Song of Wind repeated notes

Mengwei said: Jan 26, 2015
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

I’m curious if these trends are common for anyone else:

First, in the descending pattern of Song of the Wind (E333, 3222…), many of my students play too many of the repeated notes. The most common is an extra B on the last group of 4. Some of them I know are listening a lot (they pick up other notes by themselves correctly, they sing along to later book 1 pieces, etc.). Are they not listening enough, not listening actively enough, not paying attention to their own playing? Parents not supervising practicing with correct repetitions? In the lesson we do E333, stop, 3222, stop, 2111, stop, A, and even though they can do a series of correct repetitions, when they start from the beginning, it’s back to too many notes. I guess we haven’t done enough correct repetitions to replace all the incorrect ones. For one particular student, we’ve done this at every lesson for two months (along with other stuff—we’re still reviewing Tw/LR and doing preview spots for post-Wind).

An underlying issue is perhaps not having a sense of pulse, of feeling the groups of 4 (i.e. I don’t want to use the descriptive explanation that we “play the B 3 times”), and to develop that, a child needs to listen and move to other music, not only to Suzuki pieces. Lately I’m incorporating singing and folk/game songs into my group classes so that we can make music, feel steady beat, etc. without being limited by physical violin skills, but in the meantime, I’m resorting to a “by rote” approach for this phrase in Song of the Wind. I haven’t asked this student to sing Song of the Wind specifically and might try that.

The second trend is that many of my young beginners make their outside thumb bow hold with their right thumb pad rather than the thumb tip. They understand the concept of “covering the dot” (drawn on the thumb at the correct contact point) or having a bent/”happy” thumb, but can’t maintain it while bowing. Is this a physical limitation of small, developing hands? (In some cases, depending on their overall bow control, we just move to inside thumb and that takes care of it.)

Tiffany said: Jan 27, 2015
Tiffany Osborn
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Los Angeles, CA
41 posts

It’s a tricky part of the song! Things that have helped me:

listening games: first the teacher plays and the student decides if there are too many notes, not enough notes, or just the right amount. Then the student plays it and decides how many they heard themselves play. Since a lot of the time it is like you said, not being connected to the sound they are creating, their answer might be “I don’t know” because that’s a new skill, or they might say “the right amount” when it wasn’t, and that’s ok- they can try as many times as they want. They might be used to hearing it their own way more than the correct way if they are practicing it wrong every day too.

Another thing I do is come up with a song to go with it that’s tailored to them: Be-lla likes to play the vi-o-lin and she plays ba-a-se ball”

As for the bow, I think it’s just one of those things that just needs to be worked on constantly and over time will be right, however I would add to check the fingers, sometimes if the fingers are flat and the knuckles are “mountains” it causes the thumb to stick out the wrong way too. If the finger joints are bent and curved nicely and the knuckles are soft and flat it’s easier to bend the thumb.

Good luck and happy teaching!

Heather Reichgott said: Jan 27, 2015
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
94 posts

Regarding repeated notes, I often have the same issue with Lightly Row and Cuckoo in Piano book 1. The best fix I know is teaching them to hear downbeats. I play the piece and together we stomp really loudly on the downbeats, or I have the student drum or play a ridiculous cluster of bass notes at the time of the downbeat. Downbeats can be really fun. It’s helpful for learning the melody, and it also helps locate the finger 5 notes in the left hand accompaniment part later.

Tiffany’s suggestions of adding words and having the student correct the teacher have also worked well for my students.

Some of them just prefer to count notes because they keep track of numbers easily and I don’t discourage them from doing it that way, but it’s less useful in the long run. Especially when you add the left hand part on piano, which doesn’t have the same numbers of notes at those spots.

Allison Cooke said: Jan 28, 2015
Allison Cooke
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Guelph, ON
6 posts

For the repetitions of the pattern, do you then follow it up with isolating the section without the breaks? The stops are a great idea (going to remember that for the next student I have with this problem). But taking them out after the concept of the groups has been established, while still isolating the section, would be pretty important.
Send them home with that section to practice, and a 100 chart or two.

For words I’ve used ‘Down the ladder’ for each group before.

And as Heather said, some of them just need to count the notes.

Lana said: Jan 28, 2015
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Regina, SK
5 posts

I find that LOTS of listening (and that is repeated listening ) over a long period of time is the best way. The students who do this never have a problem with the number of repeated notes- instinctively they feel it. It would be good to reinforce that with clapping downbeats, feeling the beats . I find most issues in learning a piece evaporate with sufficient listening- so I would assign the listening of 1 piece for 1/2 hr or more (quietly in the background) daily.

Lanamarie

Suzanne Edwards said: Jan 28, 2015
Suzanne Edwards
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Charlotte, NC
29 posts

I have indeed had the same problem. They are seeing a pattern, but not in the measures. Some things that have helped different students (and especially parents) with different learning styles:

Visually:

Stars for SongWind

Stars for SongWind. To visually show the pattern that happens within the measure. I point while singing “la” and sing “same” in the second and third measures on beat one so they know it came from the measure before.

Image by Suzanne Edwards

.

Kinesthetic: I have them march while I play it (I’m marching too) and I emphasize beat one as we strongly stomp on beat one while saying “WE are march-ing, WE are march-ing, WE are march-ing” and hum the endings. We do this again and again. Then have the parent march with you while the student rests, or they do it all together.

Can do a combination of the above so the parent points to the stars while I play ands the student says “same” while I play. Then switch and child points and parent says “same” while I play.

Then child’s turn to play and they pick which combination of pointing and marching I will do. Then the parent says.

Many times I have to touch the child’s tabletop finger when I say “same” when they play. Then we continue to hum/sing the endings, not play them.

These are some ideas that have worked for me.

Sue

Suzanne Edwards said: Jan 28, 2015
Suzanne Edwards
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Charlotte, NC
29 posts

Sorry the layout and wording/editing is quirky in my last post. I tried doing this on my iPad, and it didn’t seem to work well. I tried to edit and fix it, but that didn’t work. I hope you got the idea.

Sue

Mengwei said: Jan 31, 2015
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

Thanks for the ideas! Beating a drum on the beat (like having (or being) a metronome) helped for this student. It also solved a problem of having extra notes in violin Twinkle D (triplet rhythm), so it’s clearly related to needing to develop the inner pulse. I’ve assigned extra listening anyway especially because the student has a younger sibling who might otherwise pick up the older one’s wrong notes!

(I also tried having them beat the drum for each other but that didn’t really work. When I’m beating or playing, I’m actually somewhat following the student whereas they don’t really know how to follow each other yet.)

Barbara Balatero said: Feb 3, 2015
Barbara BalateroTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
7 posts

Although I don’t usually use words, the following have helped my cello students (now translated to violin).

E
and here comes D
and here comes C#
and here comes A2E

E
and here comesD
and here comes C#
and here comes A

The problem with the passage, is that we are changing notes on an offbeat! Up to this point in the repertoire we have always changed notes on the beat.

And the Spanish version………..

Ayunque no uso mucho las palabras, las siguientes pueden ayudarles a algunos alumnos: (versieon de violín)

mi
ya viene re
ya viene do
ya viene la do mi

mi
ya viene re
ya viene do
ya viene la

El problema de este parte de la canción es que cambiamos la nota entre los pulsos en vez de en los pulsos. Es la primera vez en el repertorio que hacemos eso.

Elizabeth Friedman said: Feb 10, 2015
Elizabeth Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
49 posts

Barbara—I really like that!

A cello teaching friend recommended this several years ago and I’ve been using it ever since:

I like pizza, I like pizza, I like pizza, A 2 E (circle!)
I like pizza, I like pizza, I like pizza, yay.

Explain that you change on “like.” Works every time.

Best of luck!

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