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My only grandson will turn three in a month or so. Three is about the age at which one can start Suzuki lessons on the violin. He shows a very keen interest in music and I am hoping to foster that. This weekend I found and bought a very lightly used 1/16 Franz Hoffman Maestro violin (made in Romania) in perfect shape that he can use for lessons. I think that violin is about two steps above what a music store might rent for a student violinist. I think that newer models of the Franz Hoffman Maestro are all now made in China, and I think that one can no longer find a Maestro in the 1/16th size. I think that when manufacturing went to China, they stopped making the 1/16th size.
I don't really know where I'm going with all of this. My grandson's parents are busy professionals who do not get enough time with their child as it is, so I'm trying to take the lead to get the ball rolling in getting his violin lessons. I get to see him a lot (one or two times a week, full days) while they are working, so I thought that one of the things I could do is to help out with the classes and the lessons. The parents are all for him taking lessons (Suzuki or otherwise), but I don't know how committed they can be to the whole program with their work and home schedules, so I am ready to step in.
One of the things that I saw with the Suzuki program is that they expect the parents of the student to rent a full size violin during the first few weeks of the program--I think they call it the PreTwinkle stage. But a very strange thing is happening. I'm thinking about buying myself a full size instrument and learning it with--and practicing with--my grandson. Is this crazy? I had a semester of violin in music when I was in junior high school in 1959. I remember nothing but that I really didn't do very well. Bit since that time my tastes in music have drastically changed towards classical music. And now that I have the time, I want to learn the violin too.
A few questions:
Suzuki or traditional instructions? We live very close to the Eastman School of Music, and there are lots of violin teachers available, and we also are close to the Hochstein School of Music which have the Suzuki programs.
Can a grandparent be effective in progressing the musical training of a grandchild?
What to do, what to do?
Welcome to the madness that we call "violin".
It sounds like your grandson is headed for Suzuki? I would think that if you are looking to join them in the plunge, you might want to go with that as well. That way at least the early steps would be something the two of you could enjoy sharing and having some quality time with.
Suzuki vs traditional, you have likely already noted there is a lot of debate on which is better for assorted reasons. So far as I have ever been able to tell, the jury is still out on that debate. But if you start with the same stuff as your grandson is doing, I think that just sounds like fun. You could always switch a few months in, if you find you personally don't care for Suzuki or if traditional seems more your cup of tea.
I say "for a few months" because most likely by that time the two of you will not be at exactly the same stage of development anymore. No two musicians will be, since we all learn some things slower and some things more quickly and so we all progress at our own pace.
But as something to start together, I think the idea has great potential for fun and some memorable quality time. A great adventure.
Besides, you want one of these wonderful toys too. And why not? I'd say "Jump in and have some fun."
"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman
@srogers This is similar to how I got started!! Except my son-in-law was not keen on the idea. My daughter wanted it to happen but was way too tired after working, she is a preschool special ed teacher. Twelve students with 12 different types of issues autism, behavioral, physical, emotional, etc. She is amazing and not paid enough that is for sure!!
Anyway, I borrowed my son's violin for a few months. My son bought a small violin for my grandson because eventually he wants it as wall art.
Then I lucked out big time!! A friend gave me a 1930-40 violin that was in their family. No one played the violin and she wanted a good home for it.
My grandson at around 3 1/2 and I started taking lessons every other month with my son's Teach from some 20 years ago. She mentioned that no matter how early a child starts it is not until around age 4 that they can begin to twinkle. Which has been true in our case. I have taken 5 lessons, grandson 3 lessons.
My grandson has been a bit stubborn about the whole thing. He will pick up the violin about once a week. I do think that if Mom or Dad were playing he might be a bit more interested.
In the mean time I have gone completely NUTS over the violin!!
Violinist start date - May 2013
Fiddler start date - May 2014
FIDDLE- Gift from a dear friend. A 1930-40 german copy, of a french copy of a Stradivarius. BOW - $50 carbon fiber. Strings - Dominants with E Pirastro Gold string.
I hope you enjoy violin with your grandson for many many years. Welcome to the forum. Nice to see you here. It sounds like you have good info to introduce the violin to this sweet little guy. HOW FUN!!!!
Now a shameless blather about my grand daughter.
I am Toni. I have a Grand daughter that is a bit over 2.5. I started violin just after she was born. I never gave it a thought as to whether she would play or not.
She played with my violin at one years old.. on my lap, on the floor. She is very interested. It has been a fun thing to do at Nana's house.
She was gifted a small violin, it is still to small for her. I put the violin away... I may play violin around her but I don't have hers available unless she asks.
Well lately She asks. "where is Abby's violin"... and she is very good each week to remember one little tiny detail over the next week. Such as twisting the bow to tighten. She wants to put a little rosin. She wants to wipe it down. About 6 months ago she decided she wanted to put it under her neck. She didn't like it before, but then she just wanted it under her chin. So now she lifts her little neck.. so very cute and she now has to hold the frog with her thumb tucked. (freakin' adorable)
We play twinkle with her standing in front of me or on my lap with her little violin. I bow and finger it and she bows with me and sings. The last two weeks she has taken to having me play with her in a jam session... she is bowing and holding on her own (her idea, not mine). She is very attentive to exactly what I am doing.. She sings and looks to me for direction. She will bow with the song of course on the wrong strings. And she is smart enough to say.. "Abby's violin doesn't play twinkle" Meaning she can't play it yet. I have no doubt that she will be playing it sometime in the next year or so.
Either way we just have fun. If she wants lessons later I will get them for her someday. 🙂
It is a truly awesome thing to share with a wee one. I didn't not have this experience with my own children as I didn't know anything about music. My daughter had flute lessons for a few years..but I never heard her play.. which means she didnt' practice. ha ha.
Anyway.. ramble ramble...
Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato
Thanks to all for the kind and encouraging responses. Today the hygrometer from my grandson's violin arrived and my wife and my other daughter who is not the mother of my grandson informed me that I was going overboard with the little 1/16 violin I bought for my grandson. I told them that they hadn't seen anything yet as the humidifier and the tuner are due to arrive soon, and then I made the big announcement to expect a full size violin soon and that I was going to learn the violin as well and be my grandson's practice buddy. They think I'm nuts, but I need something else besides programming Windows and little micro-controllers to do in my retirement.
So I'm looking for a nice 4/4 violin for myself. I know I'll never be great, but if I can learn to play a few ditties fairly well, I'll be happy.
I looked at some of the videos here on the site. In one, Fiddlerman was showing how to tune a violin and was saying stuff like "perfect fifth" on the video, and saying it like every one should know what that meant--but I didn't. So I decided to Google "perfect fifth"--and oh my God--what a lot of math there is behind music. It's kind of complex. What I learned from that was that when I go to a concert at the Eastman Theater, and I hear the orchestra tuning up, I and always thought that the string players were tuning only a single string and at time when you hear those tuning sounds. I learned that they must be playing adjacent strings simultaneously to see if any one string is out of tune by listening for dissonance.
I have a math and a computer science background and I'll be trying to learn what it all means. It's like a new world of adventure that I've never been down before.