Students sharing a string instrument?

Barb said: Feb 11, 2010
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Hi Parents and Teachers,

Have you had to deal with a situation where siblings had to share a string instrument? How well did it work? I have students who may be doing this next year with a cello. They are boys who will be 6 and 7 1/2. I can imagine some difficulties, yet of course it is done with piano all the time!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
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Michelle said: Feb 11, 2010
 
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
25 posts

I’ve had siblings (6 and 8 year old boys) share an 1/8th while they were on an extended trip to India. It was mostly for the convenience of only traveling with one violin. The younger was just moving up to the 1/8th size, and the older boy got his 1/4 upon returning. They had no trouble taking turns and got quite a bit of practicing done while there. The main drawback is that they can’t play together. The older brother has been learning the duet parts and they really do enjoy playing together. Given the option between taking no instruments to India, or sharing one, sharing was a good thing. At home though, it’s probably best that each child has their own instrument. How will they both participate in group with only one instrument?

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Julia said: May 25, 2010
Julia ProleikoViolin, Piano, Viola
Saint Louis, MO
22 posts

…just to point out: more than one person can play the piano at a time (i.e. 4 hands)…although it is fun to do (and I do this very frequently with my violin students), playing duets, etc. is not exactly feasible on only one violin/viola/cello (my children and many of my students would take that as a personal challenge :). You would also have difficulty to having them play at the same time at group, institutes or orchestra. It also gets tricky when it comes to practicing, when one of them grows (piano stays the same, but string instruments change with the size of the student), and learning to be responsible for their own instrument (although taking turns and sharing are also good skills). If you had to out of extreme necessity (i.e. making the difference between learning the instrument and not learning the instrument), you could manage it, but I would definitely NOT recommend it.
[Then comes the whole question as to whether it is better to have each child study their own instrument altogether, for example violin vs viola, cello, piano, etc.]

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 8, 2011
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

Just to be contrary (and just for fun), here are some people who obviously think that “duets, etc.” are perfectly feasible… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5MLNMgpywk

Coutier said: Jul 8, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

This is GREAT! I do play Twinkle with my students on one violin and two bows: student playing Twinkle on A and E with his own violin and bow; I, standing facing the student and playing second voice on the G, sliding my indexfinger over the string. Great fun, wakes them up big time!

coutier

Rachel Schott said: Jul 8, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Oooooh Coutier that sound like fun! I’ll be trying that one for sure!

Barb said: Jul 14, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Just to update, the parents have realized the difficulties inherent with sharing a string instrument. The younger is ready for the next size and they plan to get a 2nd one. Although I haven’t started group classes yet, I hope to next year, and we DO play as a group in recitals, and I also often have families play duets, trios, etc.

Stringfever is fun, but I think that method would only go so far…. :-) It would be fun to try something like that or at least Coutier’s idea in group class!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

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