quality or quantity

Nobuaki said: Apr 12, 2006
Nobuaki TanakaViolin, Viola
Chicago, IL
115 posts

hello

I am confused about some teaching aspect. I wonder which should aim when I teach. which are quality and quantity. If I focus quantity, some students start playing very rough. But if I foucs on quality, studnets progress slower…. I am very confused right now…. pleae advise

thank you

said: Apr 12, 2006
 122 posts

I would always aim for quality above quantity. Having kids learn quickly just to get through the books results in sloppy playing, and even if the child doesn’t notice it now she will later on and I think this is bad for a child’s self-esteem. I reccomend taking an apprencticeship course at an institute if you need help with pacing students. Or, if there is a trainer or a teacher you admire in your town perhaps you could observe them and/or have them observe you.

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

Mariam said: Apr 12, 2006
Mariam GregorianViolin
Ashburn, VA
34 posts

Well, it depends on how you define “progress”…

Progress is often looked upon as how fast a student can go through repertoire. This is not my philosophy. I see progress as obtaining skills/technique. We have all seen students that can plow through Seitz Concerti without having any of the skills to do so. Compare that to a child who is playing Minuet 3 with polished technique and true musicianship. I would say that the child playing Minuet 3 is actually more advanced, and will have so many more opportunities open to them in the long run. It is incredibly painful to go back and fix very basic things that should have been taught in the first place.

There will always be parents that will pressure you to move their child through the pieces more quickly. It’s sometimes hard for them to understand the advantages of being meticulous when they see other children flying through the repertoire. When parents voice concern about this, I explain what advancement really is, as opposed to just playing songs. Most of them are grateful to have a teacher that is meticulous about the things that truly matter. Some are not, and they go to another teacher who will move them through pieces at a more rapid pace. This is very frustrating, but you can’t force people to care about quality violin playing. They have to come to that conclusion on their own.

So, to answer your question, quality all the way! ;-)

Melissa said: Apr 12, 2006
 Piano, Flute
151 posts

Quality.

But there does come a point, for what ever reason, a child is just not advancing and progressing very well at all, lets say on Twinkles (and this is piano, mind you) that I have had to go on with the next piece.
This is very rare.
I do have one student that could probably be helped with vision therapy. She keeps forgeting a line or when to end the variation. She has been with me a year! And still most of the time can not play her Twinkles all the way through completely. But her technique is excellent. She has gone on and is now starting French Childern’s Song. Her other pieces are hit and miss like her Twinkles as far remembering them, hearing them. So I am hoping they will all come together. (Her Mother says she listens to the CD everyday, so that’s not the issue.)
Now like I said this is rare, there are exceptions, like this case here. Most often we have our pieces played quite well before going on to the next, and always reviewing the old, keeping them at performance level.
Definately Quality versus Quantity.

Nobuaki said: Apr 12, 2006
Nobuaki TanakaViolin, Viola
Chicago, IL
115 posts

Thank you for all response

I also wonder the way Dr. Suzuki taught. 8 or 9 years sometimes play Mozart concerto. So seems he is focusing on quantity. But also his students have good quality also. So I wonder how he focus both quantity and quality at same time.

thank you

said: Apr 12, 2006
 122 posts

Well, his students practiced for hours a day even during the preschool years. If you have a 3 year old practicing 2 hours a day it’s likely she too would be playing Mozart at age 8.

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

Nobuaki said: Apr 12, 2006
Nobuaki TanakaViolin, Viola
Chicago, IL
115 posts

Then the question is how Dr. Suzuki gives motivation to practice 2 or 3 hours a day to children? Sometimes very difficut to them to practice 10 minutes a day for 4 years old. If I can figure out how, it would be very helpful for me. Keep motivation high is very tough things.

Thank you

said: Apr 12, 2006
 122 posts

Well, there are huge cultural differences between Japan and the US, especially when Dr Suzuki was alive and teaching. It wasn’t a question of motivating the kids-the teacher assigned it, the parent followed the teachers orders and found a way to practice with their child. Dr Suzuki used to say that it’s the parent’s job to motivate the child.

Make sure you’re guiding parents about how much practice to do a day and how to do it. It’s the parent’s responsibility to follow through at home.

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

Melissa said: Apr 12, 2006
 Piano, Flute
151 posts

Good point junebug—I was at a workshop years ago and I remember one of the teachers saying the Suzuki method is parent education.
You as the teacher are educating the parent to teach the child. Not the teacher teaching the child.

Nobuaki said: Apr 14, 2006
Nobuaki TanakaViolin, Viola
Chicago, IL
115 posts

Hello again

Do you think parents in Japan and the United States treat the teacher differently? I taught several asian students and parents respect me more. For example, if I say two things, they do seven things next week. American parents sometimes do one things if I tell two things. They also don’t respect too much… I think…I may be wrong. please advise.

thank you

Melissa said: Apr 14, 2006
 Piano, Flute
151 posts

Yes, your right. The cultures are so different.
Generally speaking:
Asian culture is much more discipined and parents generally teach their children to respect and not question authority, unlike the American culture of today.
Why is this?
Throughout history, Asian culture has been established through civil and cultural obedience.
If you look at Amercian history, it is built around civil disobedience.
Asian culture is very ancient and deep rooted.
America, in historical terms, is a very young society, built from the beginning (revolutionary war and escaping oppression from Europe) upon civil disobedience. Consequently, Americans are more rebellious and independent with their thoughts and views.

Laura said: Apr 15, 2006
 Piano
358 posts

I would say that on average, in Asian culture (which I am very close to), teachers are respected, almost honoured. Both students and parents look up to the teacher. The student defers to the teacher relatively easily, particularly since the parents regard the teacher as someone with something to teach. So in a Suzuki program, respect for the teacher is quite regularly modeled by the parents, so the students just pick up on that.

In Western culture (particularly in more recent years), teachers are often regarded more as service providers, and the parent/child are consumers. Parents expect something of the teacher, and will take their business elsewhere if the teacher is not seen as effective. This is tricky in Suzuki, when much of the responsibility lies with the parents at home. Lots of communication is needed to help the parents realize what an integral part they play in the team.

Big disclaimer: I’m only speaking in generalities, and am slightly exaggerating just to make the point. Of course there are many exceptions, and every situation is different. But there are definite cultural differences, and tangible factors (e.g. cultural history) behind those reasons.

Betsy Deming said: Apr 22, 2006
Betsy Deming KobayashiViolin, Viola
1 posts

Quality first!
But now I have some middle school age boys in Book 5 and 6 who seem to hate polishing and working on beautiful tone. They learn very quickly and are most excited about learning new pieces. So I am trying to let them learn without too much detail, working on one point of polish with the new piece. I expect there will be a time when they mature.

To everything there is a season…

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