When I started teaching my 7-yo daughter violin this fall I thought that one advantage would be that I could teach her to read music. I thought she would like that better than the playing-by-ear Suzuki method. She's a good reader in school; she enjoys it and is reading above grade level.
Last year when I broached the subject with her Suzuki teacher, the teacher recommended the Suzuki "I can Read Music" book, so I bought that and we're trying to continue to work through it.
She's doing okay with that book, but her progress is slow. We're only on Lesson 3, rhythm (each lesson has pitch and rhythm components).
I think she has more trouble with rhythm than pitch. Sometimes she gets stuck at one end of the bow or the other and gets confused and distracted and forgets about the rhythm altogether, or alters it so she can get back to a part of the bow that's more comfortable for her.
She seems to be able to recognize half notes, quarter notes, and whole notes, but then translating that recognition to what comes out of the instrument is not quite working.
When I ask her to clap or sing the rhythm instead of playing it, she balks.
I'm also trying to teach her the D string. All of her Suzuki songs were on the A string in the key of A major. We started with a D major scale, which she plays quite well. And she wanted to learn two songs on the D string, "Do a Deer," and "Make New Friends" from Girl Scouts. I wrote these out for her, Do a Deer starting on D and Make New Friends starting on G (3 on D). She's still having a lot of trouble reading them, even after 2 and 1 weeks of practicing, respectively. I write the fingerings above the notes and she plays the right finger on the wrong string.
When this happens, she gets discouraged, because it sounds really weird and unrecognizable. I don't think she's really reading the notes, just the fingerings. Should I try some more organized teaching of music reading? FACE and Every Good Boy Does Fine?
I think I'm being patient enough; I don't get exasperated or anything, but she is not very patient with herself. When she does it wrong she gets upset and doesn't want to do it again.
I'm starting to worry about the dreaded BAD HABITS that I am instilling again and bracing myself for a tongue-lashing from the music teacher next year.
Should I just keep plugging away in the Suzuki book and hope it eventually sinks in?
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