Need help in starting with a 7 year old

Zulle Ali said: Apr 12, 2016
 1 posts

Hello all,

I’m quite new here so I’ll just make a brief introduction. I’m a pianist and more of a performer than a teacher to be honest but I’m also a multi instrumental musician. Violin being my minor that is. My old teacher liked me so much that she actually asked me to venture into teaching one day which was about 3 years ago which I do enjoy quite as much sometimes. So I teach piano—casually or professionally, from 13 year olds to 43 year olds, prep them for exams or competitions/showcase or so too.

The difficulty I’m having right now is that I’m soon to be teaching a 7 year old who really wanted a violin lesson with me. I haven’t been touching the violin for sometime but I’ve got no problem coming back to it since I’m gonna teach a very young beginner anyway who only knows the piano and not violin. As you all know the violin is more of an intricate ‘personal’ instrument that includes posture, tuning of the pegs etc.. strings, positions and what not and that’s what I’m quite nervous about because I don’t seem to remember how my violin teacher used to teach me before.

I’m here cause I am in need of dire advice or instructions or tips on how to start with this 7 year old. I believe in getting the right form or posture, playing with the strings, taping the fret and stuff but I would really like a solid line of instructions. I will be using a Suzuki book as that’s what I was being brought up from and that being one of the reliable methods of course. Suggestions are very much welcome. Thank you very much !

Anita Knight said: Apr 13, 2016
Anita Knight
Suzuki Association Member
Kent, WA
19 posts

Congratulations on expanding your instrument repertoire.
You sound like an ideal candidate to take Book 1 Suzuki Teacher training. I’d just like to state: If you haven’t had Suzuki teacher training, it is not Suzuki teaching! Using the books *does not make it Suzuki teaching, and in our area, has given a horrible impression of Suzuki to the local youth symphonies and other professionals! I encourage you to go to the SAA website, and sign up for Book 1 training asap! These are amazing courses, and will give you all the details in info you need—and deserve!
Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

Anita Knight
“Joyful Sound Violin Studio”

Marian Goss said: Apr 13, 2016
Marian Goss
Suzuki Association Member
26 posts

Congratulations! Not only for becoming a violin teacher, but being proficient on two instruments! I do think that being proficient on an instrument is very important when you teach someone else. While you might not remember exactly how you learned every technique, things will begin to come back in time. And as much as we would not like to admit it, I think all of us teachers would probably do things totally different if we could take a trip back in time to our first few students. I made plenty of mistakes my first several years of teaching! Thank God those parents didn’t know any better LOL.
As others have said, I highly recommend Suzuki training before you begin teaching. But it sounds as if you might be starting this seven-year-old soon. If that’s the case, here are some pointers that I can offer:

  1. remember that listening to the pieces is the key to progress. That eliminates the need for you to work on notes and rhythms. You are then free to work on posture, pitch or tone.

  2. Look through book one entirely yourself before teaching the pieces. The new revised books come with tons of little practice suggestions that you will want to be acquainted with before you teach these pieces.

  3. remember that you are not necessarily teaching songs but rather the skills needed to play songs now and in the future. So review, review, review, until you think you’ve reviewed enough and then Play It Again. 70% of new music is based on previous skills learned in previous pieces. If you don’t have the benefit of group classes to help with review, make sure you hear old pieces in lessons every week.

  4. Don’t be in a rush to begin note reading as it is much more difficult to learn to play the violin well than it is to read music. There are some very good note reading books such as Quick steps to Note reading or the I Can Play series by Joanne Martin.
    The Suzuki books were not designed for note reading and don’t progress in the natural way for note reading.

  5. If you haven’t done so already, read Suzuki’s Nurtured by Love to remind yourself why you do what you do. We are teachers that cultivate a kind human spirit.

Good luck to you!

Edward said: Apr 15, 2016
Edward Obermueller
Suzuki Association Member
Morris Plains, NJ
17 posts

It’s a great age to start violin since a lot of the motor development is there.

I’ve got some free resources for starting young children on violin at including a free guide for practice motivation and another one on bow technique. It’s geared for parents and teachers of exactly the age you are talking about.

I also have a newsletter (you’ll see on the home page) and right now I’m working on the next several practice tips which are specifically about beginnning technique in a way kids can understand. To be sent out over the next couple months. Do let me know if this helps.

Happy practicing,

11 Holloway Place
Morris Plains, NJ 07950

EMAIL: [javascript protected email address]

Kirsten said: Apr 16, 2016
103 posts

Hi Zulle:

There is a book by Kay Slone called They’re Rarely too Young and Never Too Old to Twinkle. I love this book because it helps with all of the details you are requesting.

My best advise:

Keep in mind that the size of the violin is very important. Most 7 year olds should have a 1/4 size violin, but of course there are many exceptions. A petite child close to her 7th birthday might still have a 1/8 size violin. A taller child with square shoulders might fit a 1/2 size.

Music shops often get it wrong because they place the violin and then figure the size is right if the child can put his hand around the scroll. They err on the side of too big, figuring the parent will save money and the child will grow into the violin. But look at the elbow. If it is not bent, as yours is when you hold your own violin, the instrument is too big. It will make your job, and your student’s job, very hard.


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