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I see that he is learning Suzuki. Have you read Suzukis' book?
I highly recommend Suzukis book to truly understand the philosophy behind the method. The teacher may not even be using Suzukis' methods, just the books. Thats not fun, but I have no way of knowing.
Did you know that the method teaches private lessons aren't "private" and actually consist of several (4ish) students all learning together? This constitutes a Group and occasionally (weekly) all the Groups get together to play together?
You cant make him anything, he has to want it. If he doesnt want it you have to use psychology to allow him to decide he wants it.
If he doesn't enjoy the Violin have you asked him what he wants to do? Perhaps he needs a fun Fiddle camp or something not quite so stuffy as classical as a change?
I am not bagging on his teacher by the way, God knows I am not qualified to judge someone else but....
I enjoy the method and Hunters Chorus is a fun song to learn for sure. I know learning should be fun and positive. It should be challenging and offer creative outlets.
She seems nice, I hope she doesnt play piano at every lesson. Teacher should watch sometime, lol. -Pfish.
"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.
Let him listen to a lot of rockin' fiddle players/violinists. If he listens to the really good, fun, and exciting stuff all the time, then he'll be excited to try and be like them someday if he practices. That's what I did, anyway. Also, let him play what he wants to play, and try not to just stick to what the book says to play. I started off playing Suzuki, and while it does teach a lot of good stuff, I believe that it also leaves out other good information. So, try differnt stuff- maybe try learning songs by ear off recordings or from the Internet.
Anyway, just some thoughts.... I hope he keeps it up! The violin is a great talent to have.
Hi /Privet everyone,
I do feel like Suzuki is pretty heavy...also the songs are kind of long and we end up working on them forever because his teacher wants him to get everything right before he moves on. I appreciate that, but it's KILLLING ME because it's sooooo awful to listen to the kid work on Hunter's Chorus and Witch's Dance for months on end. Like I get that his bow hand thumb needs to be bent...but can we learn a new song anyway?
At our last lesson I made it a point to request from our teacher some fiddle music...and she did. he LOVES it. Like he got out his violin on his own and actually played it a couple of times today. Double stops and 16th notes and a harmonic at the end and all. Thank you, Old Joe Clark.
Can I just say that he should be working on several songs simultaneously. Suzuki is set up (if done right) to work on three songs at a time. One you are fine tuning and perfecting, one you are just getting the hang of, and one you are just beginning. Also, its preferred that the student practice as etudes the difficult parts of upcoming songs well before actually attempting the tune. Additionally, listening to the music "ad nauseum" before actually attempting the tune is recommended and very helpful. Unfortunately many teachers use the repetoire but not the actual teaching techniques.
Its my goal to bring an actual Suzuki studio to Brevard County eventually and let people experience what it could be. Learning should and can be fun. It can be something he loves and unfortunately in the wrong hands something he can certainly hate. I hope you can read some of his books, they are so informative.
"Please play some wrong notes, so that we know that you are human" - said to Jascha Heifetz.
I totally agree with Jakefiddle and Naska. Maybe it's time to find another teacher with a different method of teaching.
Suzuki's original intent was to build character as opposed to musical prodigie's.
We have gone through three teachers and this one is by far my favorite.
There is a Suzuki academy nearby but it is pretty expensive and time consuming with the group classes (and remember, I have TWO kids) that it wasn't feasible.
The current teacher is by far the best, and she has students who are amazing, so I feel confident she knows her stuff. Also, I should say, I play the violin and I know that when I was little I hardly learned any technique at all (my teacher was an elderly gentleman, the room was hot, his voice was soft, and I dozed off/stared off into space most of the time - if he taught me any sort of technique, I was not hearing it. I learned bow hold from my partner in youth symphony and just by observing people who were better than me, which is why I cannot really teach my kids myself) and this teacher is lively, engaging and she cares about what's going on. My only complaint is that we stay on songs for so long, but having said that, we're also gearing up for this annual competition thing so they have to keep working on them intensively.
Guys, it is really hard for me...most of their friends don't play any instruments. And their parents shake their heads and say, "I thought about music lessons, but my child isn't disciplined enough for that." My husband isn't musical at all. Like seriously he can't even clap to the beat of a song. He sings some Russian ballad called Chyornii Voron and glass breaks (that was for you Mad Wed). It's all on me. My kids just want to turn on the computer or TV too. It's a battle. I want it to be fun. We used to have "violin nights" where each kid would play their song for us and I would judge based on a list of things (foot position, bow hand, left hand, intonation) and they would each get a dollar for each thing they did right and then they'd buy a toy. I play them the Suzuki discs. I play them symphonic music in the car. I don't know...I'm not very motivational. I'm more shrill. (Probably the Suzuki book would help me out with this). They tune me out, like I did to my teacher. I realize I can't force them to enjoy music...but at this age, all I can do is give them lessons and help them to practice. Just because they don't LOVE it doesn't mean they should be allowed to quit. If they don't have this, what DO they have? The ability to watch hours of TV on end? How many adults have you met who said, "I really wish my parents had not made me take music lessons as a child" (I actually have met one but his was a pretty extreme case LOL). No. Most people complain that nobody gave them piano or guitar or whatever.
I guess it's human nature to want what we don't have. I don't know. Sorry this is so long, but thanks for letting me get that out...
I didn't hang on every word of every post, but I didn't see that anyone complimented you and the boy and all concerned about his playing. I was really impressed with his bowing and intonation. It seems he is making progress, so maybe you worry too much.
One thing I would do would be to try to get him into the social aspects of music. Since his friends don't do music, you should help him find friends who do. As pfish indicated, something like fiddle camp or music camp might go a long way toward making it fun.
I remember hearing an interview by Brandon Marsalis wherein he complained about his father making him and Wynton practice a lot. But look at where it got them. Maybe some stories like that would help.
I can really only relate to some parts of this, since I didn't take music lessons when I was that young, and the few I did take came later in life. It isn't that I wouldn't have liked to, but it just wasn't in the cards for my family financially so we won't go into that point.
But I don't think it is possible to make someone love music or playing. You can encourage it and make a good environment for it by exposing them to different kinds of music and making instruments and lessons available. You can try to encourage them to have at least some friends that are musically inclined so that they have some peers that may talk a bit about playing or what pieces they are working on. But to stick with it and practice/play hard, I think a person kind of has to find their own reasons why they do it.
Of the couple dozen people I knew back in grade school and high school who took lessons and classes, I know of only a couple where it went on to become an ongoing part of their life. Most of the rest quit shortly after moving out on their own. A few kept their instruments and it is sort of an occasional hobby interest, but I can think of only one other than myself where it has been a lifelong pursuit into at least middle age and where they play professionally. He had some lessons, and music was encouraged in his family while growing up, but it more took the form of assorted instruments being available and playing on them was a part of family entertainment some nights, as opposed to just sitting around watching TV or whatever.
Having said all that though, I think it *is* good to have some activity that kids are encouraged (or even pushed maybe a tiny bit) to spend time at every day. Something to learn with skills to be acquired. That way they learn that learning isn't something for just when you have to be in school and that a person can get at least good at almost anything if they'll put enough time and regular effort into it. I think that if children don't learn that lesson in life fairly early on, then there's a strong chance they may never learn it at all.
Whether it is music, art, dance or whatever, it certainly won't kill them and it can at least teach them how to stick with something and develop skills and understanding outside of a classroom environment.
With your son, is it that he doesn't have a strong desire of his own to work at music, or is it violin in particular? He sounds good to me, but maybe violin isn't the instrument he wants to play. Or maybe if he sees some live performances, it may kindle some "I want to do that!" fire for him. As some folks have suggested music camps or clubs or workshops might introduce him to a peer group that could encourage his interest more.
Like I said, I didn't get instrument lessons early in life, so I can only somewhat relate to the problems of it. The other kids I grew up with also may not be a typical sample group, and maybe other schools or regions have a higher rate of people who went on with music past childhood lessons. But I'll stick with my view that if you would like to see him excel at it, only so much can be done "from the outside". He has to find reasons of his own to want to do more than just get through the lessons and back to his video games or tv.
"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