Lesson and practice length?

said: Oct 15, 2008
 1 posts

Our almost eight year old daughter has been learning Suzuki violin going on her third year. She just began Book Two. She started very strong but her progress has slowed down considerably. We have an on-going struggle in our house between my husband (the Suzuki parent) and myself on our daughter’s lesson and practice lengths. So, here’s our question…

How long are your 7-8 year old’s lessons?


How long do you practice with your 7-8 year old each day? Maximum length?

We are still feeling inexperienced with this and want to see what other families do and what should be expected of a 7-8 yeard old child.

Thanks in advance for you thoughts and imput.

said: Oct 16, 2008
 8 posts

We switched to a new teacher this fall and one of the things I love about him is that he tells us exactly what my daughter should practice, and for how long. So: scales/tonalization, 5-10 min; review, 15-20 min; polishing piece, 10-15 min; new piece, 10-15 min. (She is 9 and in Book 3, btw.) Our practice sessions go much more smoothly because now we are a team, working together to follow the teacher’s instructions. Occasionally I will stop her literally in mid-scale because “the ten minutes are up,” which she thinks is hilarious. With the old teacher it was up to me to be the bad guy and decide when she’d practiced enough, and some of our sessions were pretty awful as a result.

Also, we now use a practice planner. We write down what she practiced and for how long, every day, and her teacher reviews it each week. My daughter gets a great sense of accomplishment from seeing all those 45- and 50-minute practices listed, and it keeps her motivated. It has also helped her new teacher get to know her capabilities (or lack thereof!) very quickly, since he can see exactly how much she practiced and what results she achieved.

You might consider asking your teacher to tell your child how long she should practice, even if it means prompting him or her in advance (”tell her 20 minutes”). Having the directive come from above can make a big difference.

Sarah said: Oct 17, 2008
 11 posts

I have an 8 year old in book 2. He practices for an hour a day and has a 45 minute lesson each week.

said: Oct 17, 2008
 21 posts

My 7 year old daughter will be 8 next month. She’ll have been playing for 2 years in February. She is on Humoresque in book 3 and practices about 20 minutes per day on her Suzuki assignment. She also spends 1 hour/week at a local youth orchestra and probably plays 1 hour more a week on duets with her older sister. She also spends 15 minutes/day on piano.

I have to mention that if she can sing or hum a tune, she can generally play it correctly by ear the first or second time on her violin so she has progressed quickly. She mainly has to work on the correct bowings, posture, etc.. The notes and intonation have never been a problem.

Christine said: Oct 18, 2008
 22 posts

I have an 8.5 yo who is finishing violin book 4. She has a 30 minute lesson each week and practices around 45 minutes each day. In book 2, she had a 30 minute lesson and practiced around 30 minutes each day. My 11 yo has is in the middle of book 5 and has a 45 minute lesson each week. She practices around an hour each day. They have the same teacher and back to back lessons. A 30 minute lesson really isn’t long enough for book 4. However, my younger one learns a lot by listening to her older sister’s lesson.

Ask your child’s teacher for help in planning her practice time. My youngest wastes a lot of time during practice so we often stretch into an hour or more each day—which is too much for her. I have to work hard to keep her on task without being too demanding. She still needs practice charts and games to keep her motivated. Just remember that every child is different and that it’s not a race to get through the books.

said: Oct 19, 2008
 44 posts

I think that you will find that your daughter moves very rapidly through the first 3-4 pieces in Book 2. They are much easier than the Gavotte by Gossec at the end of Book 1. The melodies are easy to learn and the bowing is fun. She should be really set up well to learn these rather quickly after slogging through Etude, the minuets, and Gossec. This is thrilling for the student as she suddenly discovers she is in the MIDDLE of Book2 after spending so long in Book 1. I think my kids all had a 30-45 minute lesson at this age/stage, and practiced an average of 45 minutes/day. You and your husband should make sure your discussions about practice time are private; kids are quick to pick up on parental discord and use it to their advantage!

said: Oct 22, 2008
 48 posts


How long are your 7-8 year old’s lessons?


How long do you practice with your 7-8 year old each day? Maximum length?

We are still feeling inexperienced with this and want to see what other families do and what should be expected of a 7-8 yeard old child.

My daughter’s six and a half, but seems older … She has a 30-minute lesson and a 45-minute group lesson weekly (late book 1). She’s been playing for a year and is still excited about it all.

Practices vary a lot from day to day. If she’s really tired or not focusing, we’ll keep it brief (20 minutes). On the other hand, if she’s energetic and having fun we’ll go on for 45 minutes or more. On average I’d guess it works out to two of the “short” practices, two “long”, and three in-between each week.

Angela said: Nov 2, 2008
Suzuki Association Member
York Springs, PA
41 posts

Some things I do to motivate students is that they can participate in the 100 day club. At the end of 100 days I buy my students a music trophy. (I’ll only by them up to 10 trophies. If they want to keep going there parents can take over). With each set of 100 the trophies get a little bigger. The rules are a minimum of 5 minutes a day (in case they are sick or family emergency etc.) and have to have a parent witness the session. Sometimes it has been a rocky start but then they get into it. If they miss a day they have to start back at day 1. It has happened a few times but then they get it and keep going. It is not just a matter of remembering to practice it’s a life style change. If students don’t get much out of what they practiced that’s ok my objective is to teach the kids that they made a commitment to something so you stick with it. Doesn’t matter if it’s an instrument, job, family, marriage, in charge of a bake sale etc. Something else I do is have students practice 5 minutes times their age and they only have to practice on days they eat. Sometimes it works and sometimes not.

Angela Schlessman

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