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Hi, I am new to the forum, and I am the mother of a 7 year old who is in her second year of lessons. The first year, she was taught be a young musician who had a degree in music and played in a band. She was great. My daughter learned the pieces very quickly and the instructor felt that she had great potential and even suggested that she may be able to play on a competitive level at some point. She said she had a great ear and surpassed all of her students in terms of learning the pieces. They used the Suzuki 1 book. We moved over the summer and had to get a new teacher. We have been with the new instructor for 6 weeks now and she has not learned any new pieces at all. The entire time has been spent on him instructing her on how to hold the violin and bow technique. My husband thinks the instructor is being too anal. My question is, how do we identify a good teacher and how should we judge whether or not he is doing the right thing by focusing so much on technique or just being too anal. The method is strictly suzuki I might add. Her previous teacher used the suzuki method but also incorporated other methods as well. Thanks for your response and time.
If you are not happy with the teacher, and especially if your child isn't happy with the teacher, then I think you owe it to your child and yourself to at least talk with another teacher. See if you can find one where you like their attitude and manner better, and where they will work towards what progress you and your child feel comfortable with.
Teachers are NOT all created equal. Some are definitely better than others.
"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
1. How did you find the new teacher? What is his/her background? What was your first impression of him/her?
2. Does your daughter absolutely make no progress at all during the last six weeks?
Little progress and no progress are different. Disired progress and actual progress are different.
3. Did your daughter stop taking lessons and/or stop practicing for a few weeks between the first teacher and second teacher?
My daughter hardly practice during July and August because we were on trips and out of country for a while. When she finally settle down again, she complained a lot about pain in shoulders, fingers, wrists, because she needed to regain strength again. Her teacher had to show her bow hold and violin hold again as well. For the first few weeks she was working on her bow hold and violin hold as well as reviewing her last piece. when she began to learn a new piece, she only learn about two or three new measures each week, which was at a much slower pace --unlike the past. Could this be similar to what your daughter is going through? BTW, my daughter is almost seven, learning through Suzuki method, at the end of book one (she would have finished book one if we didn't travel during summer).
4. Does your daughter like the new teacher?
Make sure you don't discuss about her teacher in front of her.
If you all don't like the teacher, a change of teacher may be better off. However, some time it takes time to like another person. Most of all, teachers all have their own teaching style, some stress on going through pieces like her first teacher, some stress the basic like playing the scales, arpeggios, etc. like her current teacher (pls read post 20 on this thread) https://fiddlerman.com/forum/learning-to-play/do-i-need-a-teacher/
When you switch a teacher it takes time to get use to the new teacher, especially if you really like the first teacher.
5. Do you still have contact with her first teacher?
if you do, ask for his/her opinion and if he/she has suggestion/recommendation for a new teacher in your area.
Talk to your new teacher tactfully, let him/her know that your daughter needs a little more motivation than learning bow hold and violin hold, even though your daughter may not have a perfect bow hold or violin hold, she could still move on to keep her interest go on; she is too young to focus on "dry" things and still stays interested.
Like the FM suggestion, find another teacher and see which one you like better.
I find that all to often teachers only try to get a student through something and on to the next item without focusing on the little things. I have never taught violin but have taught horseback riding. I had a student who told me her other teacher said she was so good but never won a class. We, myself and my daughter, found that she was never taught the fundementals but only taught to hang on over a fence. We had to bring this student back to the beginning an reteach her everything from her seat to leg commands. The student was amazed to find that a horse could be ridden without reins and your feet not being in the stirrup. At the end of the summer we put this student into a show with 25 other kids and she won 2nd place.
What I'm getting at is, is her new teacher trying to perfect maybe her bow hold and her hold of the violin? Talk to the teacher and find out what his plans are and his reasons behind his plans.
The focus of Suzuki is not to play the pieces but to learn the skills to play the pieces. Some teachers teach Suzuki just like any other method and not necessarily the way it was intended. Children especially feel accomplishment by completing the number of songs rather than completing a song as perfectly as possible. Some instructors wont let any slight imperfection slip, very "meticulous" is a nicer word for it. ha ha. I myself allow a couple of tunes on a particular skill level for variety, nothing wrong with that. But, form, technique, tone, etc if thats not on point there is no reason to move forward. On average Ive heard that it can take 8 months to 2 years to complete book 1. So, did your daughter learn all the songs or did she complete the book and learn all the skills, big difference.
"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.
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