tune.
I have a 2 yr old DS who wants to play too, but I've explained that he's not old enough so he's happily played with the toys in the play area during his brother's group lesson. This week there was a 2 yr old girl in the class and my DS2 wouldn't leave the room. "Where's MY biolin?" he demands.
Get that kid a "biolin"! I'd send you our old 1/16th but DD2 has it plastered with mermaid stickers, so I am making it into a wall installation box with other "mementos" from her being 4.
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#9 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 10:44 PM
 
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Hehe, sorry, my first thought was motorcycles. :P

Are you covering any of the other instruments that are taught Suzuki method?

C wife to J, Mom to B, C and Jjumpers.gif Iblahblah.gif, and Pbabyf.gif

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#10 of 459 Old 05-12-2008, 10:49 PM
 
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Subscribing! So glad to find this thread. I've got a just newly 5 yo DS who started Suzuki cello in the fall. Lots of ups and downs, but mostly ups. More to come!

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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#11 of 459 Old 05-18-2008, 08:59 PM
 
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Hey guys, check out the Suzuki piece gone raver!
DD1 is a fan of a band called the Gorillaz, and on their fist self-titled album, there is a piece called "Left Hand Suzuki Method" that is hilarious!

I found it outside her CD on YouTube, just search Gorillaz Left Hand Suzuki
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#12 of 459 Old 05-21-2008, 12:56 AM
 
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I'm Stacy, a suzuki mom and a suzuki violin and viola teacher. (Hi Miranda!)

My six year old is playing violin as well, and she's just starting book 3. I thought the last two minuets in bk 2 were going to kill us, but we made it!

I am amzed at how much harder it is to be the parent than the teacher. DD and I have a fire-y relationship anyway, and sometimes the practice sessions can get pretty intense! But she has good focus, a good tone, is improving some of the bowing things we've been working on for months (finally!) and her vibrato is absolutely gorgeous. We're headed to Institute in a few weeks, and that's a huge motivator for both of us!

Fun, fun. Its always so good to talk with like minded people!

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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#13 of 459 Old 05-21-2008, 01:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Fiery Mother-Daughter relationship? :raises hand: We've got one of those here, too. It a constant challenge for me to take the challenge out of the learning experience, break it down to manageable steps and remember to take it to FunLand. I'm pretty sure the days of rolling marbles down the piano bookstand and into the cup are going to come to an end soon enough. And frankly I'm not sure where to go from there. I actually remember the challenge of learning vibrato like I remember nothing else about playing. Oh, the dread.... :

Piano question ahead....

Anyone here with a lefty piano player?

My DD writes with her left hand, but by golly she's darn reluctant to play piano with it! She seems much more comfortable with her right, but I can't tell if that's just because she practices it more because it feels like more of a challenge. But at this point I'm feeling pretty confused. I have even suggested to her a time or two to try writing a word with her right hand.

Piano is going swimmingly for her. In fact after having the challenge of technique with the violin, piano seems kind of boring for her. Boring isn't quite the right word of course because playing hands together is a different kind of challenge for her. But I notice her attention wander off much much more while playing piano than violin, where it doesn't seem to have a chance to wander off at all.
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#14 of 459 Old 05-21-2008, 08:39 AM
 
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Get that kid a "biolin"! I'd send you our old 1/16th but DD2 has it plastered with mermaid stickers, so I am making it into a wall installation box with other "mementos" from her being 4.
So how young did people start? We started a couple months ago with Ds1 at 4 1/2 because he really wanted to, and he's doing wonderfully. It looked like the families with 3 yr olds just starting out were really struggling to keep the kids interest and get them to participate.
Now DS2, at 2, is showing a lot of interest, clapping the rhythms, and asking where his "biolin" is. I figure we should at least wait until he can get the right number "ippi"s in mississippi
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#15 of 459 Old 05-21-2008, 12:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by insahmniak View Post
Anyone here with a lefty piano player?
I do! My eldest, now 14, is strongly left-dominant and plays violin (Suzuki) and piano (traditional). There was a time very early on when she found right-hand work on piano easier; I think it was because as a violinist she was very melody-oriented and she was more in tune with the upper voice. All that low-down harmony stuff wasn't her bag yet. It just took a little while for it to gel.

Miranda

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#16 of 459 Old 05-21-2008, 01:01 PM
 
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So how young did people start? We started a couple months ago with Ds1 at 4 1/2 because he really wanted to, and he's doing wonderfully. It looked like the families with 3 yr olds just starting out were really struggling to keep the kids interest and get them to participate.
Now DS2, at 2, is showing a lot of interest, clapping the rhythms, and asking where his "biolin" is. I figure we should at least wait until he can get the right number "ippi"s in mississippi
I started my very precocious eldest, who was steeped in Suzuki music due to my teaching, at 3, recognized that she was too young, took a break and restarted at 4.

My next two kids I started around 4 1/2 or 5.

I was pretty sure that 4 1/2 or 5 was the magical starting age and that people who started at 3 were going for Suzuki parenting bonus points rather than taking a child's developmental timetable into account and doing the sensible thing. Sure, 3-year-olds often wanted to play an instrument, but they certainly didn't want to study formally and do the hard work of learning. To pretend otherwise was a delusion, and coping with the lack of fit between a 3-year-old's needs and the structure of formal study would require parental creativity gymnastics and superhuman patience.

Then my fourth child came along. At age 2 3/4 we could no longer hold her back. She wanted the structure of weekly lessons kids in the worst way and she wanted to practice every day. She started with 5-minute lessons but within 6 months was up to almost a full half hour. She practiced eagerly every day and though I thought it was just a honeymoon thing, it's now 2 and a half years later and she's still going strong (except that she just broke her collarbone ... but she's still practicing vibrato, she just can't use her bow).

So hey, I guess, like everything else in parenting, the answer to the best age to start is "it depends."

Miranda

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#17 of 459 Old 05-21-2008, 01:58 PM
 
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That's helpful and consistent with my gut instinct. I'm sure that we started Gus at the right time (4 1/2) although I had a couple doubts if he was mature enough the first month. Huck will have to wait, but he'll be ready!
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#18 of 459 Old 05-22-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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Hi, I'm a mom to a 2 1/2 year old and planned before she was born to put her in Suzuki violin at 3 or 4. So in preparation I began playing the Suzuki CD's in the car and playing my own violin in front of her. Much to my chagrin she begged so much for her own "biolin" and kept picking mine up and playing it that I broke down and got her a rental to try out. So far it's been a month and she still asks to play it every day. I figure it might still be a year or two before she plays twinkle, but she's happy. And if she stops asking to play it after a bit the rental will go back and we'll try again in a year or two.
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#19 of 459 Old 05-23-2008, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Book Revisions - Violin

Anyone familiar with the book revisions? I just picked up a violin book 2, but it looks like the old style cover (white with blue swirls). Haven't these all been revised? My store can't seem to find a revised book, except perhaps one that is packaged with a CD, which we already have and don't need.

Should we stick with the original book or should we return it and buy the book/CD and rehome the CD? Are the revisions in this book fairly significant?

Also, while I was there I snagged a 1/8th rental that seems nice. Label says Aristocrat by Selmer. We've run into some financial surprises that involve DP and the ER (everything's good and it looks like things are going to reattach- yay!), so I was glad to try a few rentals and have some options. Anyone familiar with the quality of this label? All I know is that the tone is night and day different from the 1/10th she's in. And it sounds pretty good to me. I had it in my head we'd buy this time, so now I'm feeling guilty like I'm not going the extra mile. I'm feeling some MG (mama guilt).
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#20 of 459 Old 05-24-2008, 11:38 PM
 
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Anyone familiar with the book revisions? I just picked up a violin book 2, but it looks like the old style cover (white with blue swirls). Haven't these all been revised?
Books 1 & 2 have been revised. The new recordings are very nice, but IMO they aren't enough of an improvement over Nadien/Cerone to warrant replacing the CD. You can definitely purchase the book 2 separately and I think it's worth getting it rather than the old version. The bowings in Musette have been fairly drastically altered, fingerings are different here and there (many more 4th fingers) and there's the inclusion of all sorts of exercises (prep exercises, shifting exercises, intonation exercises, etc.) that really help with solidifying the technique in Book 2. The photos are good too. Much improved, I think.

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#21 of 459 Old 05-24-2008, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Miranda. I'll return the old version.
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#22 of 459 Old 06-02-2008, 07:46 PM
 
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Wanted to correct what I wrote above ... the revised Book 3 is now out, as of about a month ago. The main difference is the inverted bowing in the Bach Gavotte (which is how I've been teaching the piece for years (makes much more sense) and the option of numerous shifts and ornaments in various pieces. Oh, and the note errors in the Bach Bourrée have been corrected so that the piece now matches the viola edition.

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#23 of 459 Old 06-04-2008, 01:40 PM
 
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Wow how cool to see this thread! I'm a professional violinist, I began with the Suzuki method when I was 3 (actually 2 months before my 4th birthday). And now I make my living playing, so there, it can work! I also taught book 1 when I was in high school.

Good for all of you, getting your kids interested in it. It's soooo good for them. My hubby can't wait to start our son (who's 6 months, a little young yet) on something, we don't know what yet.

Oh, I also took Suzuki piano from my mom starting when I was... um... 8, maybe? That didn't work too well because I would argue with her, so she found me another piano teacher. I played for 8 years and finally quit, my focus was more on violin.

Nice to meet y'all!
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#24 of 459 Old 06-07-2008, 12:13 AM
 
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Another Suzuki person here, I started violin at 3 and switched to viola in highschool.

I just started my 4 year old on violin.

I'll write more later but I wanted to say hello
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#25 of 459 Old 06-07-2008, 11:28 AM
 
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Hi there. I am brand new here.

My DD is 4 and we want to start on violin lessons soon. Her grandmother made her the most beautiful violin for her birthday (which she loves to play and knows how to hold correctly). I would love recommendations on how to find a great Suzuki teacher. We're in Lexington, KY

thanks in advance!

Kirsten
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#26 of 459 Old 06-10-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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Hi Kirsten, welcome. Do you mean her grandmother made her a real violin, or a "box violin"? Just curious.

When I grew up (30+ years ago) there was a very strong Suzuki program in Lexington. Kay Collier-Slone who was the renowned 'expert' teacher trainer at dealing with very young pre-Twinklers got her start in that program and many excellent students, including her daughters, whom I grew up playing quartets with at summer institutes, came out of it. I would imagine there's still a sizeable program in your area, though I don't know for sure.

The solution to finding a great Suzuki teacher is to go and observe lessons. All Suzuki teachers should welcome/encourage this enthusiastically as it's a cornerstone of "getting ready" for families, and no teacher worth her salt wants to take on new students who don't fully understand the commitment expected and style of teaching -- before committing. Watch your prospective teacher in individual lessons with students in their first couple of years of study, especially those who are your child's age or just a little older. Feel the chemistry in the room, look for shifts in teaching style that respond to differing needs, and pay attention to how well the children play for their level. Not how advanced they are, but how good they look and sound playing at whatever level they're learning. Attending a recital can give you a good sense of the overall results of the teaching, as well as giving you a glimpse of the flavour of the studio community.

As well, a Suzuki teacher should have SAA-approved teacher training at least up to the Unit 4 level ... and a commitment to ongoing professional development, say, by attending summer institutes and workshops with teacher trainers, etc..

Miranda

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#27 of 459 Old 06-10-2008, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Looking for ideas to help the left hand position.

We have a pretty severe case of guitar thumb going on. I'd like to see DD's had freed up more, the thumb come down a bit and straighten out, and more of a hole down there under the neck (of the violin).

Her wrist looks good and straight - not a lot of pancaking going on. But I'm guessing that her hand is supporting the violin almost completely.

I think her sponge/shoulder rest is inadequate but I don't know. I'm kind of scared to ask her to do the hands-free violin exercises because I have horrible cervial vertebra issues due to years of poor posture.

I should mention she's in a 1/10th and is using a simple gray sponge with rubber bands. I can't see how it's at all comfortable.

Any ideas?
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#28 of 459 Old 06-11-2008, 12:41 AM
 
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Another "grown up" Suzuki kid here---I love seeing posts about the books and tiny violin sizes, it makes me miss playing. I started at 5, and played until I was 16. I loved it dearly, but didn't have the same discipline my peers did, and I became easily frustrated at not being "the best." We attended a Suzuki Instistute in Bristol, Virginia every summer and had such magical times. Good luck everyone who is starting out with it!

Mama to one darling and wild 3 year old, and growing a tiny new June Bean.
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#29 of 459 Old 06-11-2008, 03:18 AM
 
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We're currently "on vacation" from suzuki lessons while the teacher is out of town and we decide where our motivations lie. I am glad to see this tribe here though, and loved seeing the suggestions in the other thread too!

Monica , DH :cop , DD (8) , DS1 (5) , DS2 (2/09) , and the pup
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#30 of 459 Old 06-11-2008, 11:36 AM
 
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I am a violist. I didn't learn with Suzuki method. I learned traditionally on viola. When I started teaching, about 12 years ago, I had to use Suzuki books and since then I've become familiar with the method, teaching lots of violin. I teach a mix of Suzuki and traditional teaching. My baby is not here yet but I definitely plan on starting her when she's 3 years old if she's ready. I'm glad to see this thread. I also think about becoming certified as a Suzuki teacher.
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