questions for parents who do not read music


Victoria Sofianos said: Aug 9, 2015
2 posts

I have two daughters that play violin. As a parent of the older child (age 10) who does not read music I work with our private instructor, struggle through the pieces and try to help her decipher the bowings…for her younger sister (age &7), she has the benefit of ear training to later pieces as her sister has been playing them and then the songs and bowings become easier for her because I have learned them through my older daughter therefore she picks up the songs at a much quicker rate and is now trailing her older sister by just a few songs. I feel frustrated for my older daughter who I worry will become deflated and upset that her younger sister had almost caught up to her. Could anyone recommend tips that will help me to help my child being a mother who does not read music?

Erin P said: Aug 10, 2015
23 posts

My first recommendation would be to learn to read music! If you work with her on “I Can Read Music” books, I think you would learn right along with her. How far along are your girls? If they are in Book 1, the “Step by Step” books have charts of fingers on strings that you can use that are quite helpful.

My husband is in the same boat as you, he has never played an instrument and is now helping my book 3 cellist practice. He figured out most notes (while they were working on the reading book), but the cello books too are a lot better at marking fingerings in earlier books. I do read music but I do this as well: when my daughter starts a new piece on a copy of the music, I will go through and mark all the fingerings I would need to make sure she plays correctly.

The only other thing I would say is do the “Listen Like a Maniac” thing with your older daughter (for both of you), where you listen to her current piece and her next piece pretty much on repeat. That is honestly how I can mostly tell if a piece is played correctly, because my daughter plays so fast, there is no way I can watch her fingers!

I hope this helps!

Victoria Sofianos said: Aug 10, 2015
2 posts

Thanks for your tip.

I can read a little but now we are late book 2 and she plays so fast that I can’t keep up with the bowings. We implemented the “listen like a maniac” in our home practice last spring and it completely transformed my younger daughters progression. My older daughter had more homework etc and the listening did not equal that of her sister so the struggling continued. She has been able to pick up more quickly as we have increased her ear training in the past few weeks. Hopefully we are over the hump :)

Ally Ci said: Oct 2, 2015
 7 posts

I can’t read music either. I find that my 10 y/o is quite independent in his practice and took over reading around 8. I didn’t have to read with him, he was ok with his teacher’s guidance only.

I still have to make sure that practice takes place, otherwise it would never happen. I write down what he has to do (based on notes taken at the lesson) and let him work by himself—although I am always within earshot.

Transferring more responsibility to my son worked for us.

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