Advice about repetition for a kid
I need some advice about how to practice with our daughter. She is 7 years old, loves to play her violin very much (for almost 2 years now) and therefor progressing fast. The problem is: she loves to play, not to practice. We never had instructions about how to practice, I was already very happy that she played every day and I never thought about repetitions. She always played everything once, and when she liked a song she played it a couple of times. But now the pieces are getting way longer (and she is going to do some competitions next year), so repetitions are getting necessary. The teacher said that she has to practice each piece at least three times. We tried it, but our daughter refuses. It’s off course a big step, it triples the practice time (and isn’t much fun). But I can see that she is at a point where repetitions are necessary, but how do I get her to do that? Who has tips for me?
I may be off the correct track, but
To another part of your question: How long are you supposed to practice WITH your daughter? Is this something the teacher suggested? Did you already play the violin or are you learning with her?
What level is she playing at now? (Current and recent repertoire? Suzuki book?)
I suspect that in this case the parent is present as a coach rather than as a co-learner.
Apart from short Book 1 type pieces, it really isn't appropriate in my opinion to play through a piece in its entirety three times a day. This is just going to burn your kiddo out and she will not want to play. In the weeks leading up to an audition or competition, we do play through the entire piece more often, but at most only twice, and only for a discrete period of time. Some things we did to make this more interesting at that age included: playing for stuffed animals/dolls, playing outside, playing in different places (try the bathtub!), playing in funny outfits, etc.
Kids like to play. They don't like to work. Therefore you must make work into play.
Thanks everybody, your comments are great and very helpfull! I think my main question is: how should a enthusiastic 7 year old practice at home? In a way that she will progress, but keep the fun. Our teacher is great, but on this point not very specific. Before the summer our daughter did daily 2 scales, 3 to 5 short pieces for technique, a couple of exercises for position playing and 2 or 3 concert pieces. She played everything once, which took about 45 minutes. Besides that she played what she wanted to play for fun. But now the assignment is to do everything 3 times. So it triples the practice time, which I personally think it’s way too long. And since then there is a struggle and she is less enthusiastic. The instruction is like Paul Deck wrote: first the intonation, then the bowing etc. But she doesn’t want to do it. I think she is at the point where she is able to watch these things at the same time. But how to break down the piece in parts? Only the parts that are difficult? Or line by line?
So my girl is 6 and progressing fast so, likes to play but doesnt like to practise, so maybe I can tell how we do things to give you an idea.
I used to teach children, not in a musical context, but I found that getting them to do the work was a lot easier when it was made into a game/fun.
I have to wonder where the line is drawn between playing and practicing. As one who teaches, I understand that developing particular skills are essential and often that translates into repeating patterns until you get them right as well as creating the neural pathways that will, in time, make that skill automatic.
@Maria Lammi Thank you for sharing your experiences! Great insight, very helpful!
Mikki, the thing is that with violin everything is extremely difficult or should I say painfull to relearn.
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