Very young violin pupil-I need help!


said: May 28, 2010
 145 posts

I have taken on very little student she’s 2 and a half.I was really reluctant to take her on,her mother wanted it so much and I’m the only Suzuki teacher in the area.we had one trial lesson and then she came for her first lesson yesterday.I taught her the bow hold by putting ‘bow hold stickers’ =corn plasters.she didn’t really hold the bow but she did do ‘up like a rocket’.then we sang three kodaly songs one for the pulse with a about a snail and a mouse ( fast and slow music)and one for the rhythm with a clicker thing I have.what should I expect from a child this young?should I keep singing the same songs when she comes or keep changing them and how slow will she progress? Will it be a couple of years before she’ll be able to play twinkle?! Incidently her mother didn’t want to play the violin to help home practise,I havnt had this before, mothers hAve always wanted to play too.

Jennifer Visick said: May 29, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

it sounds like you’re off to a good start with the songs. If it were me, I would use the same songs several weeks in a row, then assess interest and maybe introduce a new one while keeping a most of the same familiar ones….

  1. I would insist that the mother (or whoever the “at home practice teacher” is going to be) start taking parallel lessons and learn to play all of the Twinkles at the very least. If they want Suzuki lessons at age 2 and a half, that is what needs to happen. How can the mom create the right environment if she isn’t practicing and playing at home herself? (Unless mom is already able to play the instrument?)

  2. Establish a lesson “routine”—an opening bow, a time for songs with hand motions (new and old songs); a time for working on focus and quietness; a time for playing rhythmic games; a time for naming parts of the instrument or case or sheet music in Book 1; a time for matching pitch singing; a time for whatever you do else during the lessons, a time to sit and color or play with something quietly while mom gets a lesson; etc. and establish a sign for ending the lesson (bow and say “thank you” is what I use at the moment). Make lessons short … perhaps do “multiple” lessons at one lesson (your turn, mom’s turn, your turn, etc).

  3. Break things into micro-steps if necessary… time frame is always hard to predict, but expect smaller steps than for an older child. Remember you’re still helping to teach basic motor skills and balance even more to a 2 year old than to a 3 or 4 y.o.

Sara said: May 30, 2010
191 posts

I’ve only had one 2 1/2 year old so far, so I know there are others a lot more experienced out there. But for me, I require that the parent learn up to Twinkle Theme before I even start the 2 or 3 year old. They bring the child to lessons each time though. If they don’t want to comply with that, then they have to wait until the student is 6 or 7. That’s it. I’m very glad and relieved that I stuck with this with my student. It has turned out to be a very positive experience for both the now three year old and her mother. The mother enjoys it so much, she has chosen to continue on with lessons. The Mother performs in the recitals right along with everybody. This way, the child sees the parent practicing at home and doing all the things she will be dong and builds a desire, like Dr. Suzuki said to do what Mommy does. Also, it gives the parent a very real understanding of what is important in practice and how to hold the instrument and so forth. In the long run it is so much easier!

As far as how long it takes, it will be VERY slow at first. My little student can manage one tucca tucca stop stop on one string right now. (She’s been taking for 6 months)

As far as learning the bow hand, I slide the bow into the hand so the student does not even know how to independently make a bow hand at this time. She is very reliant on me or her mother at this point. Once the bow is in her hand, we do “pinky jumps” and bow exercises to strengthen the hand.

Hope this helps!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

said: May 30, 2010
 145 posts

Yes I have decided that at the next lesson I am going to insist that she learns up to twinkle even is it’s just on her little girls violin.I think she will come to the realization very quickley that this Is the only way with her child being so young.I was going to look up some information and lend her a book about helping children pracising etc.I hope that this will lead her to make the right decision. Thank you for your advise.

said: May 30, 2010
 89 posts

Mom may be uncomfortable, but you can probably get her to try if you frame your request as “something that will help the little one learn faster.” Mom probably thinks of her role as sitting supportively in the folding chair cheering on her little prodigy, so you need to convince her that taking the risk to play (on the kid’s instrument) has nothing to do with her own competence or self-esteem, it’s all to “help the baby.” She brought her very young child to you, so with the right approach, Mom could end up as one of your biggest advocates!

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