creative approach for 3-yr old

Janet said: Sep 19, 2016
Janet Toomes
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Antonio, TX
5 posts

All, I hesitate to ask this, but I am seeking responses from any of you who may have experience teaching Suzuki (piano) in a sort of alternate format. I have been approached by a grandmother who requests I work with her grandchild ( a 3 year old boy adopted from China who’s mother and father cannot bring him for weekly lessons) and the Grandmother is in town only one week per month and would be able to physically be present only during that week. I know you think I’m crazy, and I DO know all the elements we were trained need to be in place fore success; training of the home coach, and consistency in the child’s daily life, etc. to sustain learning as Dr. Suzuki taught. However, is anyone doing say, Skype lessons or perhaps teaching a monthly class geared to young children more focused on musical discovery and maybe PRE-Suzuki type instruction? I would love your thoughts!

Mengwei said: Sep 24, 2016
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

Would the grandmother be bringing him once a month, several days during her one week, etc.? If I were to take such a student on such a light schedule, and expecting little to no follow-through at home, I would basically consider it spending time with the child helping him to learn life (and I wouldn’t use “peak” teaching hours that would be needed for “regular” students). If some piano (or violin or whatever) came through, that would be nice but not expected.

I have a music socialization group class (mostly age 3-4) that serves as Pre-Twinkle. It’s weekly, and even the ones who aren’t practicing much show that they are picking up stuff over time. I don’t know that a monthly class would be enough exposure for much to stick.

I think trying to do Skype lessons, even teaching the grandmother to teach the boy, would be getting too much ahead of realistic capabilities.

Janet said: Sep 26, 2016
Janet Toomes
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Antonio, TX
5 posts

Thank you for your response. I agree with everything you’re saying and yes the grandparent could only be involved 1xmonth. It is that pre-twinkle, music type class I was considering, however I just think that for a 3-year old its going to need to resemble a creative play with lots of movement and activity and maybe a bunch of small instruments to play. If there is no real follow through at home, I cant imagine how to begin let alone follow through with teaching the child to sit still and focus and not be totally all over the place. I finally met this child and he was belly flopping all over my house. The grandparents could not control him. She looked at me and asked, “so what do you usually do with a child like this?”

Mengwei said: Sep 26, 2016
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

“creative play with lots of movement and activity and maybe a bunch of small instruments”

This is exactly what I do with Pre-Twinkle—group singing/chanting/counting, action songs, circle games, kid percussion instruments. It doesn’t look like a violin class until the last portion when we get out the (fake) bows and play a “hot potato” game with a cup and an older sibling helper providing the music. Then we have songs for plucking open strings (which they’ve already sung and played on percussion toys) and bowing on open strings.

One of the early activities is standing still with a stuffed animal on their left shoulder while listening to an older sibling helper play Twinkle, then taking a bow with me with a foam violin. Taking turns for the “violin-specific” activities is a natural extension of taking turns on the other stuff. If you’re too squirmy, your turn ends early and you get another chance later or next time (meanwhile, you see that everyone else is participating suitably).

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