Teacher play with student?

October 7, 2017, 10:07 AM · Is this a correct violin teach method if a teacher play same thing with his student most time in the lesson?

Replies (29)

October 7, 2017, 10:07 AM · Why don't you ask BAM drectly? For what they charge for an industrial product, they should have some form of customer service...
October 7, 2017, 10:11 AM · Dimitri I think you might have clicked on the wrong thread...

I've never seen a violin teacher play along with the student all the time. In fact I've seen them play a long rarely. When I was a kid sometimes I would sight-read duets with my teacher playing the other part.

October 7, 2017, 10:12 AM · Jason, it is hard to answer as for some students it may actually help a lot, but I dont know good teachers generaly doing so (does not mean they are impossible to exist). If this is the only teaching method the teacher uses on all students I would be suspicious.
Edited: October 7, 2017, 10:14 AM · "Why don't you ask BAM drectly? For what they charge for an industrial product, they should have some form of customer service..."

Wrong thread? :P

I wonder about that sometimes too. In my case, I've concluded that it's to cover my poor sound hahaha. Just kidding! Well, that's partly true but actually I think it helps with timing and intonation since if your playing doesnt match your teacher's, then you did something wrong.

EDIT: He only does it maybe 1/3 of the time.

October 7, 2017, 10:26 AM · I play with my students sometimes, but it depends on the student. I hardly ever do this with my best students. I'm much more likely to use it as a technique (but certainly not the only technique) with a student who is struggling with school or youth orchestra music that is really a little too hard for that student. But with those students I drop out as soon as possible, or work with them "follow the leader" style on chunks as soon as they have a grasp of where the shifts are--I play first, they play after me.
October 7, 2017, 10:30 AM · Yeah, thats (prep for orchestra) the commom situation where you trach to play along or do nice shortcuts.
October 7, 2017, 10:36 AM · I used to love, when my teacher played the pieces with me, because it sounded so much better back then and it gives you rhythmical security and a good idea of intonation. But methodically I prefer, when the teacher plays a second melody rather than the same. That will give a rhythmical and harmonical structure as well and still the student has to play his or her melody on his or her own.
Also demonstrating a passage and let the student "imitate" the teacher can be a powerful tool especially with small children! They are subconsciously able to imitate the sound and some subtle details, which could take years to explain to them.
Playing the same melody with the student all the time is a thing, that some teachers do, who are uncreative with words or want to play themselves all the time to stay in shape on the violin. I would be suspicious when a teacher does that all the time!
Especially in the beginning correcting the posture and learning how to read music carefully should be a big part of the lesson! You can't do that appropriately as a teacher, when you are playing at the same time!
October 7, 2017, 11:54 AM ·

Dimitri Musafia

I've done this before too...lol, but was quicker at deleting it.

October 7, 2017, 12:01 PM ·


It is a poor teaching method, and doesn't work. I can get into details why, but generally learning is about anticipating thoughts: listen first, then repeat. Learning too many things in real time is the wrong sequence.


Edited: October 7, 2017, 1:26 PM · I think it is good to play with students who haven't yet developed their own sound and are still working on a sense of pitch. It helps motivate them and guide/fine tune their ear.

As my students progress through intermediate and certainly advanced, I rarely play with them, although I more frequently demonstrate technique and sound concepts. There are exceptions, of course.

October 7, 2017, 1:28 PM · As a Doflien student, and now teacher, every page turn has a duet for student and teacher. I loved playing the duets with my teacher and love playing them now with my students.

In the beginning I play with the students to get them to hear the correct intonation as it encourages those mini adjustments early on. As the student progresses I play only my part of the duets although there are some that recommend that the student and teacher switch parts. FWIW: My students progress well in youth orchestra because they are already used to playing one thing while others play something else - they learn to hold their own part.

Interesting Fact: The Doeflien's, Eric and Emma, were the commissioners of the Bartok Duets that many of you like to play with your students. I know this because my teacher's teacher was a friend, and colleague of the Doeflien family.

October 7, 2017, 1:36 PM · Also the Dont Op. 20 has a second violin part that the teacher can play.
October 7, 2017, 2:42 PM · Also use any piano accompaniments to root out a bass line or harmony. It can shore up pitch and tone at the same time
it can get the student to relax and learn to play with another person/part. The accompaniment for most simple pieces is no more than a few pages and you can probably memorize and improvise after a few times.
October 7, 2017, 3:33 PM · I don't think it's a bad idea, but it looks different at different levels. The other posters are recommending some good ideas for beginners. For more advanced students, you may have a chamber coach play in the group with the students, or a teacher select their most advanced students to play with them and a few colleagues, and in these cases, it can be any piece really.
The teacher just needs to worry making sure sure the student is given their own space to develop a voice.
Edited: October 15, 2017, 6:02 PM · I am really curious on this. One of my kid's teacher never play together, the current teacher play almost all the time. my kid's intonation is not good. Maybe at this situation the current teacher is better?

It's really different from one teacher to another on violin?

Edited: October 15, 2017, 6:45 PM · Hi Jason,

I think the two teachers are at the extremes on the opposite sides. My personal opinion is that occasional playing along with students is perfectly fine and educationally desirable, but playing unison with a student all the time in most of lessons is a serious waste of time and opportunity. If I were you, I would quietly look for another teacher.

October 15, 2017, 6:57 PM · It depends on the attention span of the child, and the degree to which the child has prepared his or her lesson material. I started violin lessons very young. My mother told me that my actual "lesson" would be about 10-15 minutes and then my teacher would just play his violin for me the rest of the half-hour. Apparently a lot of Kreisler encores and the like. A lot of teachers will sight-read duets with a student if the student has come to a lesson badly unprepared -- no time to practice that week, etc.
Edited: October 15, 2017, 7:59 PM · Jason, I think it's perfectly fine to ask the teacher the benefits of playing with student. I wouldn't be surprised that if your kid has intonation problem, the teacher might try to help with that by playing together. He may also want to train your kid's ability to listen to others when playing. This is also a very important ability to build early on for playing in any chamber or orchestra setting down the road.

My teacher (whom I've been with on and off more than 10 years) rarely plays with me, but when she did, it usually was the orchestra part of a concerto. It was always amazing and lovingly. The best time was during one of my performances where I was playing the first movement of Mendelssohn concerto with piano accompaniment. Unexpectedly, I heard her playing the flute and oboe's tranquillo part with her violin in the audience seat during my long pedal note on open G. It was perfect. Such moment to live for -- making music together with my beloved teacher so spontaneously in public!

October 16, 2017, 11:09 AM · Thanks. I will look for another teacher. Seems playing same thing together with student all time is wrong.
October 16, 2017, 11:44 AM · Jason,

I think you may know this already, but when you are looking for a teacher, either request a trial lesson (or two) with the potential teacher or observe another student's lesson, if the teacher allows it. You can spot so many things in this way, and it may help with your selection process.

This is just an anecdote, but a few years ago my daughter had a 45 minute trial lesson with a prospective violin teacher with great lineage and reputation. Both my wife and I watched the lesson in the room. After the lesson, we compared our "mental notes" while on the road, it was clear that the teacher was not for my daughter. Hope this helps.

Good luck.

October 16, 2017, 3:49 PM · i only ever found it helpful when my teacher played with me when i was a beginner. it helped to hear intonation and pitch but i think playing alone helps develop a stronger ear and a sense of style i guess.
October 16, 2017, 3:49 PM · I know a few teachers like this...they play and expect their students to copy everything.
Edited: October 16, 2017, 5:42 PM · Gene,
Seems you point out what the teacher is thinking. Will this cause the students depend on the teacher too much and can't play by themselves?
Edited: October 16, 2017, 6:51 PM · As a beginner, I find this idea that playing along is bad, curious. Sometimes my teacher will play with me. Now she does not do this every lesson or during an entire lesson. But it is a tool she uses on occasion.

I find that it helps very much and she seems to implement it when I am very tense, when I am so focused on technique or rhythm that I tense up and forget about musicality. Those initial bars playing together relax me into the music.
Perhaps this is not good?

She does say every other lesson play harmony to my melody which I find very good for my ears t say the least.

Edited: October 16, 2017, 6:58 PM · There are 4 ways a teacher and student can play a note:
1) teacher plays the note first, and then the student plays second. If the student plays it out of tune it is corrected.
2) teacher and student play the note at the same time and then the note is matched.
3) student plays the note first and then the teachers plays the note after for the correction.
4) student plays the note out of tune and the teacher doesn't correct it.

#1 is how all good musicians play. The hear the note first in their minds and then it is play second. This concept of hear the notes first then repeat second is the best way to teach beginners good intonation.

#2 and 3 are after thought concepts and they don't teach confidence or constancy. #3 is often used with advance players who have good intonation, but need an aid for the odd note because they are not hearing it correctly.

4# waste of time and money; better off teaching yourself. If teachers are not teaching intonation, than what else are they not teaching?

Edited: October 16, 2017, 9:29 PM · I think I didn't say very in detail. The teacher always play solo together, not duet. When playing he will hear if my kid has good intonation. If not, he will stop, then point it out. Then play together again.

I am curious if this is a good teaching method because I never saw a teacher did this.

October 16, 2017, 9:57 PM · I don't mind a demonstration here and there but playing along all the time is not a good sign, IMHO. My daughter thinks her teacher does it to correct her rhythm but to me, it seems like a bandage solution. I would prefer if her teacher teaches specific missing or problematic skills rather than hope for the best that enough exposure (playing together) will eventually work its magic.
October 19, 2017, 2:32 PM · I think what Charles said is correct, this #2 method cause student lack confidence or constancy.
But I think it do help student improve intonation, because student hear teacher's correct sound all the time.
October 24, 2017, 11:49 AM · Maybe not all the time, but the occasional duet is a lot of fun, and gives the student incentive to get the intonation right. My viola teacher gave me a nice duo by Telemann - the hard part now is finding another violist to play it with.

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