6yo just starting

Piper Stewart said: Sep 10, 2014
 1 posts

My son has been drawn to the violin since he was about 4 1/2. We thought maybe he was just saying he wanted to play because he heard it from another child at school. As far as we knew he had only seen and heard one online, tv, and radio.

We recently sent him to his first lesson and he has jump right into it… maybe a little to into it. In the past 2wks he will practice 3-4 times a day for 15-20mins at a time. He even wakes up at 6am and says he has to practice.

I am afraid he will burn himself out or give up. What can I do to keep him interested but also control his need to play all the time?

Annette Brower said: Sep 11, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
Santa Ana, CA
10 posts

Is he OCD about other things?
Is he playing healthy…tension free physically, emotionally, mentally?
Does he see practicing as a game or a puzzle to solve so it is fun for him?—not a bad thing. That’s how I felt about practicing as a beginner….still do, most of the time. :-)

Annette Brower

Heather Figi said: Sep 11, 2014
Heather FigiViolin
Eugene, OR
96 posts

I appreciate that you are concerned with the sustainability of your child’s music education. This shows you have a long term vision for his success. It also sounds like a very special child with a natural gift for working hard. I predict if this is balanced it will serve him well in life.

I am replying to suggest adopting a view that we play music and playing music encompasses playing the violin.

This can help you broaden the approach and diversify such as: studying specific composers (there are great books for children on different composers that really conjure the imagination), looking at the lives of specific violinists and researching the history of the violin.

Perhaps also having a keyboard or percussion instrument around to again look at and study the broader themes that connect all music. This will give his muscles a break and fortify things in a more diverse way.

Lastly, I wanted to recommend incorporating Michiko Yurko’s Blue Jello cards to begin studying rhythms and reading music. These cards are nothing short of magical and again will teach music while giving some break from violin playing.


Annette Brower said: Sep 11, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
Santa Ana, CA
10 posts

Those are great ideas Heather. BTW, I accidentally deleted the e-mail you sent me re your Twinkle duets…samples. Could you resend please? [javascript protected email address]

Annette Brower

Lyn Manton Krueger said: Sep 12, 2014
Lyn Manton Krueger
Suzuki Association Member
Dillon, CO
2 posts

I love the enthusiasm of new learners!
Capture that interest and passion by asking your instructor for active and passive activities your son can do on his own.  A couple of examples: listen to a piece of music and create an oral or illustrated story about what he hears; create a 4- beat, then 3- beat then 2-beat body rhythm that he can repeat five times: ex.: beat 1, clap; beat 2, slap thighs; beat 3, shrug shoulders; beat 4, jump. Repeat until it becomes a smooth rhythm. 
I would schedule two 10-15 minute more formal practice sessions(depending on his attention level) with you and the violin, so that he has that practice to look forward to. 
There are so many supplemental activities for kids. No doubt your instructor has a library of suggestions.  
Celebrate his new journey. Take him to concerts so he is exposed to a variety of music. And have fun!

Heather Reichgott said: Sep 12, 2014
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
96 posts

He loves it and it’s new. This is wonderful. No need to get in the way. Maybe the novelty will wear off on its own. Maybe he’ll stay obsessed for life and play at a very high level. Either way you have given him a gift which is a truly rewarding part of his life right now.

Anna said: Sep 25, 2014
20 posts

I appreciate and completely understand your concern, Piper! I agree with those who have said to ask his teacher for suggestions of other musical activities he could do that aren’t just playing the violin.

I do want to say, though, that you may need to be careful not to destroy his enthusiasm through limiting or cautioning his violin practice/playing. If he hears too much concern from you it may discourage him. So I would say the most important thing is to be his most enthusiastic supporter and encourager!

As long as he is not physically hurting himself from too much playing, I would just let it go. I have a 6 year old student that sounds much like your son. It actually encourages me to see his enthusiasm and dedication and we’ve been able to make a lot of progress because of that.

Wishing you great success in your musical journey with your son!

Phankao said: Sep 29, 2014
Phankao WanPiano, Viola, Violin
128 posts

I have a 6yr old. I don’t see a problem with the child being enthusiastic?

15mins 4 times a day is quite ok. Not that long. only that, hopefully he is working also on what he needs to. Do you supervise at least 1 of those 15mins?

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