Teaching an... interesting child.
In return for my piano teacher kindly giving me free piano lessons, in perhaps a few months she wants me to teach her grandson violin.
He's 5 right now, will be 6 next month.
He plays piano and pipe organ, and also sings. He's learning to read music fluently right now.
Anyways, he told his grandma (my piano teacher) that he wants to "be like Mozart," and she told him in return that he needed to play violin if that's what he wanted.
He also sings Russian art songs (his grandma and he are Russian) in the shower (and he's 5, try and imagine that one).
Anyways, he's an interesting child. Also a lefty, which I think will be helpful for him (though being a righty also has its advantages as a violinist).
I'll make an update thread soon.
In my experience, left-handers struggle a lot more initially because the bow is far more challenging than the fingers, regarding spatial awareness. This all levels out eventually, but does affect the first year or two of learning.
No, his grandma is the type who taught her kid and her grandkid(s - soon to be two) piano herself. She will almost definitely keep an eye on him. She's a professional pianist, and her brother was a professional violinist, so she has knowledge of the instrument, but she just doesn't play violin herself. She occasionally talks about how she regrets not asking her brother to teach her.
I was thinking more of the parents than the grandma. Does she see him every day?
Do you know what method book you're going to use?
Erik - Yes, he does. Especially that the parents are going to have a newborn in April, he's going to be spending the majority of a few months with his grandma. Even after that, he still spends a lot of time with her because his parents both work at the same time and they can't just leave him.
Julie - I don't really use method books with my students. I usually arrange my own stuff, because every student is different. I mean, nobody actually uses method books exactly as specified, but... you get my point.
Madeye - I didn't know that Leopold Mozart wrote a violin method. Would probably be an interesting read, if I could read German... I wonder if there is an English translation?
I think Erik is right. My son has a Russian teacher, and she expects him to do homework by himself, unless there is something special. In such cases, I am invited in the class and get my homework and very detailed information about what my exact role is during the home practice.
There is an English translation of Leopold Mozart's Treatise by Editha knocker. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_22?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=a+treatise+on+the+fundamental+principles+of+violin+playing&sprefix=a+treatise+on+the+fund%2Caps%2C176&crid=KWGJADW2QX9X
Leopold Mozart's book isn't going to turn any young child into the next Mozart any more than wearing a powdered wig. What will? Nurturing the child's genuine curiosity while providing a foundation of legitimate skill. This can be done by supplementing the normal Suzuki-book approach with improvisation, composition, playing tunes off of the radio by ear. When I was a young boy my favorite part of my violin lessons was when my teacher would play duets with me.
No, I was just curious to see what the methods back then were like. I'm sure they're substantially different from now and they would be an interesting historical read.
Retired teacher here, only blessed with kinder for 1 year, then cursed with middle school for the rest.
No, I'm not planning on using a method book. The most effective teaching I've gotten came from teachers who had me turn up, saw me, and knew what I needed.
Also, again in response to Erik, he's also a pianist, which will help equally develop both hands. MRI scans done on pianists have shown that while yes, most of them have a dominant hand, there is very little difference between abilities of either hand.
Nina, according to your posts, you are younger? High school? There is a point where a formal method book isn't exactly needed anymore- for instance, most Suzuki students don't go much past book 4 or 5. I've been teaching students for a long time now, and I have to say I've never seen a successful beginner who started out with no particular method. I have, however, remediated many, many such students of no particular method teaching style.
I understand what you are saying, Julie, but I myself started out with 'no particular method.' And it worked.
Michael, I have no idea what 'it worked' meant for you. Nor do I have idea what you could have accomplished with more directed teaching. This is the proverbial "I was spanked as a child and I turned out just fine" argument. What does just fine mean? How does one measure that?
I assumed Nina was a teacher. Nothing like an inexperienced teacher to ruin early talent and promise!
I do teach, though... I have a few students, one is 7, and the other 2 are 8.
As a young teacher myself, I would strongly suggest using a method book. There are probably two reasons your teacher was able to get away with not using one: 1. You may have been past the developmental stage where it was necessary, and 2. Your teacher was far more experienced. Teaching is a completely different skill set; just because someone can play well, doesn't mean they can identify flaws in someone else's playing, and effectively help them solve those problems.
"Should she get someone else to teach him?"
I will say this: teaching a method book without understanding the logic behind the method can sometimes be worse than simply "winging it."
So, this is a child that is likely to be talented and progress fast. The likelihood of him becoming a violinist is a lot higher that an average child.
I, for one, support Nina Roco's approach of adapting to each kid's needs. I think good teachers are able to taylor the lesson much better than any method, and I have no reason to believe that Nina is not a good teacher. I actually applaud and respect the illusion and interest showed about this kid. That fire is probably what makes the best teacher for him.
Nina, his grandmother knows you, and knows your skills, as well as her grandson's abilities and needs. If she trusts you, then go ahead! With your approach, with your mind set and with your soul.
I have high faith in Nina. The fact that she's interested in teaching from a reasonably young age and seems to be very knowledgeable about violin in general is a great sign.
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