Rice Preparatory Program Update

Edited: July 17, 2018, 9:48 AM · The thread I started no longer accepts posts. Here is the original discussion:

Original Thread

In additional to public comments, I’ve received several helpful private e-mails. Thank you everyone for the inputs.

Looking back, it was definitely the right decision.

This video was around spring in 2015, taught by Suzuki teacher prior to entering Rice:

Two Grenadiers

After lessons at Rice for about 10 month, in January 2016:

Theme and Variations

At a Halloween costume recital in 2017:

Air Varie

Replies (10)

July 17, 2018, 9:57 AM · I'm glad that worked out for you, and thank you for updating!

I'm curious how much your daughter is practicing each day now.

July 17, 2018, 10:38 AM · In the summer time when the school is out, about 90 minutes a day, broken up in different times of the day.

During school months, about 40 minutes, mostly in one session.

We really work hard trying to have efficient practice rather than endless practice.

July 17, 2018, 3:42 PM · "We really work hard trying to have efficient practice rather than endless practice."

That's wonderful; I wish more parent/student pairs had that attitude.

Congratulations to your daughter on her progress and to you for being such a proactive parent.

July 18, 2018, 9:02 AM · She's doing great! I wish I had started so early. :-)
July 18, 2018, 12:34 PM · Your daughter plays so well at such a young age! And you are great parents to encourage her and for making the effort to put her in that program. My parents didn't think it was worth it to learn violin when I was growing up and they would have never bothered to find a program such as the one at Rice to accelerate my learning. So kudos to you!

Looking forward to future progress reports!

July 18, 2018, 2:30 PM · There is really nothing special about the Rice program other than providing the building space. Otherwise it’s the same as a well-run studio.

The University reserves spaces for lessons and recitals, and provide a graduate student for piano accompaniment. The involvement is minimal. Each teacher individually runs as he sees fit.

There are 8 to 10 recital opportunities a year, I think that’s a big plus, as that provides goal-setting and motivation. There are so many recitals that often, for high school students, they are the only ones shows up, without their teachers or parents, or anyone else that they personally know to see them perform. It’s not unusual to see more performers than there are audiences.

Rhiannon: efficient practice will accelerate your progress way more than teacher differences. Find a teacher that have a performance degree from a good school, then the rest is determined by you.

July 19, 2018, 5:07 AM · "efficient practice will accelerate your progress way more than teacher differences"

You may be taking it for granted that you've only experienced very good teachers up to this point.

However, efficient practice is indeed on the top of the priority list.

July 19, 2018, 1:05 PM · I've been checking out one of the schools here. They hold recitals twice a year. It's mandatory so students have to perform no matter what. As a result, most students play like they're still at home learning the piece, lol! A lot of stops and starts. That's just one school though. I need to look at the others and see if they have any videos of their recitals.

I think the Rice program is great because it appears to take the more motivated students. From what I saw, those students already have much better intonation, no stopping then starting, are able to read the sheet music without any trouble and their technique is much more advanced in a shorter time.

I agree with you that efficient practice is better than mindless repetitive practice. I found a video of a professional violinist who filmed a typical practice day. After a good breakfast, she took out some sheet music and made notes on it. I'm not sure what though - maybe problematic segments to focus on. From 9am to 10:30am she did scales and all that other stuff to limber up from certain books she recommends: Schradieck (finger strength), Dounis (finger independence), and Contemporary Violin Technique (Neumann and Galamian). She had a coffee break for half an hour. At 11am she practiced Paganini Caprice #2 even showing how she struggled in some parts. At 12:30am she had her lunch hour. At 1:30 she relaxed and read a book. Practice started up again at 2pm but I think it was on another piece. She was concentrating on a passage that was difficult for her. She played it correctly, but was trying to improve the sound of it as it wasn't smooth just yet, so she was playing it over until she got better at it. At 3:30pm she did yoga. Back to practice at 4:30pm. She concluded the day at 6pm when she did desk work: administrative work and correspondence.

So she basically did maybe 1/2-hour working out a practice plan, 1-1/2 hours of technique practice and about 4-1/2 hours of practicing spread through out the day. But that's because she is a professional.

I also saw a video of Itzhak Perlman and he advised not to practice too much too - he said 4 or 5 hours at the most which should be broken down to 50 minute segments and rest time between each segment. He himself only practices 3 hours a day.

Realistically I wouldn't practice THAT much - maybe an hour a day more or less, but I'll try to adopt what that professional violinist did for practice.

July 19, 2018, 3:38 PM · We have temporary lessons when the teacher is out of the town. Including summer camps and chamber music, I think we’ve had more than 20 teachers.

Most of them look competent to us. We really don’t have any idea what’s a good violin teacher.

Rhiannon – an hour of practice should be fine. We aim for about 50 minutes of practice a day.

Volumes can be written about efficient practice. It’d be too lengthy to write them up here. Send me a private e-mail if you’d like.

July 19, 2018, 5:08 PM · One of the things I'm adopting is what your daughter did. In your original thread, you mentioned that if she didn't like a song, that she would play it in different ways or places which I thought was absolutely BRILLIANT! And she was so creative about coming up with the ways to make it fun to learn the piece. I would have never come up with that on my own, much less find different creative ways to play something I don't like. I may be a full grown adult, but I think it would be much more interesting and fun to play a song I didn't like while marching or walking around. Transposing is also a great idea and making the song into an exercise by playing it on one string. Also writing variations to make the song more like something you might like! Your daughter has so many good ideas!

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