12 Year Old Boy—Doesn’t Like Anything!

Emily said: Sep 1, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
5 posts

Please HELP. I have a very respectful young student who is in Book 7, plays well and is very capable. Likes football but not violin. He is required by a very supportive parent to take violin lessons. “Millionaire’s Hoedown” was one piece he liked, but I haven’t found one he likes equally well. He plays from the Suzuki Books, Barbara Barber books, and Royal Conservatory Repertoire Books. If you have found a way to inspire such a student, please share your suggestions. Thank you so much!

Danielle Gomez Kravitz said: Sep 1, 2014
Danielle Gomez Kravitz
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
59 posts

It sounds like he could use a musical social outlet. Are there any local youth orchestras you could check out? Or do you have any other students around his age (not even level) that you could arrange a meet up?

Christiane said: Sep 2, 2014
Christiane Pors-Sadoff
Suzuki Association Member
New York, NY
47 posts

Check out Alice Kanack’s Fun With Improvisation book: The theory and Method of Creative Ability Development. It’s classical improv endorsed by Suzuki himself at Matsumoto, and I was fortunate to watch my Suzuki violin program including this CAD method unfold and mature before my eyes for a ten year period. Students blossom in their playing after beginning this method—but it has to be part of their weekly routine., and taken as seriously in their practice as other material. They can learn to improvise string quartets! (Another book). Give it a try! Sometimes one’s musical persona can get trapped inside years of playing standard rep, and needs a chance to revitalize and pop out in a new way!

Also, if your student has never played blues (which I highly doubt), there are 2 beginner written out blues pieces in Brian Wicklund’s American Fiddle Method.
My students have loved to play these, called Stinky’s Blues, and Walleye Blues.

Christiane Pors
Mikomi Violin Studio
Kaufman Music Center
NYU Steinhardt

Emily said: Sep 2, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
5 posts

Thank you both for your helpful ideas! I’ll work more on the social and getting out of the box :)! I love the “revitalize and pop out in a new way” :).

Heather Figi said: Sep 13, 2014
Heather FigiViolin
Eugene, OR
97 posts

One more idea—do you have any male role models for him? I think this is an important age for this and perhaps if there is nothing locally, looking into performers such as Joshua Bell or Turtle Island String Quartet could help him connect his music with his vision for his life.

Alternately, a string quartet or some small group being arranged as another teacher recommended. This can take some effort to arrange but is usually greatly rewarded.

It sounds like there is much already invested. I hope this works out in a positive and effective way!

Please let us know in a few months.


Emily said: Sep 14, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
5 posts

Thank you Heather :).

We recently had Glenn Donnellan from the National Symphony perform on his Louisville Slugger Bat which he made into an electric violin. You can hear him play the National Anthem on YouTube. Forming a quartet sounds like a great idea. I’ll keep working on it and let you know!


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