Broken Arm

said: Jun 11, 2011
 19 posts

My little 8-yr-old violin student broke his left arm on the playground today. Will be in a cast for 6-8 weeks. (Poor guy!) He’s toward the end of Volume 2 (just starting Lully Gavotte), and I’m already formulating a bunch of things we can do at lesson while he’s in the cast, but I am sure many of you have experienced this at some point with a student. This could be good in terms of being able to have absolute focus on something totally different for awhile (e.g., bow arm, bowings, theory, reading, listening, etc.) I’d love to hear your ideas of some brilliant and creative things we can do at lesson without a violin arm for awhile! Not sure how much left hand finger motion he will have in the cast yet. His bow arm is just fine.

Elizabeth Friedman said: Jun 13, 2011
Elizabeth Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
49 posts

Well, it’s an unfortunate event… but this is a great opportunity to work on his bow arm!!! As much as I love left hand technique, bow technique is often too boring to work on for younger ones—too many open strings. ;-) If his thumb is inside, why not do some collé and work on getting a nice soft right hand? Also, clean string crossings at frog, middle and tip. And, for bow control, depending on whether he can handle it—set the metronome to 60, and have him go from frog to tip for 8 counts, then stop at the tip (with the bow sitting silently on the string, no jiggling) for 8 counts, then back to the frog for 8, then sit at the frog for 8—see if he can do all of this with a constant sound. When he’s good at it, go to 16, then 32. That’s the magic exercise I learned in college to get great bow control during long, slow notes! (And, it’s great for nerves!) It’s normally really difficult get students to really work on these things until they’re over the idea that all playing/practicing must be super-interesting to listen to.

said: Jun 14, 2011
 19 posts

Thanks for your ideas! This little guy is going to have a great bow arm by the end of the summer!

Helen Jacob-Stein said: Jun 15, 2011
Suzuki Association Member
4 posts

This once happened to a very enthusiastic 8-year-old I taught. He and his mom were at first quite devastated, but I showed them how to work on bowing for the week, which they did. They also—wait for it—were able to prop up his left arm on a pile of books next to him, and move his fingers without hurting the broken arm! So he continued playing all his pieces too!

Travis Elfers said: Sep 21, 2012
Travis Elfers
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
Chicago, IL
1 posts

Hello everyone,

I’m rebooting an old thread here because I’m curious what ideas and suggestions you have for a student that has a bow arm that is in the cast. The student is seven years old and is early book one, learning O Come, Little Children.

Your thoughts?



Laurie Maetche said: Sep 21, 2012
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Guitar, Piano, Cello, Viola
10 posts

When I was 12 I broke my arm. What we ended up doing was theory in preparation for the royal conservatory exams because that is very popular in Canada.
It was great and gave me such a good foundation, I now tutor to incoming students at the college level that don’t have these basics.
For a young student it wouldn’t need to be so intense but there are many theory games available that interest all ages.
Hope this helps.

Barb said: Sep 21, 2012
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
678 posts

It can be quite fun to split the bowing/fingering between two students or student and teacher! In my studio I call it the “two-headed cellist”.

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