Q re choice of music teachers...

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
Q re choice of music teachers...
10
Mon, 01-17-2011 - 4:43am

I have a question about choosing a music teacher when the goal is to get your child in a specific music program with limited spaces.

I already mentioned that we've been trying to find the right program for DD2, who is eight and plays violin.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2009
Mon, 01-17-2011 - 5:26am

Since your main goal is to get DD into the program, I think I'd go with the recommendation of this professor, as that seems to increase DDs chances. For her to remain in the picture sounds very fruitful.... And I don't think a younger, less experienced teacher has to be a problem at all: I think younger teachers are often a bit more 'modern' in their pedagogics, which is nice for little kids. And getting classes twice a week will do your DD a lot of good!

Suzanne
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Tue, 01-18-2011 - 2:25am

I agree with Suzanne. Assuming the chemistry is right. An 8-year-old still needs a nurturing teacher, not someone whose approach is to push kids hard and see which ones can take it.

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
Tue, 01-18-2011 - 7:55am
Oh wow, great advice. Thanks so much - I'm definitely going to look into an extra book - but I'll need one with a CD to go along with it. Do you have any suggestions? And the quick studies sound like an excellent idea.

What I'm hoping is that her new teacher will have a better plan for dealing with DD. Her old teacher had no experience with teaching advanced stuff to smaller kids, which was definitely a part of the problem.

The main problem I'm having is that DD doesn't try to learn the pieces or even look at the music beforehand. She hears them and then can play them without practice. During the Christmas season I played some of Haendel's Messiah in the car on the way home from school a few days in a row, and was shocked when she picked up the violin and started playing it. She does the same thing with Bach two-violin pieces, Vivaldi pieces, assorted music she hears her older sister play, concert pieces that the advanced teenies play. This is a mixed blessing that caused enormous trouble for us when it came to teaching DD to read notes. She still resents being asked to step back and read rather than rely on her ear. She's in orchestra and does guitar lessons with ODD and DH, so hopefully that will help even things out in the long run.

I've been taking violin lessons to help her with the technicalities, but I'm still not great at reading notes, and the pieces she plays are too tough for me to comprehend any more. Her big sister helps with the bowing, sloppy fingering on quick sections where I easily overhear errors, and the like.

It's probably too early to say what the right solution is for certain as far as lesson intensity goes. DD is not particularly mature or patient for her age. I've seen other "violin kids" who are intellectually advanced all around and thus are able to work in an way that is ahead of their age. DD's good in school, but doesn't particularly stand out academically. She's a normal eight-year-old with, I suspect, particular gifts in one area. But she's still young and we're in a bilingual setting where it's not easy to judge a child's abilities early on.

We'll go with the younger teacher first and see how it goes. And I really, really appreciate the feedback!
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Tue, 01-18-2011 - 11:08am

It's hard to know what to recommend for supplements when I don't know what she's already using or what level she's at. I wonder if Barbara Barber's "Solos for Young Violinists" albums might be a possibility. The first one is about at the level of the easiest Vivaldi violin concerto and there are six levels going up from there to about the level of the Bruch Concerto. There are CDs available to match. www.ymonline.com carries the full line.

If she resists reading and prefers to learn by ear, it might actually be a very good idea to get her into quick studies (for which she would have *no* reference recording) for the reading practice.

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
Tue, 01-18-2011 - 4:10pm
Thanks again, Miranda. I'll look into the concertos. DD is in mid-Suzuki book 5 but she could certainly benefit from new songs at the level of book 3 and 4 as well, as she definitely needs to fill in the holes in her technique.

I've tried forcing her to sight- read only, but it didn't work too well. Another teacher recommended splitting the sight-reading tasks and the playing (mostly) by ear tasks for a while. I agree with you that the quick song assigments might be a good solution right now.

Both of my girls do Suzuki and I agree entirely that it's great for developing an ear for music. Now I have to look up Vitali Chaconne!
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Tue, 01-18-2011 - 4:14pm

Cool! My youngest (the 7-year-old) is at the same level in the repertoire. Mid-Book 5. Polishing up Country Dance and German Dance. It'll be fun to have a Suzuki mom buddy here on the board!

Miranda

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2009
Thu, 01-20-2011 - 3:17pm
at least the advantage of two lessons per week can be that they can be a little shorter if patience/concentration is a problem at this young age, and that if your DD studies so much, there'll be enough (focused) time to go through everything properly during the lessons...
Oh and if you can't follow anymore what she's playing, you could ask her to explain/play it slowly/name the notes for you because you don't know... I am a violinist and DD2 plays the cello, and I had/have a hard time reading in her key... but this has worked out wonderfully well to get DD to learn the note names very well...she had to tell mommy over and over again (I'm so forgetful too ;-)
Suzanne
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2009
Thu, 01-20-2011 - 3:27pm
I've always found that that 'secretly already playing a piece which is not yet given to you by the teacher' has worked sooo inspiring and motivating for my DD1. She starts enthusiastic, of course finds out there's bits and pieces that are too tough still, lets it go a bit again but still loves the piece so much, and loves to listen to recordings of it... so when the teacher finally tells her she can start practicing it she's very proud that her teacher now feels she is ready to play it and since she's 'ahead' a bit with practicing she feels confident in her lessons.... She's working on Kreisler's Preludium & Allegro now... last year secretly on her own (it was in her Kreisler collection book), and now with the teachers 'blessing' ;-)
Suzanne
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
Fri, 01-21-2011 - 5:18pm
Miranda - super, so not only are you a Suzuki mom, you also play and you and your kids know the pieces my DD is doing...that's really cool! Can you tell me, then, if the concertos you mentioned are okay for a book 5 suzuki kid?

And Suzy, you're a violinist! You bet I'll be asking you both for advice as we go along. I have no musical background and feel pretty lost.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2002
Sat, 01-22-2011 - 10:50pm

Hi. I guess I wasn't clear. I meant that the Barbara Barber books start at the level of the easiest Vivaldi concerto (i.e. the Vivaldi a minor in Suzuki Book 4). They don't actually contain those concertos. I just thought that describing them in those terms would allow you to gauge the difficulty, since most people are familiar with the Vivaldi a minor regardless of what method they use to learn.

Miranda
in rural BC, Canada
mom to three great kids and one great grown-up
unschooler, violist, runner, doc