Ways of listening
any theoretical concerns

Alan Duncan said: Dec 5, 2014
Alan Duncan
Suzuki Association Member
63 posts

I am the parent of a 6 year-old Suzuki violinist, approaching the end of Book 2.

We have been dedicated listeners since the beginning’ though mostly “saturation listening”—listening to the entire Books 1-3 in the background. We’re working on putting more structure around the listening now; and that is going well.

My question is about alternative ways of listening. For her three most recent working pieces, we play the reference recording, calling out things that we notice; then she plays the piece, then we listen again in cycles. However, since she’s a keen imitator, she tends to follow the tempi of the reference recording, rather than ones that would give her more accuracy.

I’ve taken to using a mobile application that plays at a reduced tempo (while maintaining pitch, of course.) We usually will set the tempo to anywhere between 85-93% of normal. This seems to be going very well; but I’m wondering whether there are any theoretical issues with this approach. In our less structured listening, we make no tempo adjustments.

The second bit that I’ve introduced is to show videos of teachers demonstrating her current or immediately upcoming working pieces on the hypothesis that by connecting the visual and aural, she’ll more able to correlate what’s going on in the bow and left hand with what she’s hearing. Again, any concerns? It’s a small part of what we’re doing but I’m curious about whether others do this and if it’s helpful or not.

Heather Figi said: Dec 16, 2014
Heather FigiViolin
Eugene, OR
96 posts

You sound like an amazing parent with a high vision for what is possible. I have no concerns with the ways you are approaching listening.
Best wishes,

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