Young ones—cello

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Amanda Gilman said: Oct 12, 2015
 2 posts

We are very new at music lessons—we have a 6 year old who is studying the violin—and doing very well—listens to her instructors and incorporates what she has learned in her nearly daily practices. We also have a 4 year old studying the cello—and while he loves to practice—his once a week cello lessons are a disaster! He refuses to get into playing position (will lie on the floor instead)—changes the lyrics to songs—and will generally be disruptive and silly. The teacher—I can tell is getting quite frustrated. As are the parents of his cello classmate (who is an older child and doing better at following directions). I am nearly ready to give up—except he is really learning! Despite seemingly completely disengaged—he learns what (admittedly little) is taught—and can do it at home. I have a star system which is effective at encouraging practice at home—but incentives are lost on him in the class. Anyone have any ideas how I can get him focused?

Tiago Oliveira said: Oct 13, 2015
Tiago Oliveira
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Pindamonhangaba, SP, Brazil
2 posts

Oi! As crianças gostam muito de desafios, as vezes eu uso um jogo de dados onde eu as desafio em quantas vezes ela irá praticar em cada lance dos dados. Pode ser que seja uma vez somente, mas as vezes pode ser que caia o numero seis. Então coloco como o grande desafio aser superado.

Hi! Children love challenges , sometimes I use a dice game where I challenge how often she will practice on each throw of the dice . It may be one time only , but sometimes can be to fall the number six . So I put as the major challenge Raser overcome.

Tiago Oliveira
Cello Teacher
Centro Suzuki São José dos Campos

Amanda Gilman said: Oct 13, 2015
 2 posts

I love that idea! Thank you!!!

Bettina said: Oct 14, 2015
 6 posts

My son plays violin. He began lessons at 3.5 and recently turned 5. We still struggle with behavior issues at his lessons (both private and group). His teacher is great at pulling out different games, toys, etc. to help motivate him. For ex, she lets him pick a card from a deck, he has a certain number of reps to do according to whatever card was drawn, but she also lets him throw the card and then go stand on it to do his reps. In our year and a half I would say he’s really only stayed focused and played everything as asked one time (about a month ago). I’ve used sticker charts with rewards and even used tickets (carnival type ones from a party store) to reward good behavior. He practices at home daily and is almost finished with Book 1, but it’s been a struggle. Group lessons can be rough because my child is the most disruptive (and youngest) in the group. It’s getting slowly getting better. Hang in there! Have you talked to his teacher?

Heather Reichgott said: Oct 15, 2015
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
96 posts

Sounds totally normal for age 4. Having been the parent of a 4-year-old I feel for you. If he’s learning and home practice is ok, then definitely keep up the cello!

There are a couple ways to go about dealing with his misbehavior. One way is familiar to all of us parents and teachers when we have to get kids to do stuff: use a system of rewards and/or consequences.

But the other way is a lot more non-confrontational: if he isn’t behaviorally ready to have a lesson that day, he can observe. Either he can watch the parent learn to play the cello, or since you have a classmate he can just watch the classmate. Same thing if he starts out doing well but degrades after a few minutes—teacher can say “Joe, I see you’re not ready to play the cello right now. I’d like to work with Sam right now. You may tell me in a few minutes if you are ready to have a turn.” Just calm and kind and matter-of-fact, not the same as a punitive time-out with a lecture etc.

Maybe you can also talk to the teacher about what constitutes misbehavior in the teacher’s eyes. e.g. I’d not bat an eyelash at changing lyrics, that just sounds like fun creativity, but lying on the floor would be a non-starter. Then you’ll be on the same page regarding when he is ready to play and when not.

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