Transfer students

Friederike said: Sep 22, 2015
Friederike Lehrbass
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Plano, TX
71 posts

I just started a new job and took 15 students over from the old teacher. ( well 3 quit after, all saying they’re to busy).All of them have tight thumbs and elbow way underneath violin. 2 sisters are at book 4( well they were before the former teacher took them, but then she took them off Suzuki and taught them other material( for purpose to teach shifting). last pieces they played were from the Rumanian folk dances , no review at all. )I took a class from Susan Kempter a few years ago( how mucles learn and use lots of those priniples) But I find it difficult to reteach the relaxed wrist and getting the hand that often pushed underneath the violin out from under it and relaxed. I let them “tickle the violin”( going softly up and down violin and playing a piece or 2 with harmonic.)I started to go back to book 1 with the 2 sisters, but then realized that it wasn’t the best idea to do that.( mom and girls and I had a talk and one of the girls actually wants to learn hymns, the other said she want to be able to read well. I thought to let them do some review and work only at beginning of lesson with relaxing hand,etc and then add other material. Thinking starting to do vibrato exercises might actually help with relaxing.)( My friend told me she never goes back to book 1 bec it discouraged the students.) Thinking I might have to do a compromise….What do you do and if you do use other pieces what do you use? Also wondering if doing that mixed approach does any good? But only working on relaxing and changing will probably make them all leave. Thanks,

Praise the Lord with the stringed instrument

Jacob Litoff said: Sep 22, 2015
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

I use lots of other music besides the suzuki books with my students. I use Barbara Barber’s “Solos for young violinists” books, I used Bartok violin duets, I use josephine trott double stop books, I use Yaakov Geringas SHIFTING book, I use Kreutzer and Fiorillos etudes and more. Sometimes I use Wolfhart opus 45 etudes. I use Red Parrot Green Parrot by Edward Huws Jones I use Amy Matherly’s scale book and then for the more advanced students I use Galamian’s scale book and/or Carl Flesch Scale book. I use other music too but that is most of the main ones I use.

Marian Goss said: Sep 23, 2015
Marian Goss
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
26 posts

This is such a tough situation to be in as a teacher. I have taught transfer students in the past and I do believe transfer students are more difficult than a three year old beginner who can’t sit still! And your approach has to differ from child to child is no child learns in the same way. If you can find a student who is willing to go back to books 1 or 2 to work on some basic skills I say go for it. Practicing everything very soft with “tip toe” fingers is great for the left hand (even letting go of the left thumb all together). Or finding a piece with lots of bow circles so the student can check their pinky softness (after resetting the bow) by tapping it gently on the stick a few times to make sure the hand is released would also be great (song of the wind, allegro). But for a student who is not willing to go back, or feels discouraged about going back in the repertoire, I think your suggestion is a great one using supplementary material. I agree that the Barbara barber series is tons of fun and has many folk songs in the first volume which the children enjoy to play. Then they don’t feel like they are regressing back into boom 1. And spending only the first few minutes of the lesson working on this is also a great approach. Keep us posted! I am also looking for ways to help transfer students.

Melanie said: Sep 23, 2015
Melanie Barber
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Maple Valley, WA
25 posts

I’m im a similar spot right now, except the student has only had violin in school orchestra. She is about bk 4 level and 14 years old. Im doing lots of scales, finger lifting and dropping drills, Introducing the Positions, Wolfhart, and some easy hymns. Because this is the first time she has ever had lessons, I am still learning where the wholes are. With other transfer students who have done Suzuki, , Ive always had them do like 5-10 minutes of review pieces working on “advanced skills.” I tell them they can either play scales over and over, or an early bk 1 piece. In all reality, we just want them to play something easy with the left hand to focus on a hard skill. I think only having part of their practice time doing review with the rest of the time working at their level keeps them happy. Good luck!

Friederike said: Sep 23, 2015
Friederike Lehrbass
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Plano, TX
71 posts

Thanks guys. Melanie, can you please describe your finger lifting and dropping drills more in detail? Thanks

Praise the Lord with the stringed instrument

Donna said: Sep 23, 2015
Donna Granda
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Jackson, NJ
4 posts

I’d be interested in hearing about the finger lifting and dropping drills

Sent from my iPhone

Melanie said: Sep 23, 2015
Melanie Barber
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Maple Valley, WA
25 posts

It’s essentially like a trill but focus on the finger action like a hammer instead of speed like a trill. The finger will come quickly up and down, touching the fingerboard quickly like it’s a hot stove. It helps students release finger tension, have quick striking fingers, focus on accurate intonation, and is a great first warm up to start practicing. I start on the G string and play 2 bows of GAGAGA etc, then Keep 1st finger down and do ABABAB, then keep 2nd finger down and do BCBCBCB. I go all the way up the scale.

Allison Marshall said: Sep 23, 2015
Allison Marshall
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
8 posts

I, too, am interested in Melanie’s finger lifting and dropping drills.

Susanna said: Sep 23, 2015
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Piano, Viola
1 posts

Hello to everyone,
I have a huge life time experience with transferring students. It’s always hard and painful, over the years I learned one big lesson that I use now all the time and it works! And everybody is happy, including me.
I first study the student’s personalty and find the right way to communicate to earn their trust. I let them play incorrectly from my point of view, the way they are comfortable. I start all of the changes very slowly, one step at a time and always give them new pieces. This helps me to do something different as review pieces usually are the hardest to correct if they already have imprinted in their mind the old way of playing them.
I also encourage them to perform as soon as possible in the recitals that they can see my other students play the right way. At the same time I always praise them for every small step accomplished and it keeps them motivated to work harder to get into the recital.
Hope, it’ll help too.

Steven said: Sep 24, 2015
 Violin, Bass, Cello
Saint Cloud, MN
1 posts

Actually this is Beverley Williams spouse of Steven Eckblad. We are both Suzuki teachers.We also taught public school strings/orchestra as well as running a separate Suzuki studio. We rarely have kids transfer in or out, but it does happen. It is a very good idea to not try to reteach a piece that has been learned incorrectly.

Perhaps I missed something, but no one mentioned group lessons or listening. I think It is just very difficult if one is teaching a student only a private lesson. Groups are so wonderful for reviewing and polishing repertoire, but especially for kids to develop friendships. Listening is such an important part of Suzuki too, especially in Book 4,5,6. Even if students can read they should still be using their ears mostly.
I have found that if one is just using the Suzuki books 4 and 5 with either a Suzuki trained student or a “traditional” student it is important to use other materials such as has been mentioned:
Fiddle Magic (exercises by Sally O Reilly)
Scale book
Sevcik 40 Bowing Variations
Duets—especially if they do not get to play much with others.
with younger Suzuki students, the main extra books I use are Quick Steps to Note Reading.
Perhaps the best and most inexpensive is the Fun with Solos published by SHAR. In order to not have students go through Book 4 too fast or too slow, I allow them to select a piece in Fun with Solos. They are allowed to read those without listening. They enjoy those pieces while we slowly and carefully learn some of the more difficult things in Book 4.

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