4 years in book 1

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said: Mar 16, 2009
 1 posts

There has been some discussion about this already but I am having a very hard time with the SLOW progress we are making. My daughter is 9 and in her 4th year of violin and is not even half way through book one. We are sort of learning Perpetual Motion. We learned the notes at least 2 months ago, (she is not allowed to learn a new song until she can sing it, saying the notes & sing the correct note with her voice), but the teacher is not moving forward with the song. We have practiced the 4th finger E endlessly and each week we hope that we can start actually playing the song. I have spoken to the teacher about the slow progress several times. She is a professional violinist(?), very technical and basically wants my child to have the skills to play the song before she learns to play it. My thinking is that the song there in order for the child to gain the new skills contained in the song. I feel like she is holding us back so much by doing this and am very frustrated. I don’t want my daughter to stop lessons but a $40 a pop I beginning to think it’s not worth it. Unfortunately there are not any other violin teachers within a hour of us. I do have to say, to give the teacher her due, that my child’s playing is beautiful with ringing notes & general very good sound. Any advice would be most appreciated.

said: Mar 16, 2009
 48 posts


Lynn said: Mar 16, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
173 posts

Have you sounded out other parents, especially parents of more advanced students? They may give you a helpful perspective. There may be a “method to her madnes” and there will be some big “pay-off” down the road in terms of difficulties not encountered that will make all this meticulous work at this stage make sense.

Aparna Asthana said: Jun 5, 2009
13 posts

Hi I feel we are very slow too but we have our reasons of sorts. 4 years does seem like a lot if your child has good focus and practice habits and no developmental delays. My son had poor focus, some developmental delays as a toddler and has trouble with practicing well and we have still achieved progress of sorts. We are wrapping up year 3 (he is now :cool:but technically he has been playing book 1 for about 1.5 years. the rest of the time was spent in box violin, pretwinkle (we were the slowest in the group class) and then twinkles had to be done twice over due to change in teachers! We have hit more brick walls then most kids in our violin group. He is now working on Minuet 3..we have spent since december 2008 on etude, minuet 1 and minuet 2. His teacher is a perfectionist too and we go weeks before we learn anything new and we continually refine old pieces. Its very frustrating for me and my son at times. I have finally had to talk to the director about it…my son was having huge behavior issues at class and practice bc of frustration and perceiving that he was not making the kind of gains some of the other kids in other studios were making. My son also has an extremely strong ear…if he can sing something in pitch he can find it on the violin and he can play the notes to some of the songs in book 2 as well. If he is not shown how to do something he will pick up the violin and work it out for himself. Finally his teacher realized last year that either my son was taught to play something the right way in class or he would do it at home in an unapproved manner. I got tired of telling my son to stop picking out notes…bc this was the ONLY joy he got out of playing the violin. He could care less abotu technique or anything else but I realized that either his teacher was willing to work with us or I would have to find a new teacher. I was not willing to take my son’s pleasure at playing songs away bc his teacher was unwilling to move him forward unless technique is perfected. His technique is still not refined enough and thats what we work on but he has come a long way despite the slow progress of refining skills. so I am hoping that in the end the slowness pays off.

If I were you I would tak to other parents in the studio and find out what is really going on. Then talk to your teacher. I have seen kids who play book 2 with worse technique and tone than my son and indeed these kids play Aunt Rhody terribly when asked to play in group. Their excuse is that they are in book 2 and don;t have to (their teacher doesn’t require them to play early pieces or review constantly well to move on) so they can only play a few pieces and thats it. Thats not suzuki as far as I can tell. Our teacher is not like this and so my son can play all songs upto Minuet 2 in his sleep with good tone but it takes us longer than average bc we spend most of our time in review!
Good luck!

said: Jun 5, 2009
 44 posts

I have been driving an hour and a half for lessons every week for about 8 years and it is WELL worth it for the quality instruction. If you can arrange your lesson and group on the same day, it makes it very doable. There are people at our studio who come from other states, some every week and some once a month. Make sure your child is practicing every day—it makes a HUGE difference in their progress. Even if she just gets in a few minutes, make sure it is every day.. You will see that daily practice pays huge dividends.

Anna said: Jun 13, 2009
 145 posts

If I taught I like this, I would be really afraid my pupils would all leave me. The teacher might really know all about technique but where is the enjoyment ? No one wants to continually play the same pieces for so long surely ? You must get so frustrated. 4 years and only at Perpetual Motion ? Do you have group lessons ? They must be fun I imagine, as I dont see how a child would want to continue like this.I’m baffled!

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