But it sounded better at home!!!

Adam said: Apr 17, 2010
Adam Davidowitz
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Chicago, IL
2 posts

I had a student (he’s in the middle of Book 1) today who usually plays well. Usually no problems playing review pieces. However, when checking all of his review, it sounded like he was still learning them. Forgetting tons of notes/fingerings, bowings… A case of “It sounded better at home”. I’m sure we’ve all had this happen.

I asked the father if it sounded better at home, and he said that my student sounded great at home.

I was stymied about how to progress with the lesson. What does one do in this situation? How can you go on to the working piece (I didn’t) when all the review pieces sound awful?

I’d love to hear everyone’s comments on this type of situation.

Adam

Jennifer Visick said: Apr 18, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I’ve currently taken to using various analogies to explain that a good run-through at home “costs” less practice time and focus than a good run-through at the lesson, and then I go on to point out that a good performance (which could be defined as “a good run-through in front of an audience”) costs even more practice time and focus than at the lesson.

In other words—practice till it sounds good at home, then practice some more.

Or…

Change things till it sounds good at home, THEN start practicing (rehearsing).

Ruth Brons said: Apr 19, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

I like to emphasize the specific teaching points, or skills, that are the reason we teach those early pieces.
If a student and parent say a piece was going great a home, even though it is not going great at the lesson, I say that I totally believe them and that I am glad they enjoyed it at home. Hey, it’s happened to all of us.
BUT the truth of the moment is that ….. and here is where I edit, edit, edit….that there is one skill that Piece X requires that we need to focus on and refine a bit right now. Then we look for how to apply that skill in the newer piece. It’s all about making connections, and the student realizing how a sequenced repertoire works. Students not only need to review AND move forward each week, they need to know WHY the review is essential to the going forward.

Best Wishes,

Ruth Brons
Things 4 Strings bow hold accessories
http://www.things4strings.com

said: Apr 19, 2010
 18 posts

I’m not a teacher, but it sounds like your student just had a bad day especially since you say he normally plays well. I’ve seen my own child do the same thing. I think it can be nerves. Once several mistakes are made, it is so easy to make more! Maybe if this happens again, take a break from the review pieces and try something different for a few minutes—music reading, etc., then go back to review with a fresh start.

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