Okay, confession time!

Laurel said: Mar 18, 2008
Laurel MacCulloch
Suzuki Association Member
Langley, BC
120 posts

I’m both a Suzuki teacher and parent; my older son (6 1/2) I taught for 2 years and then this year he is with another teacher; my younger son (just turned 4) is my own student for now.

I hereby confess that I am guilty of expecting said 4-year-old to automatically practise as though he is said 6-year-old! :shock: :)

Case in point—of COURSE he is unsure which finger is 1, 2, or 3! And of COURSE he is sounding good on E string but having trouble with those little fingers getting over to A string!

Whew. There, I feel better. Anyone else have some practise frustrations to confess? :D


Coutier said: Mar 21, 2008
Coutier Rademaker58 posts

It is tough teaching your own child. My youngest started playing the violin when he was five years old. He took lessons from a collegue, but of course I practiced with him at home. For me, as a teacher and violinist it was such a struggle to not be too demanding. The professional distance most of us teachers manage to keep most of the time with our students just seemed to melt away.

Oh, the violin is so important, the tone is so important, intonation, straight wrist, low elbow, string crossings, bow, rhythm, body posture, attention, enthousiasm…….. And preferably all of that at the same time. “What one-point lessons? No time for that, we have lost so much time already!”

You know this one?: “Why don’t we just stop your violin lessons, this way I don’t like practicing with you at all, I think I’ll take the violin back since you show so little interest.” Terrible! What an awful dad I’ve been now and then, just like my own father who was impatience incarnated when trying to teach something to his nine children, whether it be tennis or violin or anything. Yak!

My father played the viola, but also he was a doctor. And you know the complaints of doctor’s children: many doctors are terrible physicians for their own kids. I am sure mortality rate is higher amongst us.

Luckily I’ve done some growth work in my life and recognized my father’s traits when practicing with my son. But it took time and he and I had quite a few painful scenes, but I can happily and proudly say that things between us are pretty mellow now. During the week his mum practices with him and it is she who goes with him to the private lessons. I practice with him during weekends, when we have plenty of time together. It gives me the much needed distance so I can be close again. Sometimes, I still push him too much, but he tells me and then we negociate and find a good solution.

Daan plays Seitz 1 now and he plays well and sometimes we play concerts together. I am delighted with him and with the solutions we have found. We have paid a price and no doubt there are some emotional scars, but when I see him play, more precisely feel how he plays, I trust it is okay. What a blessing.

Talking about these things is rather a taboo and that is why I find it important to talk regularly about them with my students’ parents. And most of the time it is such a relief.


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