recitals & little ones?


said: Apr 11, 2006
 18 posts

I don’t take on the wee ones as a rule, but was persuaded to include a couple in my youngest group class at the school where I teach. (My experience with them, so far, has only reinforced my opinion that private is the way to go with many preschoolers/kindergarteners.) Due to the lack of individual attention I can give, getting them to articulate at least one Miss. Hot Dog does sometimes feel like a real accomplishment.

I wouldn’t normally stress out on their progress (as they are, afterall, 4 & 5 yr. olds). However, I am required to put these guys in a recital soon. What recital “pieces” can you give a child this age, being so far away from mastering one variation of Twinkle?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated by this frazzled teacher. :confused:

Connie Sunday said: Apr 11, 2006
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I teach the 3-4 year olds the Suzuki bowings just on the E string. If you play the Twinkle with all the variations, the E string pedal doesn’t sound badly at all, even with a couple of dissonances. And they’re happy to be playing with the older kids.

Seating, the Spring recital I’m having the chamber orchestra sit in orchestra form, with the little kids in rows in front of them. I bought the string quartet books for Books 1 and 2 and the whole group is playing that, with the little kids bowing on the E. Then the little ones will sit down on the floor in front of the chamber orchestra.

My adult students sit on the outside rows of the chamber orchestra and will help me supervise. For solos, the kids get up and go to the piano or play in their respective chamber groups.

I also do something maybe odd; I start on G major scale two octaves when they get to Rhody. And we play that with all the Suzuki bowings. This speeds up the process of acquiring technique considerably and is easy to do by playing on the tapes, with high two on G and D, and low 2 on A and E. It really becomes a game, and some competition throw in, as my students all know each other.

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Grace said: Apr 11, 2006
110 posts

Also, it doesn’t have to be playing music. Usually for my pre-twinklers, all they do in their first recital is take a bow.

You could have them “perform” a demonstration of some bow exercises or position steps (getting the violin from rest position to shoulder position—most teachers have 4 -5 steps), holding the violin under their chin for 10 counts, etc…

Whatever you have them do, the audience will love it anyway because they’re so cute. :)

said: Apr 11, 2006
 18 posts

Thank you for these suggestions mshikibu and keroppi. You’ve helped me to realize that I am still expecting a little too much from these kids, and that it’s OK to let them play just an open string or simply bow. That certainly takes some of the pressure off!


Grace said: Apr 11, 2006
110 posts

For me, the main goal for a pre-twinkler’s first recital is for them to just take in the “recital experience”. To watch the other kids, to see what is expected, the big audience, clapping, the special attention, etc. If they even get up on the stage, it is a big step! But it’s more about letting the child observe and take in what “performing” is about; planting the seeds for the future…

I’ll explain this to the parent so they don’t feel like it’s a “waste of time” or something if their kid just goes up there and takes a bow or does some simple bow exercises.

said: Apr 12, 2006
 32 posts

I have my little ones play the “E String Concerto”—Variation A on the E string 8X, while I play C#, D, C#, B, C#, D, C#, A with the same rhythm underneath them. They LOVE telling everyone that they are playing the E String Concerto (sounds so important!) and feel a great sense of accomplishment after it is over. The greatest part? Virtually stress-free for me—I just play along and wink at them when it is time to stop ;-)
Good luck!

said: Apr 13, 2006
 38 posts

The E string Concerto is a huge hit in my studio- there’s an accompaniment somewhere on this forum- you could do a search for it. ( I think I printed out my copies of the piano after a google search.)

Even simpler than the E string Concerto is “Pop Goes the Weasel”- it can be played by any beginner who can get the violin up in chin hold. The teacher plays pop goes the weasel, starting on open D, and the children do the pops with a left hand pizz at the right time. The kids and parents love it, and it’s their first experience playing together as a group. Set the student’s hand in fifth position, and have them pluck right where the harmonic is. (I put a small tape there on the e string.) It helps them form a nice left hand even before they start using fingers, and teaches rhythm, focus, etc. I did Pop Goes the Weasel with a four brand new beginners after about 10-12 weeks of lessons at our fall recital, and it turned out really well.

said: Apr 13, 2006
 104 posts

Maybe if you have a play-in at the end of your recital, the little ones can just join in at the end? Then they’d be up on stage, right in the front, but not alone and whatever they play (open strings just) won’t be heard anyway over the sound of the other kids playing. We just went to an institute, and the play-in at the end was great. By the time they announced “Anyone who has a violin, come on stage” the little ones were practically in a stampede to get up there. No pressure, no coaxing, they just couldn’t wait to be up there with all the other kids.

said: Apr 14, 2006
 13 posts

Mama Musica

…there’s an accompaniment somewhere on this forum- you could do a search for it. ( I think I printed out my copies of the piano after a google search.)

I have three pre-twinklers as well and I was worried about what they can play for their first recital coming very soon. I am very thankful to find all these great ideas! How did you find an accompaniment on Google? What did you search as? I am very curious.

Would this be something they can get ready in 2-3 weeks?

said: Apr 15, 2006
 38 posts

I think I just typed “e string concerto” into google, and one of the first hits was the one from this forum.

And it really is just two measures of pino accompaniment, and eight times playing the Twinkle A rhythm. The hardest part is often getting them to start and stop with the piano. The kids and parents love it though.

Meg said: Apr 19, 2006
Meg Lanfear
Suzuki Association Member
37 posts

I do the AEA song that Mimi Zwieg does with her beginners (see It’s great for shaping the left hand (it uses left hand pizz.) and even my 3.5 year olds can do it with a balanced and relaxed posture. The accomp on pno is hot cross buns. Can be transposed as well.

Using left pinky with hand against vln shoulder (curved around). With a 4 beat pulse:
AEA (stomp)
AEA (stomp)
AAEE AEA (Stomp)

said: Apr 20, 2006
 18 posts

Thank you all for such great suggestions! I will certainly give them a try. :)

Cynthia Faisst said: Apr 21, 2006
Cynthia Faisst
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Irvine, CA
127 posts

Our Twinklers and PreTwinklers have been sitting in the front row of the audience during the first part of our recitals watching the older children play pieces that become more and more familiar as the recital progresses. It’s no wonder after seeing such roll models that most of the Twinklers can’t wait to go up and join us.

When we get to the Twinkle Variations the Twinklers come up to the front of the stage and play on thier choice of open strings. I have them play every other rythmic pattern, (play one, listen to the next one an so on) so they get lots of practice at stopping and starting and listening to see if they are matching up their bows with the other players.

I also have the PreTwinklers come up and do activities at each level they are working on. Some are bowing their Twinkles on their shoulders with their bows. Some are sitting and arm sliding their Twinkles. The newest ones are invited to tap the Twinkles on their knees with everyone. IF they are shy they can even sit in mom’s lap and do it.

When we get to Twinkle Theme the PreTwinklers prominade with their box violins with mom ( who is holding a gummy treat in a snack bag) When the music comes to and end they find their feet on their foot chart and put up their box violins, mom sets the gummy treat on their violin boxes and we play Twinkle Theme one more time, while they show how they can stand with good posture.

At the very end, PreTwinklers get out their pencil bows. We pass out the gummy life savers for the tip of our bows and do “Up like a rocket”

That has become our traditional grand finally. The little ones never seem to tire of it. Its all about building up aniticipation.

Even a child who is taking their sweet time getting through those PreTwinkes and Twinkles can usually say that they are progressing to a new stage or level at the next recital.

This is a very important way with which I can educate new parents who attend our recitals by showing some of the pedagogical steps that will be leading their children to the violin. It makes them feel that this is a do-able process that their child can accomplish.

More over, there are toddlers and new preschoolers in the audience who are often very attracted to the animation of our activities. One little girl who came to visit us exclaimed to her parent, “Mommy! , I can do that!

Ms. Cynthia
Talent Education Center: Suzuki Violin
Director of Santa Ana Suzuki Strings located at the
Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center
Volunteer, bring music to under-served communities around the world. Create Sound Investments and Futures.

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