How to Help my Kid Remember Different Endings?

Erin & Christopher Palmer said: Dec 15, 2014
25 posts

My 6-year-old is in Book 2 violin. She is progressing through the repertoire rather quickly and can play all the songs rather well; however we struggle a lot with different endings. The hardest piece for her so far was Waltz. I think the problem is that she knows the piece so well, that she doesn’t try to figure out where she is at in the piece and just plays. How can I help her to try to think about what ending she should be playing?

Nagaja Sanatkumar said: Dec 15, 2014
8 posts

This happens with my kid too. Ideas that have worked for us are—1) Playing the piano part of the CD (slowed down for her speed) alongside her playing, to help focus/listen to herself and pay attention on her own to where she is in the song; 2) isolating just the endings and practicing just that part with a label—end#1, end#2 etc. and then putting it back into the piece with a gentle cue from me until it becomes second nature; 3) more frequent review practice—I find that if we haven’t played a song for a while, the endings become rusty.

Sue Hunt said: Dec 16, 2014
Sue HuntViola, Violin
403 posts

The magic key really is listening. Sometimes you have to hear things many, many times, before they make an impression.

“Study listening” will definitely help. This is focussed listening, which you do with the music open in front of you, pointing to the notes. Make clean copy of the music and mark in the endings.

Heather Figi said: Dec 16, 2014
 96 posts

1- Face one wall for each ending (in a 4 sided room). First have success with this while listening. Do not attempt on violin until successful with doing while listening for several days. Children need to move. Moving connects things in the brain in a different way and is crucial to learning.

2A- Literally sit down, away from the violin and analyze what makes the endings the same and what makes them different—students need left brain information to balance the right brain listening.

(2B—It may be helpful to analyze form in Book 1 pieces if this type of analysis has never been done before. Also, it may be helpful to train facing one wall per section with review pieces before Waltz)

3- Assign a story or character to the different endings

4- Assign special dynamics or expression to the different endings. If she knows the piece as well as you mentioned, she is on auto-pilot and needs a details to take her out of this mode.

5- Always, make hard work fun :)

Danielle Kravitz said: Dec 16, 2014
Danielle KravitzInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Violin
64 posts

Listening a lot.

Then I tell my students first finger on the E string for the first part, second finger on the E string for the second part. 1 and 1, 2 and 2.

Alan Duncan said: Dec 16, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
81 posts

Our 6 y/o violinist suffers similar lapses.

The listening program we’re on definitely helps; though I’ve noticed these lapses are associated with other signs of inattention. It’s a reminder to us to make the review focused and specific. Assigning a focus before starting the review piece seems to improve not only that specific bit, but her ability to recall the endings too.

Mengwei Shen said: Dec 16, 2014
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
221 posts

The big picture idea is musical form/structure, and here are some examples of steps throughout book 1:

  • In Twinkle, we talk about the sandwich (bread, cheese, 2nd cheese, bread) as a way to remember the notes in chunks/patterns rather than a chain of 24 notes.
  • At Lightly Row, we talk about the “steps” ending vs. the “skips” ending.
  • Around Rhody, I start referring to the “middle section” of pieces.
  • At Allegro, I start referring to “A section” and “B section” (coincides with the contrasting bowing styles in Allegro).
  • We discover that PM also has a “C section”, that the overall form is ABCA, and that the A and B sections each have an “E ending” and “A ending” (C section endings are the same).
  • We do a similar analysis if needed in Allegretto, Andantino, Etude.
  • For Minuet 3, the musical 1st & 2nd endings in the A section are not notated as such but I use them as preview spots and call them 1st vs. 2nd or middle vs. real endings.
  • By this time they’re familiar with musical patterns and vocabulary and can come up with the structure of Happy Farmer: A 1st, A 1st, B, A 2nd, B, A 2nd. Waltz has the same overall structure but with some differences in how to connect the different endings to the A or the B section.

They do need to spend some time consciously thinking about and labeling the sections, endings, etc. while listening and playing, but doing that mental exercise with “simple” forms (ABA) prepares them for the more complicated ones.

Marcos Pereira Osaki said: Dec 22, 2014
Marcos Pereira Osaki
Suzuki Association Member
São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2 posts

To listen the music and observing if she can sing without listen to the CD. Than, she could play a phrase and you or her or the CD sing/plays the other phrase, in alternate playing.

Marcos Osaki

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