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  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-07-2013 09:28 AM

Very excited to discover this thread!


We're currently looking for a Suzuki piano teacher for my 4 y/o dd. We tried the traditional method / teacher, but they started right away with reading music - one of her homeworks was to trace the treble clef, and she can barely scribble her own name. Not to mention that I have absolutely no knowledge of music, so I couldn't help her at all with her practice.


At least with the Suzuki method I can attend the lessons and learn with her. So I ordered the book and CD and hopefully we'll start in January. She talk about playing the piano, I think she misses it.


Another thing: we don't have a piano at home :o. We were practicing on a small keyboard.


I have some questions for mamas of piano players: how do you help out with practice if you don't play the instrument yourself? (Or do you have any advice for me?)

And where did you buy your piano? We won't be able to buy a new one, but as we don't know anything about pianos, how do I make sure that the used ones are in working order?


I have been thinking of buying a keyboard, but I've read a lot of negative comments about them, especially from Suzuki teachers, so I wouldn't want to buy one, then having to buy a piano anyways.


I would also like to mention that ds also started Suzuki guitar when he was 4 and we had a very positive experience with the program.

04-04-2013 04:36 AM
Greenmama2 Yes, she did. After trying a 1/4 in her lesson it was obvious that a 1/8 wouldn't last long so we borrowed the 1/4 for a week to be certain. It's all fine now smile.gif
04-03-2013 12:27 PM
MichelleZB So you skipped from a tenth to a quarter? That might be why it took longer to adjust!

As long as he can bow to the tip without locking his elbow, it's an ok size.
04-02-2013 04:20 PM
Greenmama2 She is fine now after two weeks. She borrowed a 1/4 from her teacher before we decided but I think it was perhaps it was a little lighter than the one we ended up buying and yes, she started on a 1/16 & moved to a 1/10 at almost five. We also bought a new shoulder rest but her teacher felt it wasn't deep enough for her shoulder so she is back to her old one. As for her size, she dances & is currently taking extra classes with 9 turning 10 year olds with no noticeable height difference. There is definitely some bow on highway attention needed, but her fingers are actually better as her 1/10 was really far too small.
03-27-2013 10:37 AM
Originally Posted by Greenmama2 View Post

My 6 year old has just jumped up to a 1/4 size violin & is working through the minuets in book 1. Her progress is slow as she gets used to her new fiddle & we are keeping her practice sessions very short at the moment.

How long has she been on the quarter? Has she changed sizes before? Does the quarter fit her properly? (It seems a mighty big size for a 6-year-old, but obviously I can't see her!) The reason I ask is that in my experience with my own four kids who have grown through a total of probably twenty different size-changes, it's never taken more than a few days for them to adjust. As a teacher I've found similarly: I'll give the go-ahead to change sizes at one lesson and by the next lesson the kids and I have often pretty much forgotten the issue of adjusting. Sometimes there's a bit of 4th finger or bow-on-highway attention that needs to be given, but it's pretty self-limiting.

If it's been more than a week or so and your dd is still feeling like the new violin is requiring some significant adjustment, perhaps it's either too big or needs some adjustments (chin rest, shoulder pad, bridge curve, eg.) to work well for her. Does her teacher have any suggestions?

03-27-2013 06:28 AM
Greenmama2 Ooh, I'm glad this thread has been resurrected. My 6 year old has just jumped up to a 1/4 size violin & is working through the minuets in book 1. Her progress is slow as she gets used to her new fiddle & we are keeping her practice sessions very short at the moment. My three year old has just started Suzuki piano. He likes it but isn't too enthused about practicing yet.
03-26-2013 11:31 AM
MichelleZB Yes: I have some advice! Take it a day at a time, and just do your best.

I have started listening to the recordings and doing now holds with my toddler. Good times!
03-26-2013 11:31 AM
MichelleZB Yes: I have some advice! Take it a day at a time, and just do your best.

I have started listening to the recordings and doing now holds with my toddler. Good times!
03-25-2013 04:13 PM

Hi!  I just found this thread and am not up to reading 450 posts.  So, here's a quick intro.

My older DS, 6, has been playing Suzuki Piano for about 2 years now.  He's got Go Tell Aunt Rhodie down.  He's at group class right now as a matter of fact.  He's also learning Iron Man, or at least part of it.  He's REALLY excited about that.  

02-01-2013 01:43 PM

Hi all! We're hopefully starting my son on suzuki in a few weeks. 
He's only 3 but he literally begs me daily to learn how to play the violin. I'm not expecting miracles, but if he loves it, then I'll be happy. I played for years but never learned suzuki. 

Any advice on getting started with a really young kiddo? :) I'm SUPER excited. 

01-14-2013 12:09 PM
jgale Pickle, sorry to hear you had such a hard experience with Suzuki before. I feel like in our house practice sessions often have the potential to turn horribly contentious and I think because I have been reluctant to engage in fights and battles with my kids that they have not progressed very quickly (
01-10-2013 05:43 AM

I'm about to start Suzuki violin with my four year old daughter. I'm also enrolling my 7 year old son in conventional piano lessons. I was a good horn player through college, but didn't start any sort of lesson until horn lessons in 6th grade (and I started piano in 8th--way too late), and I can see how it held me back, so I want to give my kids the opportunity to be good musicians should they choose.My daughter has been actively asking to play violin (my preference would have been piano since we already have one and I have some clue about to play that!). I have no idea what to expect. I was so glad to find this thread!

01-04-2013 01:07 PM
Super Pickle

Hi, all. I'm glad to see this thread. I am about to start Suzuki violin with my 4 year old daughter. My older two boys started at ages 7 and 4 but we quit after a miserable 3 years because of a teacher mismatch and because i decided that the stress and the conflict that it brought into our family just wasn't worth it. The younger one hasn't touched a violin since (he takes traditional piano lessons, though); the older one tried out some different workshops and classes and eventually settled on laid-back traditional lessons at our house.  We love our  new teacher who comes to our house and she can't wait to start the Suzuki method with DD next week.  


What would you all say are the essential ingredients for success in the program? I'm worried about my track record, my past "failure" as a Suzuki parent. On one hand, I feel like I failed because I let my kids drop out; on the other hand I feel I failed because i let the agony drag on for so long before I freed them.. I also feel like I failed because it was not an enjoyable experience and it was detrimental to our relationships, when I had been told it would deepen our relationship and build my children's character. It took a lot of healing after we quit to restore peace to our family.  We won't be in the same program as before, so the stress of running around town right after school twice a week and being overscheduled will be eliminated; however, I am still wondering if practicing will pose the same problems. My boys started out enjoying practicing, but it turned into a daily conflict. If you have truly enjoyed the process, and you can honestly say that it has enhanced your relationship with your child, what do you think you did to nurture that? Why might I have been successful in other areas of parenting but not in music study? Thanks for your time and advice.

09-15-2012 01:11 PM
jgale Thanks for the role call suggestion. I have a ds 8 who has done non-Suzuki piano for 3 years. It has been a total slog for the past year and after taking the summer off he is adamant that he doesn't want to continue. I would really like him to continue with an instrument and when I asked him what he'd like to play he said "French horn". I think that's a terrible idea because he has a fairly low frustration threshold but we live in Philadelphia where lessons in every instrument are available so we're going on Tuesday to meet with the registration coordinator at the settlement music school to discuss lessons

I have a dd6 who has been doing Suzuki flute since she was 3. She is in book one. Her teacher is taking the fall off so we will be checking out the flute offerings for her at settlement as well.

I also have a dd 3 who has been doing Suzuki flute for a year. She had learned to 'toot' on her sister's flute with totally incorrect mouth position so she basically spent the year trying to undo a bad habit. She has a tough personality and I wish we had waited until she was older to start an instrument. I may sign her up for a group fun class this fall if there is one available during her siblings' lessons

I also have a 15 month old and work 36 hours a week as a midwife (funny-2 midwives in this group!).

I find getting the practicing done a challenge!
09-06-2012 12:04 PM

Miranda, I sometimes find myself desperate for that speed of lifestyle...  multiple orchestra rehearsals, and our church does Messiah every other year, guess what, this is the year, etc. and we hurtle madly toward the holiday season with concerts, now fundraising for school orchestra, etc. etc. ad infinitum and we all are basically a wreck by Dec. 15th.  But I asked DD1 what she would do if she wasn't busy, and she said, I'd be bored.  Shrug.  What can we do.  I wish she could ride her bike to the HS; but we're too far by a bit.  I'm excited that tomorrow afternoon we have no activities at all.  Of course, I could get called to a birth...  :)

08-31-2012 10:57 PM

Fun to see this thread active again.


I have four Suzuki kids, was a Suzuki student myself, my mom a Suzuki teacher. I teach part-time myself. My sister and one brother are Suzuki teachers. My poor kids: they come by it honestly. All that rich Suzuki heritage aside, we live in a very rural area with no teachers nearby. My training is limited and my kids have been unwilling to work with me beyond age 11 or so. Things have changed in the past couple of years. My mom is moving back to her home town and will no longer be able to teach my kids. The senior kids have moved on. Living here my kids don't have much musically to inspire and sustain them. It's mostly just their mom... and them.


Dd18 is four days from starting her BMus in violin performance. She's working on the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and the Paganini Caprices. She's amazing. She was basically self-taught from age 13 onwards, until this past year when she moved across the country to get regular lessons with a qualified teacher. Her ability just soared, and I'm sure in a university environment it'll continue along its current trajectory.


Ds15 is languishing teacher-less for the second year in a row. He's an advanced violist with musicality that just pours out of him, but although his heart is in music, he doesn't have the work ethic to match. So it's really impossible to justify the time and money it would cost to get him lessons. 


Dd13 is teacher-less for the first time this year. She's a violinist, just barely post-Book-8. Her motivation has really suffered the past couple of years  and her progress has stalled. She has been on and off with lessons for the past year, even with my mom here. Now it's off for good.


Dd9 is teacher-less now as well but she and I work reasonably well together, so I can continue to guide her. She's working on Meditation from Thais and beginning Suzuki book 7. She's also begun picking up viola, is working on alto clef reading, learning the Telemann Double at the end of viola Book 4. She's reasonably self-motivated right now. But other than her siblings, she's the most advanced string player by far around here (the other dozen are Books 1-4, mostly 1-2) so I think she may have a tough time as her older siblings' commitment to their music wanes. 


I'm feeling a little sad about our prospects for the future here. The kids' musical lives would have been so much different if we'd lived somewhere that they'd had access to teachers at their level, other students at similar levels, youth orchestras, chamber music, etc. etc.. I'm sure they would be totally immersed in music, progressing like crazy, happy as heck to have that community. During summer institutes that's what it's like ... they truly wish life could be a Suzuki institute, or at least include teachers, and orchestra and other music kids. But it can't. :(



08-31-2012 08:04 AM
Roll call is a great idea! I'd love to see this thread become more active. And wow Bekka, I will never complain again about having three kids doing different things. :-)
My 16yo is a rock n roll drummer so he doesn't count. ;-) He is doing jazz band at school this year for the first time. It is an amazing program and I'm very excited for him. I practiced with him ONCE, btw. Following the drum score was BY FAR the hardest thing, musically, that I've ever done in my life.
My 13yo daughter started Suzuki violin at age 6. Right now she is working on de Beriot Concerto in A minor (ugh! octaves!), Kreutzer & Schradiek, some unaccompanied Bach. Currently our biggest struggles are over her increasing independence. Which she does not want. She would rather have me tell her what & how to practice so that she can get mad at me, kwim?
My 9yo son also does Suzuki violin. He is just finishing up book 3. He also works out of Wohlfahrt & Schradiek, Barbara Barber bk 1, Dolflein, etc. With him the biggest struggle is getting him to slow down and CARE about details. He has a lot of native ability (perfect pitch, huge hands, loves to perform, etc.) but he is also ADHDish and I still have to remind him to keep his pinky on the stick. Frequently.
I grew up in a musical family but knew nothing about the Suzuki philosophy until my daughter and I stumbled into it. Our lives totally revolve around it now, and I know I am a way better parent because of it. The small fortune we pay for lessons? It is a tithe.
08-31-2012 05:27 AM

The biggest fun is that my 14 year old can critique the playing on the Suzuki CDs by David Cerone or the other guy (Preucil?).  She especially hates the non-emotive versions of Romantic era pieces.

08-31-2012 05:25 AM

We could rollcall or something!  :)


I have a 14 year old daughter playing in Book 6 Suzuki violin, also working on Meditation from Thais and Fandango, who also does Scottish fiddling for fun and composes.  She's in the regional youth orchestra intermediate level and the advanced orchestra in school.


I also have a non-Suzuki 12 year old dd playing piano (conventional) and trombone (school).


My son, age 8, tried Suzuki violin and it was a poor match for him.  He started "laid back" guitar a couple of years ago to good effect and we're sad his teacher moved to Jordan.  The Suzuki guitar program didn't sound like a good fit for him.


My 6 year old dd is in Suzuki book 1 violin working on May Song.  The bow distribution is giving her fits.


My 3 year old vacilates between wanting to play violin and playing flute (I found a teacher trained in Suzuki flute who doesn't have a studio right now; but I would love to get her to teach my little one when she is ready).


I am a student midwife right now, and being a book 1 Suzuki parent again is hard with 4 kids in public schools and a totally variable schedule.  The minor blessing is that dd1 can help with her practices.  Basically we do what we can.  DD 1 started at age 3; dd3 started at age 5 b/c I wasn't ready sooner.  Pretty much, we're trying to hang in there based on tuition; we've got a big tuition bill each month...  It's tough.  But she figured out a one octave scale all by herself and she's really motivated, so it was good timing and she is thriving.


That's what's going on musically here.  We're a Suzuki and non-Suzuki family.  I found with my own kids that the best teachers aren't always the Suzuki ones, and even the good ones don't always mesh with kids of certain personalities.  :)

07-25-2012 10:32 AM

I'm happy to see this tribe, although it hasn't been active for awhile! My husband and I are violinists by trade and started with the Suzuki method. Now we teach it! Good times.


Feel free to ask if you have violin-related questions. We'll be doing Suzuki with our son, who is now 7 months. So far, we're just listening to the recordings!

05-26-2012 04:14 AM

Any body from MDC going to Matsumoto Japan for the International Conference next year?

12-14-2011 01:10 PM

Hi Miranda,


Sounds like very wise advice.  I appreciate it.  We have participated in a few group events outside our teachers community and I am quite on board with your thoughts.  I was hoping for a fun setting with a couple hours of pretwinkler events per day.  & obviously not solid hours.  I noticed a pretwinkler 1/2 day summer camp which seemed fine.  Just the local area seemed a bit blah for finding outside entertainments.


Thanks again for your input.

12-14-2011 12:51 PM

We have a lovely institute in our little town (not practical for you -- we're near the west coast and in Canada) but as the institute co-director who has watched many pre-Twinks pass through our program over the years, I just wanted to offer a few words of caution.


We offer a pre-Twinkler program for younger siblings of older students and local kids only. Because it seems almost cruel to have them here observing all this amazing music-making and Suzuki learning and to not allow them to participate. The pre-Twinkler program includes two core hours a day: a shared master class with three other students and a music enrichment class. The master class involves sharing an hour of mostly-individualized instruction with three other young students. The music enrichment class varies but recently it has been either percussion / rhythmic improv or movement / dance. Then there are all the additional things ... large-group play-ins, recitals to observe and participate in, social events -- usually an hour or two a day of optional but worthy events.


The thing is this: it's pretty intense for these kids. Many of them struggle to cope with it. It's a big deal for a 4-year-old to be immersed in new class formats with teachers and children and parents and expectations (of quiet observation) that are new to them. The large group events can be tiring and overwhelming. Some kids find it difficult to quickly establish a working relationship with a new teacher in the master class and aren't willing to participate fully, or even at all. The different pace and energy of the group classes can be hard for them to cope with -- even just small differences from what they're used to in their home program. Being away from home in new living circumstance, or commuting every day, eats away at their emotional reserves. 


Not that an institute can't be a worthwhile experience for young children. My youngest participated as a 4-year-old and enjoyed herself a lot. But don't under-estimate the emotional and social challenges and the toll that will take on your little one. 



12-13-2011 10:18 AM

Hi Everyone


I have a pretwinkler who will be 4 this summer and I was looking for a suzuki summer institute/camp that is good for pretwinklers.  I am in the nj ny pa area but I would be up for a longer car ride if the program was well established.  Anyone have any suggestions,  I am not even sure what a good pretwinkler camp would consist of....  His teacher works with an institute but not many pretwinklers as far as i can tell, so I would rather research before asking the teacher, if that makes sense. 


Thanks for any help!

08-25-2011 04:06 PM
cynthia mosher



Hi everyone! 


We have a new feature that allows forum members to create "clubs" of their own that have many of the same benefits of a forum, including multiple threads, a member's list, and group messaging. All tribes are invited to switch from the one-long-thread here in FYT to the new Social Groups. You can read more about it hereLet me know if you have any questions but please post to that thread so I can keep everything in one place. smile.gif


08-22-2011 10:10 AM

So separate from my update, I just wanted to get some opinions/ideas. DD1 has decided she wants a violin jam session birthday party.  I am at a loss as to how to organize a jam session for her birthday party--should I find some easy to read music for 4 violins or something like that?  We can manage a music themed cake, etc., but how do you make a jam session attractive to other music students who might be at about a Suzuki book 2 level?  I'd appreciate any ideas!  :)

08-22-2011 10:08 AM

The biggest issue with multiple children playing instruments in different families is that their music interests are all over the board.  As I said, dd1, 12, went to a non-Suzuki strings institute that focused on group playing.  She worked in quartet all week, and made a friend cellist, and was frustrated with the 7th grade aged boys... but the ensemble came together anyway.  :)  The chamber-sized orchestra (about 35 people) did great to play Eine Kleine, and some other wonderful stuff.  DD1 also moved up from the strings ensemble to the youth concert orchestra, so in 3 weeks she will start those rehearsals as well!


I am going to be entering a new world with having my oldest almost done with book 5, and starting my 5 year old as a PreTwinkler.  My 2 year old also has a foot chart and we're practicing rhythms and listening semi-regularly and will be improving on our "routine" after school starts.  I was not going to try to start another child at age 4; at this point for my other children and my patience level I need them to be older.


So I have a violinist, dd2, 11, is a pianist and a new trombonist in band, ds, '7, is doing very casual guitar lessons and likes it, and dd3, 5, will be a preTwinkler and dd4, 2, will be a pre-pre-pre Twinkler.  :)  Busy. :)  Maybe our Institute will work for our family in 2012.

08-16-2011 11:18 AM

We completed our annual (local) Suzuki instititute a week and a half ago. It was odd not having my eldest around being part of it -- she was off doing non-Suzuki musical things this summer. And several other members of her cohort of advanced students had also moved on, so the next bunch of kids became more senior and thrived in their new roles.


Dd8 moved up to the advanced orchestra and the advanced group/technique class this year. Ours is a small institute, and she only barely made the cut for the advanced level groups (Books 6-10+). The kids were mostly a fair bit older but she's a focused, mature thing, so I figured she'd be fine. She did some good preparatory work for the orchestra and coped well with the demanding repertoire. Group class ended up focusing a lot on advanced bowing techniques like spiccato, sautillé and ricochet. She had just moved up to a nice hand-me-down quarter-sized violin about three weeks before and I hadn't really appreciated how cheap the bow was until I tried to use it myself to figure out how to advise her about the bowing exercises. It was a fibreglass clunker completely incapable of bouncing -- maybe a $40 bow. Totally useless, and she was really floundering in the class as a result. Fortunately the luthier in residence had a much better bow in stock. A couple of hundred dollars later she was doing and pretty passable quadruple ricochet and getting the hang of sautillé.


Dd12 played second violin opposite her brother in a two-viola quintet (the Mozart g minor), as part of the Advanced Chamber Music program. She was socially very much like a teenager amongst that group of awesome young musicians, fitting in beautifully and enjoying the mileu. She was in the advanced orchestra and group technique class and had a very productive master class with a teacher she got along well with. She performed the Monti Csardas on recital and did a great job. She loved being out and about during the days and the evenings, having a full social life and a busy musical schedule.


Ds14 was also in the thick of things socially as part of the Advanced Chamber Music program and although he would have loved to have his elder sister around to be part of the whole thing, in some ways it was fabulous for him to be able to shine a little brighter as a musician and as a smart, funny, compassionate and increasingly adult-like young person. He is playing just beautifully and actually worked hard on his solo viola repertoire during the week, with motivation left over to carry him forward. He has really struggled with motivation for the past couple of years, so this was nice to see. He had a wonderful affinity for his master class teacher and made some really great strides with his Schubert Arpeggione Sonata.


Now we're planning for fall. Dd17 is moving away to study music and has things pretty well organized. Unfortunately she is not happy with her violin. We bought it four years ago for a little under $3k. It has some set-up issues that are very finicky and none of the luthiers who have looked at it have been able to permanently solve them. I have a feeling that within a year we'll have to take the plunge for a new and much more expensive instrument. She's at a totally different level now. Coincidentally she will be studying with the wife of a very fine violin maker ... who crafts the kind of instrument that would make a good "forever violin" for my girl. But ouch, the cost! We'll see.


Ds14 outrgrew the region's viola teaching some time ago (slim pickings!), so we're faced with driving 7-8 hours for his lessons once a month or so. We used to take him along with his highly committed, hard-working older sister, but now that she's moving away, it will be just for him. Currently he's practicing very hard, easily enough to justify all the driving. We'll have to see if it lasts. He and I will be playing in a small-town symphony four hours from home again this year -- four programs over four different weekends, with a bunch of second-string professionals brought in and or two student musicians (i.e. ds). It'll be good for him to get the reading and orchestral experience.



08-15-2011 09:29 PM

We just got home from Institute last night.  We came home to a boatload of b.s., and it makes me long for a life at Institute!  I'm always sad to reenter the outside world, and the transition is even more extreme this year.   


It's so gratifying to see my kids grow so much in one week.  My son played in orchestra for the first time.  It was HARD for him at the beginning of the week, but he finished the week with a sense of accomplishment.  When their informal concert was over he said, "I want to do that again!"  My daughter was on the younger side of her Technique Class.  That was her challenging class, and it turned out to be her favorite, too.


It amazes me how all of their pieces are better in their practice now, even the pieces that they didn't play in their classes last week.  Tonight she played Perpetual Motion so nicely!  I hadn't heard either of her group classes play that, and none of the kids in her A class worked on that piece.  I asked my daughter if they had played that piece when her Dad took her to her Rep class.  They hadn't.  So then I asked how it had improved so much since last week.  She said, "It's because I play it in my head!"    


I just renewed my SmartMusic subscription today.  While we were at Institute I realized that my kids are missing out by not playing with the accompaniments often.  I love the adjustable tempo feature on SmartMusic.  The synth sound, not so much, but I guess I can give a little there.  My download didn't work right earlier, so I'm going to go try again. 


BTW - did you all know that SAA members get a 15% discount on their SmartMusic subscriptions.  Associate members get the discount, too.  You can get the quarterly SAA journal AND a SmartMusic subscription for just $65 (or $60 if you have 10 families join with a Studio subscription). 

08-07-2011 01:14 PM

No institute for us this year.  Dd is going to a kids' only strings Institute starting TOMORROW which means I have to drive everyone in the car to take her an hour away in rush traffic.  Maybe won't be too bad; we're hopeful.


DD3 is 5 now, and is very interested in violin; we are planning on starting her with our studio's Pretwinkle class in Sept.  She's done a few baby lessons with her sister.  It will be like starting over again, very strange in many ways!  I have resisted for quite some time; I really needed to be done with some stuff in my life.  My littlest also is interested; she is 2 1/2 and very receptive.  We are playing Book 1 CD and dd1 is part of the play-practice (over there singing "mississippi hot-dog!"  We have foot charts ready to go!  Honestly, I have only done Institute with an almost end of book 1 student and more advanced; not sure I can justify the expense for a Twinkler.

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