From Tina Lee
Posted November 17, 2006 at 07:12 PM
i think you may want to consider at least 2 things:
1. are you ready for it? meaning, can you provide enough time and energy for daily practice? often, you end up doing more than the kid and even playing along:)
2. can your child sit through some structured program yet? if no, no problem, as long as your family and the teacher can accept that. if yes, great!
also, keep in mind that playing around with a violin may be a fun thing, but sticking to a routine, with daily, weekly requirement, may not be. there will be times where tears will fly and you have to make a call on whether to back off or march on.
As others have mentioned, it is a significant committment from the parent. Unless your child is really eager to play, I'd tend to wait until age 4 to start (I think I'll do this for my younger son, who wants to play because his brother does but otherwise is not nearly as musically oriented). My older son is high energy, intense, and strong-willed, and his Music Together teacher didn't think it was a good idea to start violin at the time. But learning violin has taught him so many life skills besides the instrument: patience, hard work, listening, and joy of mastering something difficult.
Good luck on your journey! Cheers, Stephen's mom
PS My son's current teacher doesn't like to start children before the age of 4--she feels that most children younger don't have the fine motor skills necessary. Stephen's fine motor skills have always been quite good, so I wonder if that helped him a bit.
Some kids are impulsive and want to learn something but as soon as they get frustrated they lose interest, and others will be on a one-track mind. I would say make sure the child understands that they have to be disciplined and choosing this is a type of (very special, beautiful!!!) committment, but it doesn't mean it can't be fun: when children are as young as your daughter, they tend to learn better through play. For your own reference, you might want to check out books like "Playing the String Game" by Phyllis Young (I have not personally used this, but a lot of my friends in the NSP program and music educators will use this, more for cellists, but a string teacher might be able to help you adapt the games to violin).
It's true that with disabilities, short attention spans, and all sorts of characteristics that might make you think a child SHOULDN'T learn an instrument, sometimes it is the best thing for them, to learn how to focus, to develop muscles or breathing, to over come disabilities, IS learning music and an instrument.
Like some people mentioned you might want to explore other musical activities that she can be involved with to help develop her musical undertsanding which will be applied to instrumental playing later on...listening and playing are really important.
So, basically: by all means let your kid start playing violin! Just be sure to keep it fun and stress-free while she is still little. :) Good luck!
by structure i do not mean something that is hard core with whistles and whips:)
i have seen many kids crawl all over the floor, refuse to pick up the violin, unable to pay any attention to the teacher during lessons. simply kidos acting their age and ability,,, nothing wrong with it.
is that level of exposure to violin beneficial? i feel waiting for another couple months or half a year in those cases won't hurt.
in the same vein, if i see a 2 yo who loves to hold a violin and pretends to play with music, that little sucker is begging for lessons.
also, just like not all doctors are pediatricians, not all teachers are great with kids. so it is going to be a match between a kid that is ready ( or not) and a teacher that loves teaching kids ( or not).
tina, i do not know new jersey very well, but i do know new jersey has a music teacher association of some sort that holds annual piano and violin competitions. i have been to the piano one almost yearly, but never been to the violin one. i am sure someone on this forum can direct you to that association where you can find a good teacher in your area.
Wow, Jamie, you guys do that much practice every day? With my littlest students (3 and 4 year olds) I ask for a few minutes a day. Unless a child WANTS to practice 15 or more minutes a day at the age of 3 or 4, I think it's better to keep it really short, maybe in a few 1 to 2 minute sessions. Lessons are of course the exception. Kudos to you for getting that much practice in though. That must take a lot of creativity on your part!
-The problem there is thinking of it as boring. Why should it be? The trick is to make it enjoyable.
Tina, one thing you should consider, irrespective of actual lessons, is providing your daughter with cd's and videos of great violin playing. Let her absorb the music, and (if videos) get a good sense of what proper technique looks like. Let her absorb the passion of a great performance, etc. If possible, do it together, and discuss various elements.
A great DVD to start with is "The Art Of The Violin."
If she shows a serious interest in THIS, then she is probably ready for some lessons, and the exposure will certainly help her development as well.
nah. try andre.
and start the kid on golf:)
I found the Suzuki approach at this age very good and the quality of social interactions very positive. Of course, it is up to you to manage your expectations of how much actual playing will occur. The little 4 year old playing Vivaldi can easily set expectations that are not right for your child. I would also recommend working with an experienced Orff teacher if you do Suzuki violin. The Orff classes at this age are fun and allow more gross motor movement which contrasts the fine motor work needed for violin. It also helps counting.
My son started Suzuki at just older than 3 1/2..almost 4 and took Orff classes at the same time. (He never used a box, and I think that the whole box thing is pretty worthless. Get a cheap, real instrument.)At 6 he started recreational piano, for note reading and theory that the violin teacher was not covering in a 20 minute lesson. At around 8 we switched to a more traditional approach and all things combined have produced a little guy who, now 9, enjoys playing, plays well in tune, can read notes and counts, and is able to play intermediate chamber music with others and perform solo recitals with minimal stress for him and us. We decided to stop Suzuki at the end of Book 4, and in retrospect think we were 1 book late for that switch. All total, it remains an interesting ride and the start of a fine musical education. Starting very young seems to make the playing a bit more fuild, combining left and right brain approaches. These are only my observations after going to many recitals and seeing many different children play Suzuki songs and other beginning-intermediate (with shifting) material.
i have since talked to at least 50 parents and hundreds of kids about violin through youtube. some provide feedbacks, some ask for advice. many have started playing violin because of that exposure. many kids have convinced their parents to get them a violin, at last. some have said, her intonation was poor, techniques awkward and provided harsh criticism and i begged them for more, because you cannot whip out tasty treats unless the kitchen gets hot. if i go as far as shamelessly putting those videos on youtube, i might as well get something in return.
talking about return, i have sent 5 fractions violins to needy kids from SA and Asia. i bought the sob stories and i do not believe music for the sake of music. it is for fun and hope for the better, be it a C hall debut or an escape from the sewer stench.
every parent is different and every kid is different. our view is that a kid who is reasonably happy and healthy is already a blessing; anything above and beyond that is a megamillion winner!
faimly started her on violin because the neighbor's kid started on violin. Bah! i got jealous and started her on golf because one, it is my duty:) and two it is my impression that swinging a club is a very effective way to strengthen upper arm strength and fine tune motor control. when you hold onto a club in motion, your hand grip muscles get appropriate level of exercise corresponding to the speed of your swing. the dynamics of the swing sequence in golf can be easily transposed to violin. tough for a 3 yo kid to find another playful setting to condition the above mentioned muscles.
then you have the walking in golf, from 40F to 100F, rain or shine, which builds character and stamina. no choice but to walk because the car is in the parking lot, not where you want to drop. in my humble and baseless opinion, one, intonation has as much to do with ear and brain as power for hand and finger execution for a kid. two, to overcome the immediate urge to quit at the first sight of difficulty which must be abolished early if anything of value is to be achieved. learn to suck it up. there is ice cream but only after you fulfill your promise. positive reinforcement served cold. three, learn to put setbacks in perspective and be professional early on. miss a shot? suck it up and focus on your next. miss a note on stage? suck it and focus on the rest. the pianist cannot help you play the violin so stop looking. kids are troopers and respond very well to rules of play. often, it is the parents that mess things up,,,,for and out of "love". ... oh, but we want johnny to have a normal childhood! (and we want him to be good at blank but do not give him a chance!).
we do not have any goals as far as music and sport are concerned except the short term goal of preparing her as a well rounded college applicant:) as far as violin playing goes, any kid can do it if you have a teacher who provides good direction, family member that puts in the time and meddling, and a kid who likes beautiful sounds. nurture the attitude above all.
kids love watching andre, you don't, fine, just like kids love to eat 2 lbs of candy a day and you don't. andre's stage presentation is colorful visually which corresponds well to the music style he provides, which, imo, is a neat introduction to classical violin music for a 3 yo. all the ballon poppping, people dancing, fun and laughters everywhere, why not?
want to set the mood before trick or treat next year? show the art of violin:)
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