Beginner violin with two broken wrists—lesson ideas?

Elizabeth Friedman said: Nov 1, 2012
Elizabeth Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
49 posts

I have a six-year-old pre-Twinkler who just broke both wrists. His mom said he still wants to come to his lessons even if he can’t play his violin (yay!). Both his mom and I agree it would be best to keep up the normal lesson rhythm, and we both feel there will be things to learn anyway!

I have taught students with one broken arm before—often this is a great (if unfortunate!) opportunity to really work on a great bow arm or left-hand technique.

I was thinking it would be great to use the opportunity to really solidify rhythm, and perhaps do a little pre-reading/theory work. Obviously we can sing, but clapping is out. Anything involving hand motions is out.

I thought of Music Mind Games, but don’t own any of the materials… and add the complication that I’m in the UK and so won’t be able to get them easily (though could order them for future use)… well, you get the idea.

This particular student is very energetic and precocious, and we’ve been doing a lot of work on direction-following, with a lot of improvement in the last few weeks, particularly in group class. We do definitely need to work on rhythm and head stability.

So—any ideas? Has anyone encountered this before? He is supposed to be in a fiberglass cast for 3 weeks, and then we’ll see—he might be able to do a bit of motor-skill work after that.

Thank you!

G said: Nov 2, 2012
G Ordun
Suzuki Association Member
Vienna, VA
21 posts

Dalcroze! Marching/stepping to various beats/rhythm patterns. Works very well for Twinkle rhythms.

Ear training. Try putting four lengths of tape on the floor and have him step/jump to the “string” you play. He can move along the “string” as you play higher/lower notes.


Sue Hunt said: Nov 3, 2012
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

Ouch, poor child. You can still have lots of fun.

Learn the parts of the bow and violin.

Listening games:
Crouch for low notes, tiptoe for high notes.
Spot the tune. Make flash cards and scatter them on the floor for him to find when he hears a tune.
Get him to stick his tongue out when he hears an open string.

This is an ideal opportunity to work on a very relaxed violin hold. With your hands ready in case it falls, get him to hold it so softly that it almost drops on the floor.

Violin in playing position for a count up, while singing, while walking, while doing knee bends, balancing a coin in the peg box, etc, all with soft shoulders.

If he can move his elbows, he can practice ghost bowing the rhythms paying attention to soft shoulders and elbow and keeping his hand in front of him. I sometimes hang a toy from the right elbow to see if a child can make it swing forward and back.

Recognise a rhythm when it is tapped on his back.

If he can move his fingers:
4 Little Monkeys.
The Bee Hive game.
Remembering sequences of numbers and tapping them.
Picking up small objects.

Get him to fix things you do wrong.

He could “drew” the shape of a phrase in a song, on the floor, with a piece of string.

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