New to Suzuki…HELP!!!

Kathryn Hennigan said: Aug 9, 2013
 Violin
2 posts

Hi. I used to play the violin as a child. I played for 8 years. I now have a three year old and am looking at getting my son involved in playing. Did anyone start their child this young? Do you enjoy it? Does your child? Any words of advice, comments, praise, concerns???

Rose Lander said: Aug 10, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
55 posts

hi,
my experience (over 4 decades) has taught me it can be a mistake to start such a young child (especially a boy). he might not be ready, so will not have this wonderful experience of guiding your child in music. he will always view it as a negative episode as he is not successful. it is never a mistake to start your child up to the age of 9. some of my most accomplihed stuents were “late” beginners. one of them is a world famous artist, erin keefe. why not build readiness by enrolling your son into one the excellent young children’s music classes such as kindermusic.
good luck,
rose lander

Merietta Oviatt said: Aug 10, 2013
Merietta OviattViolin, Suzuki in the Schools, Cello, Viola
Stevens Point, WI
104 posts

I really hate to disagree with Rose, but not only have I had great success with children as young as 3, I also began my violin studies when I was 3 (and as I am getting my doctorate in music, I’d say it was successful)! The real answer, however, is that it depends on your child. I have had a few children come to get lessons at the age of 4 or 5 who simply were not quite ready to begin lessons. However, I have had some who have just turned 3 and are more than ready to begin (my last student who started at the age of 3 is now 5 years old and well into book 3). My reccomendation is to find a qualified Suzuki teacher and set-up an evaluation with them. This way they can meet your child and see if he is ready to begin. If he is not quite there yet, I would recommend finding a music and movement class, mommy sing with me class, or—as Rose stated—a Kindermusik course.

One of the best parts of Suzuki is that it presents all of the initial steps as games, goes at the pace of the child, and trains its teachers (who have received the training and are registered) how to teach the very young child as well as the parent of the child! Go on the website, go to the teachers and parents tab, and click on the find a teacher link. You will put what instrument you are interested in and where you are located and a list of teachers will pop-up. In their bio you will be able to see what units (books) they have registered—meaning they have had training in those books. How exciting for you to be beginning on this exciting adventure with your little guy! Good luck!
Merietta

Dr. Merietta Oviatt
Suzuki Specialist
Viola/Violin Instructor
Aber Suzuki Center, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
www.uwsp.edu/suzuki
www.merietta.com
[javascript protected email address]

Heather Reichgott said: Aug 11, 2013
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
96 posts

I have started very young children on the piano at age 3. I always have a conversation ahead of time with the parent about the fact that every young child is different. Some young children are ready to sit and follow along with a teacher, try things that are hard sometimes, enjoy their progress, and more or less focus for 20-30 minutes. Some young children are not ready for that until age 6-7 or even later. It has nothing to do with musical talent, more to do with temperament and emotional development.

So far, only one of the 3-year-olds I started wasn’t ready. The other (four of them, I think? all boys, not that that means anything) loved it and are still playing. All the students I have who started at age 4 are still playing.

I wouldn’t try working with a 2-year-old as I’d never expect them to have that amount of focus/readiness to follow directions, plus it’s much harder to communicate verbally…

Lori Bolt said: Aug 12, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
229 posts

You make great points, Heather. I agree about verbal communication being a challenge at age 2-4….some children’s speech is difficult to understand, let alone their understanding of the teacher.

Lori Bolt

Kathryn Hennigan said: Aug 12, 2013
 Violin
2 posts

I appreciate everyone’s comments so far. My son and I have been involved in Music Together classes for a year now (and will be continuing them). He is advanced for his age (I’m sure every parent says that!) but he learned and could recognize his letters and numbers by the time he was 2 1/2. I did make an appointment to meet with a prospective Suzuki teacher and just heard back from another. What I don’t want to happen is what Rose expressed in her comment. I don’t want to push him into this and have it turn into a negative experience. I’m taking my search very slow and am trying to gather as much information as possible…

Community Youth Orchestra said: Aug 12, 2013
Community Youth OrchestraViolin, Viola
70 posts

For what it’s worth, I had my son, aged nine months, in the Music Together classes offered during the Florida Music Institute back in June of this year. We had a great time, and he responded very well to the music, the instruments, and observing the reactions of the other older kids.

Never too early, but just make sure the interactions and activities are differentiated to be age-appropriate!

Laura said: Aug 14, 2013
Laura Mozena
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Palm City, FL
105 posts

I have started boys as young and 21/2 and had great success. It all depends on the attitude that both teacher and parent approach the situation. I think that building a foundation of music simply takes a positive environment that is full of motivation. I would recommend the book To Learn with Love and I highly reccomend that you get your son started with Suzuki Violin!

Good Luck!

Laura
YMS

Sue Hunt said: Sep 7, 2013
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
391 posts

Both of my own children started before their 3rd birthday and as a new parent, it seemed that they moved at a snail’s pace. However, if you are prepared to take the time your child needs, there will be no problem.

When I start a very young child, I spend a lot of time playing games to get their muscles and focus ready. When I was less experienced, I didn’t always make it clear to the parents of 2—4 year olds. At the time, many of them dropped by the wayside. Nowadays, I explain the importance of doing this to them and find that this helps us work together much more easily.

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