Mirrored Image

said: Dec 16, 2009
 4 posts

My toddler has been watching his father play the guitar since birth, and since he can remember he stands in front of the guitar and strums away along with his dad. Problem is he is using his left hand to strum because that is what he is seeing. Now we are concerned he is developing a habit that will be very hard to change. How can we get him to understand it is his right hand he needs to be using.

Jennifer Visick said: Dec 16, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

you can directly teach this. Tell the child which hand is which, and then ask which hand is which… do it every day, a few times a day, and shortly, it will start to stick.

Or have him sit side by side with dad in front of a mirror… or on dad’s lap, in order to “see” that it’s different.

Or just correct him—there is nothing wrong with correcting a child. Get a small guitar—a toy if necessary—and then physically pick up the instrument and put it in the other direction every time you see that it’s in the “wrong” direction.

If you are planning to start guitar lessons soon, why not ask the guitar teacher what they recommend?

said: Dec 18, 2009
 4 posts

Thanks for the tips, we will try them.
—pa

Sara said: Feb 12, 2010
 Violin
191 posts

With my students I use the terminology “violin hand” and “bow hand”. With guitar you could explain we have a guitar hand (the one we hold it with) and strum hand (the one you strum with).
The mirror mentioned above is a good idea.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

said: Feb 14, 2010
 4 posts

Thank you for the suggestion.
I still find he is very unwilling to change the direction. But I’m hoping as he gets a little older (he’s 2.2 now) he will be willing to try some of these suggestions. Right now all I get is a push away and a “let me play mommy” kind of look.

said: Feb 22, 2010
 4 posts

Hi there! My 5 year old had the same thing so here is what we would do: before practice we would pick a green colored marker and I would write L on my left hand and L on his left hand. I’d take a red marker and write an R on my right hand and an R on His right hand. At your son’s age they’re still getting a hang of left and right but know colors. So I’d say take your green hand or your red hand. Also teaching the Left hand reinforcing how pointer and thumbkin make the letter L on the left hand and the letter L makes the “lllllllllllllllllllllllll” sound for Llllllllllllllllleft.

I used waterbased Crayola markers. You can get your child involved by asking them to pick two colors and getting them exciting about it. You write the L and R on their hands and let them write the L and R on your hands (in corresponding colors). Then when you’re practicing you can say the color vs. Left.

This helps teach left and right!

said: Feb 22, 2010
 4 posts

Thank you soooo much, I think this may help him, I’ll give it a try.
—pa :D

said: Feb 22, 2010
 4 posts

Oh you’re welcome! Let me know how it goes. We always did Red for the Right hand I would emphasize the Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrruh red Right hand”. The R sound was one of the first things our boy picked up when he learned to read. We began Suzuki guitar when he was 4 years old and I remember him getting confused with the mirroring in lessons. Take care!

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