Going forward with violin book 2 need help

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Aparna Asthana said: Jul 28, 2009
Aparna AsthanaViolin
13 posts

Hi My son is 8 and is about to wrap up book 1…he has made a lot of progress over the summer partly bc we have had the time and energy to have some quality practicing and less on our plates. My son has had struggles …he is immature for his age and does not have great focus or stamina. Despite all he plays violin reasonably well…he has very very strong muscle memory and a great ear that allows him to quickly pick up most pieces…he can pick out songs in book 2 and 3 and seems to be intuitive player. He does have technical issues but we are working on it and he has made improvement over the summer. The issue is motivation…he is very under motivated generally speaking…bright academically but lazy and not wanting to do more than the bare minimum and he is like this in violin too…he will play what he wants to play and repetitions of measures and paying attention to details are torture for him. Practices are painful and most of the time he has to be forced to do many of the teachers assignments and he will take very little responsibilty for his work. This is unpleasant and not whatt I want to continue long term obviously. He does have ADD and I know this impacts him and I am trying to be as supportive as I can but its really getting to the point where I am getting sick of the entire enterprise. He plays beautifully when he wants and I love listenting to him play…positive reinforcement has limited value to him now…he just does not care. I finally asked him if he wants to continue violin or if he wants to stop after we finish book 1 and he gets his certificate. I have told him that he does not have to continue to please me…he is only to do it if he is truly loving playign and wants to get better and this is going to require some work on his part. He is very insistent that he wants to continue and is very clear that he wants to get to the book 4 level and play double bach…he is very clear about this but this goal is not translating to practicing. When its time to practice he balks and fights me on everything. If I give him control of the practice…nothing much will get done and he gets frustrated and angry. I am not sure if he is emotionally ready to handle book 2. its a lot of money that we spend on this and I am very happy to spend it bc I believe in the suzuki method…we have a great teacher and institute and he has friends and many opportunities to play during the year btu I am getting tired of the battles! Is it worth sticking it out? I have heard from an institute teacher that my son has the ability to play really well despite his ADD. I am very confused as to what to do with his attitude and practising habits. Quite honestly DS is never going to be an athlete and violin is the only extra curricular activity he really shines in so I am loath to give it up but I want him to take on a little bit more responsibity on the practicing. Please help! :(

said: Jul 28, 2009
 89 posts

My son was very similar to yours at that age, and I really empathize with your frustration.

Forgive me if I’m incorrect, but reading between the lines, it sounds to me as if you had hoped that the challenges you and he face with practicing would diminish once he was an “advanced” student in “Book 2.” But—and I’m sure you agree—there’s no magical dividing line. If the music was sold in a giant binder with no label, would you really be able to tell when he had “graduated” to Book 2? (And it could be that he’s regressing a bit in response to what he perceives as greater demands on a Book2 student.)

The difficulties you describe are typical for ADD kids, which (unfortunately) puts more of a burden on the practice partner to be creative and make the boring parts of practicing endurable. He says he wants to continue, you’d like him to continue…you just don’t need the headaches. Can you pull out an old game that used to work and update it? Find a different practice coach for awhile (local teens are great for this—maybe an older boy who he admires?)?

Sometimes, for us, it’s more important to focus for a week or two on loving the music than it is on learning the notes.

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