Beginnig Bowhold, Blocking fingers and “Swing Elbows&qu


said: Jun 8, 2006
 3 posts

My son (4 1/2) is learning violin with Suzuki method and he is working on twinkle pieces. Today we just swtiched to a new teacher and she advised my son to stop using the “beginning bowhold”, instead use the advanced bowhold. And she wanted my son not to use the “block fingers” method to find the right notes, just use one finger at a time to set the string. Also, she asked my son to move his left albow along with his right elbow when he changes strings.

These all sound a little contradictary to what I’ve read about Suzuki method. But I don’t know whether these are newly better ways or I should ask her to stick with what Suzuki Violinist book suggested method. I myself do not know anything about violin, but I want to learn along with my son. I wish I knew what’s best…. Would you please give me some input?? All your feedback will be greatly appreciated!

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 14, 2006
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

The Suzuki Violinist book has a lot of good suggestions, but it isn’t the bible of the suzuki method. It’s one way of using specific techniques to teach the repertoire.

Some Suzuki teachers start with block fingering, some teachers start with independant fingering. Eventually, the student needs to know both ways. In fact, many teachers have the student learn both ways before finishing Twinkle. Your previous teacher may have been about to teach you this. Some teachers feel a beginner’s bow hold should be kept till the student reaches mid-book 1, others like to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Without knowing the details of your situation, the only advice I can give is that you need to trust your teacher. Whatever the reason is that made you switch teachers, take a look at your new teacher’s training, experience, and the way her other students play. Ask for an explanation of why she wants to change these things right now; once you have all the information you need from her, you have two options: Trust her enough to follow her instructions, or find yet another teacher whom you can trust. The alternative (always second-guessing your teacher) is no way to take lessons at all.

The suzuki method is in three parts: philosophy, repertoire, technique. Philosophy is the most important component; specific techniques are the least important and the most changeable.

If you haven’t already, I recommend reading Edward Kreitman’s book “Teaching from the Balance Point: A Guide for Suzuki Parents, Teachers, and Students”. It’s newer than “The Suzuki Violinist” and is also written by one of the best Suzuki teachers in the US today. It may give you some different perspectives on what the suzuki method is.

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