Practice with two


Lina said: Sep 10, 2018
 4 posts

Dear there,

I recently met this problem that I don’t really how to practice with two kids.

My elder one is is working on the 7th song of book 2. I ususally start with her first. We start with tonalisation, and then work on the new song either with me or with the help of CD. If she’s happy, she will go over old songs of book 1 and 2.

Then it comes to the little one. She followed the lesson for a year and we are still at the stage of pre-twinklers. She’s happy to do the rythem games, make a rabbit, and play on mi or la, but she always refuses to put finger on fa or re do si. Whenever comes to the time for practice, it often ends as bargain or hide and seek..

They are always in the same room when practising but I feel I can do very little with the little one…

Thanks for your advice.

Best regards,


Edward said: Sep 10, 2018
Edward Obermueller
Suzuki Association Member
Morris Plains, NJ
73 posts

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. The younger one needs to go at her own pace. She will eventually “get it” but not at the same rate the older one did.
  2. She is absorbing more than you think. Don’t worry.
  3. The more games, the better. Have some fun together with the rhythms if that is what she is interested in. Here are some Twinkle Cards if you haven’t tried that.

And, this may help you with the younger one’s finger placement:

Find The Right Address

Happy practicing,

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Christine said: Sep 10, 2018
Christine GoodnerInstitute Director
SAA Staff
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Hillsboro, OR
103 posts

How old is your youngest? I agree with Edward that she will go at her own pace and is probably absorbing and learning more than you can see at this point.

Depending on her age, her practice may look totally different from your older child and that is ok :)

Christine Goodner

Blog: The Suzuki Triangle

Suzuki Licensed Book: Beyond the Music Lesson: Habits of Successful Suzuki Families

“When Love is Deep, Much can be Accomplished” ~ Suzuki

Paula Bird said: Sep 10, 2018
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Viola
Wimberley, TX
404 posts

May I offer another perspective to the mix? It occurred to me that if we thought about this from the perspective of your youngest, that we might gain some insight into handling this issue in a different way.

Why not start with the youngest one first? Right now she is aware of the longer and perhaps more serious or less interesting practice of her sibling, and although we adults know that this is different, from the younger child’s perspective, this is what she can expect, she thinks. So why not start with her practice? Then she will not have anything to “compare” it to.

Also, take 1 minute and make up a list of tasks that you want to accomplish. Every time I write out a to do list, I find that I put enough things on the list to last several days. So take a minute, write out your list, and then use it for the coming week. Then write out a list for the other child too. My point is to write a list, spend only 1 minute doing it, and then use that list during this week. Next week, do the same thing. Use your child’s lessons as guides for the activities that need to be put on your list.

Be specific. If she doesn’t mind the Var. A rhythm on the E string, don’t ask her to do it an unspecified number of times. Write 5 times on your list. Maybe another list of 5 times with no squeaks, or with her eyes closed, or on one foot. Put those different tasks on separate small pieces of paper.

As you practice with her, if any of the activities that you put on the list were big hits for your child, then set those papers into a special location, like a special little box to hold those favorite activities. It’s okay if the same activities show up several times and in several different ways. If they were fun activities, put them into the box. In later practices, you can add the activity of “Reach into the box and pull out 3 papers” to your practice routine.

I think you may find that the older child will start to ask for the same routine, because this does make it fun.

As for getting the child to put the fingers down, I had a student or two like that. It was a hard skill for them to practice, so they avoided doing it. I gave them a special 200 times chart, and I helped them to just touch their finger on the string. Then we would mark the chart. In the beginning the parent had trouble getting the student to do this at home, but I would do maybe 20 times in various ways during each lesson. We also marked the chart together with colored pens. After awhile, it was easy enough for the child, that the mother was able to convince the child to do this at home.

When the child completed the chart, there was some little surprise. Can’t recall what. Actually, I think the 200 chart and the sense of accomplishment were the biggest rewards. I kept reminding her that it got easier each lesson and each row of “stars” she completed on the chart. After awhile the child recognized this sense of accomplishment for herself.

Keep us updated.


Paula Bird

Paula E. Bird
TX State University
Wildflower Suzuki Studio (blog) (podcast)

Lina said: Sep 11, 2018
 4 posts

Dear all,

Thank you very much for your information. Much appreciated.

Dear Christine, here is a little background of the little one:

She is 4 years old and followed about a year of pre-twinkler lesson. I actually wasn’t ready for her to take the course but she showed strong interest in dancing with the rythem when I practised with the older one. The teacher permitted her to give 10 minutes of lesson time. She was doing very well in the beginning and then her interest faded away especially when the teacher introduced fingers on the fingerboard for her. She’s kind of withdrawal from progressing. Daily practice routine seems not yet for her but we continue doing the tasks which are suggested by the teacher, where I got also loss from her.

Thank you Edward. I will definitely try Twinkle card.

Thank you Paula. Great suggestion. I will try tonight and let her practice first and I will see if it works for her.

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