is my daughter moving to fast?

. said: Apr 24, 2010
 6 posts

my daughter has been taking private lessons for about a year now, but she is already on book four. is this normal or do you think she is moving to fast?

Laura said: Apr 24, 2010
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

That is very fast progress, and the vast majority of students do not progress at this pace. Your daughter sounds very remarkable and gifted. How old is she?

As for whether or not it’s “too” fast, it’s very much an individual thing that depends on many factors, such as her age, how much she enjoys it, and whether or not she can technically and musically handle the repertoire that she is playing. If the teacher is happy that she is actually playing properly, then you might have a very special situation on your hands and should ensure that your daughter receives very good guidance from a good teacher who knows how to teach gifted young violinists.

Learning to play very well and very quickly is extremely rare, but it can happen. Older beginners with a passion can do this with a lot of practice and determination in addition to a higher level of natural ability. If it happens in a very young beginner, it’s an extremely exceptional case. One example is a little girl named Elli Choi—you can look her up on Google or Youtube and be very impressed! Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that she had completed the entire formal Suzuki program, including the supplementary advanced repertoire that is beyond the published Suzuki books, by the time she was 5-6 years old. (She is a little older now.) There is another little girl named Mercedes Cheung in Canada, a young violinist of similar accomplishment. (She also plays the piano but it’s on the violin that she is the most advanced.)

What is remarkable about these two is not just the level at which they play after only a few years of study, but that they have the technical, musical, and performance skills to handle the level at which they are playing. You don’t get that every day in a young child, but if you have one like that, you want to ensure that they are taught to play properly, or else it’s not worth it. There are many little kids who play advanced repertoire very badly.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about your daughter in the future!

Jennifer Visick said: Apr 25, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

Age?

Musical experience before beginning private lessons?

Is music offered at her school (and does she take it if it is)?

Amount of practice time each day?

Amount of time spent pursuing other (non-academic) activities?

Models? (older siblings, neighbors, parents, extended family, peers, local concerts, celebrity musicians)?

Does your child appear to be mainly driven to practice by internal motivation (does she find that playing music is sometimes its own reward)? Or is the main motivator external (does she do it to please parent or teacher, be with peers in music class, compete with peers in music class, show off, and/or get some other non-musical reward or recognition)?

Is the music being practiced and performed with attention to excellence and artistry? Or is it sloppy and/or musically boring? Do you like hearing her perform? (Do others?)

Is your child ready to join a youth orchestra and/or chamber music group? Learning to read music alongside playing the repertoire?

Do any of your teacher’s other students move at a similar pace?

Does your child WANT to move this fast, and is she willing and cheerfully doing focused practice without major coaxing (most of the time)?

. said: Apr 25, 2010
 6 posts

RaineJen

Age?

Musical experience before beginning private lessons?

Is music offered at her school (and does she take it if it is)?

Amount of practice time each day?

Amount of time spent pursuing other (non-academic) activities?

Models? (older siblings, neighbors, parents, extended family, peers, local concerts, celebrity musicians)?

Does your child appear to be mainly driven to practice by internal motivation (does she find that playing music is sometimes its own reward)? Or is the main motivator external (does she do it to please parent or teacher, be with peers in music class, compete with peers in music class, show off, and/or get some other non-musical reward or recognition)?

Is the music being practiced and performed with attention to excellence and artistry? Or is it sloppy and/or musically boring? Do you like hearing her perform? (Do others?)

Is your child ready to join a youth orchestra and/or chamber music group? Learning to read music alongside playing the repertoire?

Do any of your teacher’s other students move at a similar pace?

Does your child WANT to move this fast, and is she willing and cheerfully doing focused practice without major coaxing (most of the time)?

She has just turned 11 and music is offered at her school, but its main focus is music theory. i think her motivation is more internal. she has been asking to play since she was 8, but i thought it was just a spur of the moment thing. she does have an elder sister who currently plays the flute. i think she spends about an hour a day practicing. i rarely get to hear her perform, since she is an independent practicer, but her teacher is always complementing her work.

Jennifer Visick said: Apr 25, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

It sounds like the internal motivation is there and the amount of practice time is appropriate for the age level.

There’s no way to tell if she’s getting the basics (healthy posture, good intonation, rhythmic accuracy, bow control, ensemble skills, and the ability to express music artistically) without actually seeing her perform, but if your teacher is fine, and you trust your teacher, then it sounds like everything’s OK.

If you’re still uncertain about this, you should consult your teacher about the pace, and perhaps seek a second opinion from someone in person.

Something you may want to consider, if this is Suzuki training, is whether or not she is reviewing all the previous work (books 1-3) and consistently and continually raising THAT repertoire to a higher level, applying new skills to old repertoire, etc.

Attending a summer suzuki institute might give you a better idea of what the level of polish each piece “ought” to have after this kind of review work is.

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