What do you do when a child forgets a piece?

Barb said: Apr 20, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Obviously, review at home has not been supervised. This child has had little to no progress this year, but is now starting to want to finish book 1. He did a great job with his first week of Etude. But he can’t remember O Come Little Children. The bowing, of course, is all forgotten, along with the fingerings. I think the up-stop-up bowing is too important and don’t want him to move on without re-learning it. Would you or do you make a child re-learn a piece they have forgotten due to lack of review? (He’s got a few other weak places too, but I think as long as I make sure we review those in lesson time they’ll come back pretty quickly.)

This is the student I’ve mentioned before who refused to correct his bow hold, so I’m not going to move him past Etude until that is corrected, anyway. He is starting to sometimes cooperate about the bow hold, but it might be a long time before he will do it without a reminder.

Thanks.

Barb
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Victoria said: Apr 21, 2011
Victoria PolingViola, Violin
2 posts

A piano teacher friend introduced me to her review sheet: she has every day of the week written across the top, and a column with all the songs in Book 1 down the left hand side. She goes down the list and indicates which song to review, which day, and what to pay attention to in review (like Up-Up bows). Each week, you could have the student self-evaluate how well he did in reviewing each piece, and he can help create the review sheet, knowing what needs focus, and what was done well.

You could introduce this new tool to the parent and the student as the “Book 1 mastery challenge”, that is important to complete before he approaching the Minuets. It could be a way to remotivate review, and emphasize that finishing Book 1 means knowing all of it!

Barb said: Apr 22, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Thanks for that idea. I did make a new review sheet for him this week. We have used a review sheet before, but it was lost. He engages more with games, so I had him make fish and gave him a fishing rod with magnet on the string. However, I don’t think he was using it correctly, and then he broke the magnet and they didn’t seem interested in fixing it.

I am going to have assigned Suzuki reading for parents over the summer—hoping to get this one engaged, but…

Your suggestions to call the sheet the book one mastery challenge and emphasizing that finishing the book means knowing all of it are great!

Thanks again,

Barb
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Grace said: Apr 22, 2011
 Violin
110 posts

You could plan a “Book Recital” where he has to play the entire Book 1 from memory in order to go on to Book 2. My students do a book recital after finishing every book, so they know they have to keep up their reviews. Maybe if he thinks there is some “reason” for practicing his review songs in a book recital, he would be more motivated (not realizing the true power of review songs for growing his ability!)

Jennifer Visick said: Apr 25, 2011
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts
Barb said: Apr 26, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

RaineJen, I haven’t been able to have group classes yet, but would like to. That will have to be another post.

I am considering a more formal schedule for review in lessons, however, so I don’t miss things like this!

Keroppi and others, how do you do Book Recitals? Do you book a place and time for individual students to have their recitals? My home isn’t large enough even for my students and their families, and that could be a big expense as well as difficult to schedule. Or do the parents do this? Or do you incorporate them into regular studio recitals somehow?

I suggested a book recital to another parent whose child has finished book 1, and she seemed to be overwhelmed by the idea. (I don’t think the student would be in that case!) I thought maybe they could just do it for family friends in their home (larger than mine).

I think by the end of the year I may have four students who will have learned all of book 1. Three at least. I could go through the entire book as a group, having children leave the stage at the point where they are in the book, and congratulate those who play to the end with book 1 graduation certificates. Often what I do is play a piece twice, featuring a student as a soloist the first time, and having all join in the second time, or vice versa. Then I also have some of them just play as soloists, and we do some other things in small ensembles or as a group.

Do you think that having them leave the stage as we go makes too much of a comparison between students?

Often the first half we do the easiest pieces as a group as I described above, and for the second half of the recital I have all leave the stage and that is when I have them come back individually or in duets etc., and then have all return for one or two group pieces at the end. I like to also invite siblings or parents who play violin to join us. This worked well for Christmas, and also when we did Frere Jacque, and now it could work for them to play some of the earlier Suzuki pieces in D (as the cellos do). Many of my families are also buying the Rounds and Canons books by William Starr so we could do a few easy rounds from that. If I go all the way through book one and want to also feature additional ensembles and solos it might get too long.

I am interested to hear how others do book recitals!

Thanks,

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Lisa said: Apr 27, 2011
Lisa HollisViolin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Dorchester, MA
21 posts

I have all of my students do book recitals, but we don’t usually have it until they are already into the next book to allow sufficient review time for the later pieces in the book. I have the students and parents do all of the organizing. They pick a location (their home is fine) and hire an accompanist, select guests to invite, make a program and offer refreshments at the end. I don’t make it optional so now all of my students expect to have to do it. I will usually help find an accompanist and supervise the rehearsal. Sometimes if we can’t find an accompanist I have accompanied them on violin using the duet books. It’s not a lot of work for me—I just have to show up! :) The students don’t necessarily “look forward” to their recital, but I know they are quite happy with themselves and feel a real sense of accomplishment and completion when it is finished! I like the fact that at least in that moment, the entire book is polished and performance ready which leads to better interalization of those pieces.

Barb said: Apr 29, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Thanks for sharing how you do the book recitals.

I’ve just been offered a LOVELY little church for recitals (free, though they accept donations). It would be perfect for book recitals and has amazing acoustics. It’s too bad that it is too small for cello group performance. Maybe planning for fall book recitals would encourage more review over the summer!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Leslie said: May 2, 2011
Leslie ThackerayInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Taylorsville, UT
26 posts

I don’t always do book recitals (I don’t have time with 4 kids of my own) but before I had kids I made all my students do them and the mom would be the planner. I had one student who came up with a story using the pieces from Book 1. “Long long ago it a forest far away…” then he’d play Long Long Ago…etc. It was so cute. The only people at the recital were the immediate family, grandparents, and me. It was no big deal, but the whole book had to be polished. I look forward to the time when I have time to do that again!

Leslie Thackeray
Make Practicing Fun!
www.thepracticeshoppe.com
www.thacksuzukistudio.com

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