Your best answer please.

Joyce said: May 7, 2007
Joyce MizerViolin, Piano
Sarasota, FL
6 posts

Generally, what is the usual length of time your beginners work on pre-twinkles ? Any further remarks can be added in the post.

said: Sep 30, 2008
 36 posts

This is what I taking about. Working on Twinkle Twinkle for over a year. Shameful. Use BEGINNER VIOLIN THEORY FOR CHILDREN by MelBay in combination with Suzuki and teach the kids how to read the notes.

Jennifer Visick said: Oct 1, 2008
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

“Pre-Twinkle” means working on many skills using a short songs, rhymes, and musical learning games appropriate for the age of the student. Very young students, such as those age 3-5, who are working on Pre-Twinkle skills, are often not ready for reading music (that is, developmentally their eyes cannot track across a line on a page in a book), although they are usually quite developmentally ready to work on new motor skills.

It is not shameful at all for a student to learn at their own pace, whether it be building a solid foundation by working on Pre-Twinkle skills for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, a year, or more. Some children learn faster than others, depending on age, maturity, quality of practice, home environment, motivation, social reinforcement, developmental pace, and the amount of time they are able to practice.

said: Oct 1, 2008
 36 posts

I teach variation A and the Theme and skip the rest because the children do not have an understand of the other rhythms. My students must clap and vocalize everything they play. Quarter notes, half notes, and eighth notes are ok, but why does Suzuki start with sixteen notes? One—e—an—da counting should be taught later! Triplets should be taught later as well. This is why it takes so long to master all the variations. Do you think it’s possible that the kids will forget the all of these various rhythms? Of course, so why even teach them all of them? Why teach all of them when they don’t understand them, and they teach them if they are going to forget them? This is my problem with Suzuki. Teach all of them to middle and high school students not to K-3.

Tiffany said: Oct 1, 2008
Tiffany Osborn
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Los Angeles, CA
41 posts

I think it’s totally fine to use as many or as few of the variations as you see fit, every teacher will have different priorities and I don’t think we all need to do the same thing to have successful students. I personally find using all the variations useful for several reasons. One is that it buys you time while you are developing the skills to play the violin- not just learning how to play pieces. If you judge a student on how many pieces they can play, then you would not want to spend “playing twinkle for a year”. If you judge a student on how well they play, you will want to spend as much time as necessary to provide a solid foundation of skills, no matter the piece. But having different ways to play twinkle lets them feel that they are doing something new, even though it is the same song. Also brilliantly worked into Twinkle is going from E to D, 4 times in the piece- often a difficult feat for little fingers. So doing it 5 or 6 different ways can be helpful. The rate of which this happens will totally depend on the individual child, their age, how many times a day and for how long they are practicing, etc, etc, such as RaineJen said. And the same goes for pretwinkle preparation.

As for the usefulness of the rhythms themselves, I would not want to withhold them. Part of my pretwinkle routine includes clapping and recognizing what they look like when they are written, preparing them for reading. Then when we do reading, like ‘I Can Read Music’ I draw on that preparation to make the recognition easier. for example, when we read an eighth followed by 2 16ths, they know it’s ’strawberrry’ and how that sounds- so the only thing I need to teach them is how to count it when they are looking at measures- and here yes, I start with quarter and eighth, followed by 16th.

I don’t think that 16th notes are inherently harder than quarter or eighth. Why even teach variation A if all you care about is playing the notes to Twinkle? I use variation E (formerly variation D) as a teaching point with rhythm cards- if you replace the eighth notes of var. A with another set of 16th notes, it becomes variation E. I also stress the difference between the beat and the rhythms. And I suppose a student would forget the rhythms if they never played them again- but each of these rhythms are the basic components of rhythm that are encountered all over- not as much in book 1, but I give them lots of reading material when they are reading, which for me is usually by the middle to end of book 1- and for example in fiddle tunes, the ’strawberry’ rhythm (var C) is all over.

It’s just a different way of going about teaching, and I would not want to give up these tools, but everyone is free to teach as they see fit- we’re all going for the same goal. Some will use the Suzuki books just as a collection of pieces, and some will teach it as a method after training and understanding of how to do so.

Laura said: Oct 2, 2008
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

ddm8053

I teach variation A and the Theme and skip the rest because the children do not have an understand of the other rhythms. My students must clap and vocalize everything they play. Quarter notes, half notes, and eighth notes are ok, but why does Suzuki start with sixteen notes? One—e—an—da counting should be taught later! Triplets should be taught later as well. This is why it takes so long to master all the variations. Do you think it’s possible that the kids will forget the all of these various rhythms? Of course, so why even teach them all of them? Why teach all of them when they don’t understand them, and they teach them if they are going to forget them? This is my problem with Suzuki. Teach all of them to middle and high school students not to K-3.

But ddm, the reality is that the kids DON’T forget all of these Twinkle rhythms. Nor do they forget the rest of the entire book, or even several books, worth of pieces once they have learned them. And they DO master them. Not only that, but the earlier pieces start sounding better as they can play them later on with a more advanced technique and musicality. (Of course, I’m assuming a good Suzuki situation is in place) It is like that with any language.

As for how much they understand them—well, if they can feel them enough to reproduce them accurately, isn’t that enough understanding of sorts? Take the Star Spangled Banner—do we really expect young, non-musically trained kids to sing this song that is full of dotted rhythms, weird intervals, and even key modulations? And yet they do—they just “get it”. And so it is even more so with musically trained kids under Suzuki. The benefit is how much they can play WITHOUT formally having to understand it at first. They learn the intellectual concepts later, when developmentally and indiviudally appropriate, but are already fully playing by then. It is like that with any language.

In response to the example you raised, we don’t teach one-e-and-a counting to a 3 or 4-year old. We don’t even teach counting at that age. We just tell them to play “Pepperoni Pizza”, supported by lots of listening to the rhythm on their CD, and they learn to play “one-e-and-a” perfectly without realizing it. When they are 6 or 7 and we show them one-e-and-a counting, and how it sounds like the Pepperoni Pizza that they can now play in their sleep, in any number of keys and perhaps even several positions, with perfect bowing, tone, and intonation, they look at the written rhythm and say, “Oh, OK, I get it.” End of story.

Make sense?

said: Oct 2, 2008
 36 posts

What kind of perfect tone and bowing are you going to get out of a 1/32 1/16 1/8 violin? Not much of a tone. What kind of bowing are you going to get? I don’t think it will be perfect. I see your point about the results, but I think the results of playing the pre twinkle rhythms are not impressive when you think about how much time spent and by the fact that it is by ear.

Tiffany said: Oct 2, 2008
Tiffany Osborn
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Los Angeles, CA
41 posts

I disagree with ddm- when are you going to show them how to bow straight, not pressing the bow, moving from the elbow and not shoulder, not clutching the neck, fingers over the strings, placing fingers correctly and in tune, and all the other little things that it takes to make a beautiful tone and the technique to progress- book 4? Not me! That’s the bulk of what the pre twinkle stage is about for me- how to play the violin, not the notes to a song. But we do it in a fun way, step by step- using little songs. And the parents trust me, because my students sound fantastic at the concerts, even Lightly Row, even from very small violins- I get the best sound possible. New strings and a decent quality help, but for me it is teaching them how to listen to the sound, coming from weight of the arm, not pressing, straight on the highway from the very first ‘mississippi hot dog’. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me it’s well worth the investment of even a year in the pretwinke/twinkle for a lifetime of beautiful playing. (I would also like to add a caveat- I am very conscientious of letting them feel like they progress- it’s not like I make them play twinkle over and over until their technique is impeccable, we’re always working on something even in book 4- there’s always more to do)

Laura said: Oct 2, 2008
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

You are right—of course a small violin isn’t going to sound like a larger one. But I’m not refering to tone in terms of comparing one instrument to another. (For that matter, what kind of tone are most of us going to get on average full sized violins compared to a real Stradivarius?)

What we’re talking about here is a tone that is pure, strong, not scratchy, and in tune. Third and fourth finger notes that ring. Playing on only one string at at time. Not overly pushy or under-gripped. Musical and expressive. In terms of bowing: straight bows, good position and action from the arm/wrist/finger. Fast and slow bowing as musically appropriate. Proper bow divisions.

All that sort of thing. And it’s entirely accomplishable on even a 1/32 size violin. I’ve witnessed it many times over with many students in different programs and with different teachers. Pre-twinkle forms the building block for this sort of thing, and it carries forward throughout a student’s studies. Even at my child’s school, I have had heard some beaufifully performed Bach Minuets (Book 1) on 1/16 and 1/32 size instruments. Sure, the instruments sound a little irritating because of their size. But the child is playing the violin well, and that’s what matters.

(Of course things are never “perfect” because nothing is ever 100% consistent even for professionals. But by “perfect” I mean that they have the skills to do these things correctly with a reasonable amount of dependability.)

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