Kids and mirror images

Barb said: May 16, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Hey teachers,
I’m just wondering what you do when the kids you are teaching have difficulty understanding that they should not be doing a mirror image of you, especially for cello bowing?

I have put myself beside the student instead of across from at times, but I like to face them so that I can see them well and also so we can look at each other without turning. I think what I did with the youngest student I have taught so far (5) was to put myself beside him, then have him keep his eye on my bow hand while I moved in front of him.

This student who is now 7 and usually understands sometimes seems to get “caught” and his bow starts to follow the same (east-west speaking, but the opposite down-up speaking) direction as mine.

Developmentally, when do young children usually understand the difference between mirror image and a real image facing them? I can’t recall being in situations like this with my own kids (who learned piano).

My niece tried to ask her four year old son which hand Steven Sharp Nelson was using to hold the bow in the Piano Guys Star Wars video. He said the right. But the “other Steven” was using his left. So he understands right and left, but doesn’t quite get the visual image yet.

I think I once saw a video of a teacher actually demonstrating something with the “wrong” hand as she faced a group. Do you think that is a good idea?

Suggestions for helping students with this much appreciated!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Barb said: May 16, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

P.S. Hoping this grand-nephew doesn’t get disheartened when he learns that real bows don’t turn into light sabers! My sister had him give her a “cello lesson” with the sticks he is currently using and he showed her the first thing to do with the bow was to “hit it like this (whack) to turn on the light saber”!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Crystal R said: May 16, 2012
 Violin, Voice, Piano
9 posts

I do what I call ‘Bow Exercises’ with some of my students. We do things like bowing (up and down) in the air and circles (small ones and big ones). When doing these exercises I face them but move my bow the opposite direction (while still holding it in the correct hand). So that we are mirroring each other with the way our bow moves but not with the hand I’m using. Then if we stand beside each other or one in front of the other, I move my bow the same way as them.

I hope this helps!

Crystal :)

Amy said: May 17, 2012
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
50 posts

In group class, you might try sitting in a circle and passing bean bags on the beat to a piece on the Suzuki cd. For this to work, everyone will have to pass the same direction (either clockwise or counterclockwise), even though it may appear to be the opposite direction from the person sitting across from you in the circle. Young children may require assistance from parents to keep the bean bags moving in the right direction, but will feel a huge sense of accomplishment when they can do it on their own.

In addition to nurturing synapses that instinctively know the difference between the mirror image and a ‘real image’ as you call it, this encourages sharing, feeling where the beat lies in music, and develops brain capacity for hands crossing the center-line of the body.

Barb said: May 17, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Thanks, Crystal and Amy. The pass the bean bag game sounds great!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

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