Graduating from a quarter size to a half size violin

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said: Nov 28, 2009
 24 posts

Hello Everyone,

I am currently about to make the transition from a 1/4 size violin to a 1/2 size for my son and I’m VERY nervous. My son has been playing for about a year and a half and until September we were playing Twinkles. Then all of the sudden, out of no where, my son started making rapid progress and we’re currently playing Long Long Ago. I have no idea what has happened. I am still trying to comprehend that this is the same litte boy who played countless hours of Twinkles. We listen to the CD A LOT. Not only is he playing better, but he’s truly enjoying himself, proud of his violin playing, and taking interest in classical music overall. His teacher is strict about moving him forward from song to song, and I completely agree with this (we are not in a race) but he’s playing so very well lately that she’s been allowing him to move forward.

Not only has my son’s violin skills grown, but he’s had a physical growth spurt as well :) . He is now a very tall 7 year old and we can no longer stick with the 1/4 size, we’ve stuck with it for as long as we possibly can. I am very nervous about us moving to a larger size. I believe that part of the reason why he’s doing so well lately is because he’s enthusiastic about his skills as a little violinist. I’m afraid that if we go up a size we may have to battle the same technical hurdles we did before (making clean crosses, keep a straight wrist, correct finger placement, fingers curved, beautiful bow hold, etc…). We used to really struggle through practice sessions. The struggling has diminished greatly and practice isn’t always a walk in the park now, but it is a lot better. These were all things that he found very frustrating before.

Do children usually struggle with going up a size? Or do most make a smooth transition? If kids do struggle what are some things that you usually do to help ease the transition? What are your opinions on the new fast progress? I never got the chance to talk about this in depth with the teacher. Thankfully we will be a break for the semester so we will have plenty of time to practice all of the songs with his new violin, that is why the teacher instructed us to make the move right now. So we can have plenty of time to practice and start a new semester with a new size.

Thank you for your time. I’m interested in hearing your feedback.

Jennifer Visick said: Nov 29, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I find most kids don’t struggle UNLESS they have either waited too long or not long enough move to a larger size. Your teacher should be able to help you through the transition.

It’s like getting new shoes… sort of. Do you worry that your child will quit walking smoothly and start tripping and falling all over again like they did when first learning to walk? Not usually! There may be a few awkward moments but they will soon pass, and children don’t go back to learning how to balance upright and walk all over again when they get a new pair of shoes. It is much more comfortable to walk in shoes that fit than to walk in shoes that are either too small or too large. The same goes for playing string instruments.

said: Nov 29, 2009
 24 posts

Thank you :D. I like your analogy about shoes. I have the tendency of worrying a bit too much about things. I am just so happy he’s making progress and interested in all of this and I don’t want that to go away. We have an entire month off between semesters so this will give us plenty of time to practice with the 1/2 size.

Thank you for your help.

Jennifer Visick said: Nov 29, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

deenaz81

all of the sudden, out of no where, my son started making rapid progress and we’re currently playing Long Long Ago. I have no idea what has happened. I am still trying to comprehend that this is the same litte boy who played countless hours of Twinkles. We listen to the CD A LOT.

BTW, if you read “Nurtured by Love”, this is exactly the phenomenon that Suzuki is talking about when he says something like “ability breeds ability”. During Twinkle and Pre-Twinkle, students learn not only the basic setup (posture, bow hold, etc) and the music itself, but they also learn how to learn. Suddenly the setup only needs consistent but minor corrections instead of needing to be built from the ground up—and as the listening starts to “mature”, the student has gained not only the ability to play Twinkle, but also the ability to focus on the music while letting the posture be a “habit” in the background—and what’s more, the ability to learn a song by ear.

People might not think very much about this, but the ability to learn by ear is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced just like the ability to learn by reading. This, plus setting up posture, takes up the bulk of the Pre-Twinkle and Twinkle time.

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