Christine Goodner, author of "Beyond the Music Lesson: Habits of Successful Suzuki Families" and co-creator of the "Beyond the Music Lesson" podcast (both extremely valuable resources for any Suzuki parent, student, or teacher) has recently published an article on her research conducted regarding the struggles of practice for the Suzuki parent and child.
The majority of the study was done on parents with Suzuki children ages 8-11. When faced with the ultimate question: do you and your child struggle when it comes to practicing? The results were clear. 100% of families report a struggle when it comes to practicing. You are not alone!
The most common problem: "The Parent’s Role: This was the biggest category and included things like: not knowing how to get to everything, not having the patience, not feeling up to the level of energy it takes, and (the biggest one) struggling with how to give feedback in a way their child will accept."
And my favorite part - what actually helps? Ok, ok, it's a struggle - we can all agree on that. What works to make it better? "Overwhelmingly what is working for parents is being consistent and having a routine (54%)"
Amen! I swear, I didn't pay her to write this article, but I was nodding vigorously when I read this part. Routine is the single most effective way to make practice happen, to get done with less tears and meltdowns, to make it less of a chore, and to get it done consistently. Same time, same place, every day.
And lastly, I'll leave you with the quote that kept coming up.
"It's hard, but it's rewarding."
Check out the article here.
Happy practicing, I appreciate all you parents and what you do!
Bowhold exercises are a part of almost every lesson I teach. They can range from exercises for the youngest of students, and they can also be specifically designed for the advanced player. Each finger on our bowhold has a specific job, and occasionally we need to spend extra time working on one particular function.
Today, I thought I would talk about exercises especially helpful for the beginner violin student.
Before ever making a bowhold:
-Grab things (pencils, pages, etc) with bent thumb and pinky on your right hand. How many things can you collect in 1 minute?
-Bunny/fox/dog (thumb goes by first knuckles and behind them, not fingertips).
Have the student make a bunny with their right hand. Thumb connects to middle and ring finger. Bumpy thumb! Pinky and index finger straight up.
Fox: Pinky and index finger remain straight up. Straighten and flatten out thumb/middle/ring fingers.
Dog: same as bunny, but with curved index and pinky.
Eat a pencil (carrot)
Chew on pencil (carrot
Unicorn (make bow a unicorn horn on head)
Pinnochio (make bow look like Pinocchio’s nose)
Tail (make bow look like a tail)
Up like a rocket
Do the motions of this song while singing these words to the tune of twinkle:
”Up like a rocket
Down like the rain
Back and forth like a choo choo train
Round and round like the great big sun
Put it on our hand, bent pinky curved thumb
Up like a rocket
Down like the rain
Back and forth like a choo choo train”
Wheels on the bus
”The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round, round and round,
the people on the bus go up and down,
up and down, up and down,
the wipers on the bus go swoosh swoosh swoosh,
swoosh swoosh swoosh, swoosh swoosh swoosh”
For the wheels: make a big circle outline with the bow.
For up and down: move bow up and down on a straight line.
For wipers: make your bow an imaginary wiper on your car when it’s raining. Make sure only the wrist is moving, not the arm and elbow.
With beginners, things slip easily. Always check to make sure their thumb is bent, pinky is bent and on its tip, middle finger and ring finger are together on the second joint, touching the frog. Index finger is straight, relaxed, on the first joint, further up the bow. Check the photo on my previous blog post for a visual reminder!