Stage manner

Nadia said: May 4, 2009
 Violin
16 posts

My 4 year-old son started learning violin 7 months ago, and is progressing nicely. However, he does not behave well on the stage during recital. He plays his pieces fine on the stage, but he wants to do something extra that doesn’t have to do with performing music. (Hopping around, playing with bow, etc.) I’ve tried to help him behave better with reward and/or with negative consequence, but hasn’t worked in the last two recitals. I don’t know if he wants attention to himself by doing so, or if it is a way for him to cope with nervousness of being on the stage. Have you seen someone like him? Is this something he will grow out of with time? Any advice or encouragement for me, anyone?

Jennifer said: May 4, 2009
Jennifer Moberg
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Sukhumvit Soi 42 Soi Barbot 1, 38
71 posts

Hi Nadia-

I have several children like this in my studio! My best advise is to give him as many performance opportunities (formal and informal) as possible- playing for grandparents, church, school, with friends, anything. Also, bring him to as may concerts as are available so that he can see how professional musicians conduct themselves on stage. Kids learn all of their concepts through repetition and exposure- stage conduct can be the same!

Good Luck-

Jennifer

Nadia in Portland

My 4 year-old son started learning violin 7 months ago, and is progressing nicely. However, he does not behave well on the stage during recital. He plays his pieces fine on the stage, but he wants to do something extra that doesn’t have to do with performing music. (Hopping around, playing with bow, etc.) I’ve tried to help him behave better with reward and/or with negative consequence, but hasn’t worked in the last two recitals. I don’t know if he wants attention to himself by doing so, or if it is a way for him to cope with nervousness of being on the stage. Have you seen someone like him? Is this something he will grow out of with time? Any advice or encouragement for me, anyone?

“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.”

www.ViolinsAndChinrest.com

said: May 9, 2010
 15 posts

My son was the same way, a big embarassment to his parents in regards to his stage manner. But he did grow out of it within a year! Time works wonders for preschoolers in many ways. It brought me tears to finally see him go up the stage, bow, perform, bow, and come down the stage without any uncalled comedy act! Perseverance does pay off.

Sara said: May 10, 2010
 Violin
191 posts

Yes, to the above posts.
Praise the parts of the performance he did well without bringing up what he didn’t do well—such as hopping. This way if he’s hopping for attention then you’re not giving him the desired attention. Sometimes kids will do anything for any kind of attention—positive or negative.
Each time a performance opportunity arrives, instruct him as to how he enters the stage and exits the stage—try making this fun. Say things like “walk tall like a King (or other character he like that has good stage presence)
You may even hold “practice performances”. If you can’t use the actual stage, then make one. 4 yr olds usually have great imaginations, so even something as simple as putting a small rug on the floor as the “stage” and then practice performing—even just practicing walking on and walking off without actually playing can be great practice.

lastly, I don’t know of any teenagers, preteens, and even 8 yr olds that still hop around and act silly on stage. I would think that with enough exposure to performances even if nothing else were said or done, he would eventually grow out of it. They’re only 4 once—so enjoy the road with him.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

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