Suzuki violin - how and how much practice?!

(4 Posts)
lapumpkin Thu 01-May-14 23:01:19

My DD (5yo) asked to play the violin for a few months before starting her at Suzuki about 7 months ago. She loves the musicianship and group lessons but messes about in her (shared) individual lesson and doesn't really want to practice during the week. The girl that she is sharing her lesson with apparently cries if she doesn't get to practice before she leaves for school (!) and so although they started at the same time, the other girl is progressing far faster. I wouldn't really care about this except for that my DD doesn't really want to practice in the week and I'm concerned that gap between the two girls will grow and that DD will become frustrated. Suzuki demands a lot from both child and parent (me!) to practice daily and listen to the tunes daily. It takes quite a bit of wrestling to get this done and I just can't decide if its worth the effort. I sort of just want to let her be 5 and play with her brother when she gets home from school instead of having to do practicing. Any advice?!

Theas18 Thu 01-May-14 23:14:49

Umm I'm probably not the right person to reply but will give you my 2p ( qualified by the fact I have 3 very able / serviceable musician offspring - but not future soloists!).

I think at 5 it's a big ask for a kid to apply themselves as Suzuki method demands - remember concentration span averages 5 mins at 5 yrs iirc. You need to have a " tiger mamma" mentality and be on top and engages 100% yourself too.

Mine started instruments at 7 - by which time they had been singing informally since babyhood so had a fair sense of pitch and rhythm, were fluent readers ( I know that's irrelevant for Suzuki ) and could concentrate well and follow instructions.

Not sure, unless you have a career path mapped out for her in music ( she can't surely know that herself?) that such an early start in a formal setting is better than lots of singing in the car /at home or a more informal kids music group?

I'm sure, the tiger mother theory or do anything for 1000hrs ( or was it 10000hrs?) and you'll be good at it has some truth, but look at where you/they are hoping to end up....

allyfe Fri 02-May-14 10:51:33

Does your DD want to keep playing? If she doesn't, then simple. Stop. But if she does, there are a couple of things you could try, which might help her to find the motivation to practice.

My DD is 5 and doing suzuki piano. She cries if she can't practice, but mainly because she wants to be part of the '100 day club'. It is something that Suzuki use as a motivator. Basically, you practice every day for 100 days (we count lessons as practice!), and then you have a celebratory party....and then you start working towards 200 days.

The other thing that works really well for my DD is points and stickers. We have a 1000 fairy stickers book, and so she gets a number of stickers after each practice, depending on how well it went. If she's really tired then we do a very short practice. If she's on reasonable form, then a bit longer (never much more than 20 minutes). We used to do the point system by literally giving points. She got points for doing things right - with five points equaling one sticker. But if she was silly, I got a point and she lost a sticker.

One other thing I would say is that the group lesson, whilst great at some levels would be complicated I can imagine. My DD started at the same time as two others, both of which are rather further forward in their lessons. Basically, my DD isn't the most focused, and she is a bit of a bouncy thing and so her concentration isn't always great (which is perfectly reasonable considering she's 5!). But I think she would be a little disheartened if she realised how much further forward the other two were.

lapumpkin Fri 02-May-14 17:38:09

Thanks Theas18 and allyfe for your thoughts.

To be honest, I really don't know if she wants to continue. I think she does in theory what to learn but she just wants to be able to play and doesn't see that she has to practice. She hates practice. And I hate it. It is awful. I have decided that we will take a break until half-term and do a little bit of practice through the week (but in an un-pressurised way) and then see how she feels in a few weeks time.

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