What pieces to play after Seitz Concerto No 4?

December 27, 2022, 2:23 AM · My daugher is 4. She finished Seitz Concerto No 2 and No 5, Dancla Air Varie Op89, No. 3 on a theme by Bellini.
Now the teacher gave us Seitz No 4 to work on.

I am kind of tired of Seitz. I would like to request some nice pieces like Bach A minor or Mozart Concerto no 3 after Seitz Concerto 4.

Is it reasonable request?

What would be your recommendation?

By the way, the teacher hasn't taught her vibrato yet...

Replies (71)

Edited: December 27, 2022, 3:28 AM · Seitz's concerto extracts are found in Suzuki vol.4, Bach's A minor concerto in vol.7, and Mozart's 5th and 4th in vols.9 and 10...

Seitz was a well-meaning pedagogue, trying to bridge the gap between (genuine) baroque dance movements and classical/romantic styles.
As a composer? Well...

December 27, 2022, 4:43 AM · Greetings,
I can understand your frustration but what you are suggesting would be too big a leap. Before that you might consider the Vivaldi A minor concerto although that also has some very subtle difficulties embedded in it. One only has to watch the Zhakar Bron DVD teaching it to a student somewhat more advanced than your daughter to see what I am talking about. Sometimes the longest route is the best. Dancla is very useful by the way…
Edited: December 27, 2022, 9:07 AM · At that stage, it's not about what you can list as "conquered repertoire" but rather it's about what you learn. And learn properly.

I know what you mean about Seitz. Musically, it's droll stuff. But here's my story. When I returned to the violin after 25 years away (at the age of 43 or so), my teacher asked me to play something. I tried to play the first couple of pages of Mozart 3, which is what I was working on when I left home for college. (My daughter had been his pupil for a year or so, and she was in Suzuki Book 2.) When I stopped, he said something vague like, "Well, you have good ... skill ..." with pauses like that. And then he said, "Paul, do you have any Suzuki books?" And he assigned me Seitz Concerto in D Major, which I think is No. 5. I felt imprisoned. But I soon realized how much I needed to learn about really basic stuff -- stuff my childhood teacher had never taught me, like how to play in tune, or how to generate a projecting tone. I also came to understand that I had no earthly business working on Mozart 3 as a teenager.

I performed the piece at a little adults-only recital that my teacher staged at a retirement community. The performer before me was a solo guitarist. The guitar is inherently a soft instrument, and many of the audience members are deaf. One of the audience members must have fallen asleep. The Seitz D Major starts with a bold "forte" theme, and when I tore into that first note, that poor old soul just about fell out of her chair. Her misfortune somehow charged me with confidence and I nailed my performance.

One thing I'm glad I didn't do with my daughter was try to push her teacher to skip ahead in the repertoire list. I complained a little about the lack of musicality in some of the choices (Seitz, Beriot, etc.), but I kind of wish I hadn't. My suggestion is to let your daughter develop her own musical taste free of your biases. At home you can keep listening to great music, and you can talk about what makes it great: compelling themes; development; changes in harmony; overall structure, etc.

The journey will be more fun -- for both of you -- without you telling her that the pieces her teacher has assigned are beneath her.

December 27, 2022, 11:14 AM · Definitely Ernst, but the question that you need to figure out with the teacher is whether Otello or Last Rose would be most appropriate.
December 27, 2022, 1:41 PM · Please listen to Buri and Paul.

Your daughter is four. At this stage it is far more important that skills be developed correctly and repeated to the point where they become automatic than it is that she attempt repertoire that is beyond her.

Honestly I wouldn’t even go to the Vivaldi a minor yet. I like to teach the Vivaldi G major first (NOT g minor). It is a charming piece that incorporates third position, half position, and passage work.

Edited: December 27, 2022, 4:56 PM · Some other options at a similar level, but "not Seitz" :)

-Vivaldi G major, as Mary mentioned
-La Cinquaintaine--a short piece, but lovely, great for shifting (vibrato application too). If your teacher is open to using the Barbara Barber books, there are several pieces of varied length in the second half of bk 1 that are really fun to learn and have good stylistic breadth. There is also some Bach in the beginning that is probably low-hanging fruit for your daughter but might be an enjoyable, easy contrast.
-Rieding b minor. I consider Rieding in the same "family" as Seitz as a composer, but the b minor (op. 25??) is really lovely and fun. The G maj op. 24 might also be fun but probably a stretch as it uses 5th pos. pretty heavily +lots of chromatics. (Is your daughter doing all mvts. of the Seitzes? I don't think I've taught 4, but seem to remember that it is a bit of a difficulty jump, so you might be working at a higher level than we're guessing.)
-Concertino, Grazyna Bacewicz. Again a little stretch from Seitz 2/5, fast shifting and a bit more complex in tonality and passagework patterning, but one of my absolute favorite pieces around this level!!

December 27, 2022, 2:36 PM · @Christian, mocking isn't helping. :(
Edited: December 27, 2022, 2:51 PM · You're right Paul, Ernst is kind of dry.

Definitely at least Paganini by 5, or there's really no hope.

(btw, I have not yet begun to mock)

December 27, 2022, 4:33 PM · Having listened to Seitz 4, I’m pretty confused as to why anyone would think this isn’t “good enough” for a 4(!!!!) year old. This is apparently the sort of thing used for all-county/all state for various school systems, played by middle and high school kids. How could it possibly be beneath a 4 year old?
December 27, 2022, 4:55 PM · I admit that if I was the parent doing all the practice with the 4yo, I might also be looking for a Seitz break--for my own sake!
(Actually I reasonably like the early Seitz, but three in a row would be more than plenty) :)
December 27, 2022, 5:40 PM · Both the Bach and the Mozart you mentioned are better off waiting a few years -- not because they are hard note-wise, but because the most important thing to learn on them is style (especially Mozart). No matter how talented the 4yo, I don't think one exists who is capable of playing a stylistic Mozart, perhaps only because fractional instruments and bows can't produce the correct bow strokes, but more likely because the kids can't understand the style yet.

I had a kid who started at age 5 and could play Vivaldi a minor competently almost immediately after starting. However, his teacher still made him go through the usual sequence of pieces to correctly develop technique and make sure he had all the requisite skills. His first teacher did admittedly hold him back too much (a story for another time), which caused some frustration, but on the other hand, he has the widest repertoire of any 17yo I currently know because of it!

Moral of the story: it's perfectly fine to do a lot of early-level pieces as long as your kid is enjoying herself. That doesn't mean it has to be all Seitz. There are so many other options at this level. Any of the usual Vivaldi concertos (G major, a minor, then g minor in that order), some early Bach sonata movements, maybe even one of the easier Haydn concerto movements, though that may be pushing it. Some of the easier Handel sonata movements, perhaps. The first and perhaps second Barbara Barber Solos for Young Violinists book. There are also a lot of nice collections from the ABRSM syllabus (look at Levels 3 and 4 most likely) that will provide a wide variety of pieces at the same level from different periods and styles.

Edited: December 27, 2022, 5:50 PM · In my opinion, what Mary Ellen has written is absolutely correct.

My question for Eriko, the parent, is whether you are a bowed-string player yourself.
Are you?
If so, then you know what you're are dealing with with your talented daughter and with her teacher, but if not, then perhaps you don't know.

Based on the music your daughter has been working on it is reasonable for me to assume she is working from the current Suzuki books. The Suzuki books, in my opinion, are a very well graded course - at least they were with the early books that I taught ( cello and violin) from between the 1970s to around 2005. Before then I taught more the way I was taught from age 4 (on violin - not very successfully in my pre-teen years, I might add). But in my mid teens my father brought home a cello and I took to that like a fish to water and once my lessons started the next month (with a retired major symphony cellist) I progressed very fast. It was only many years later, when I was teaching from the Suzuki cello books that I found they followed very closely the progression that my cello teacher, (who had studied and advanced to professional status in the 19-teens (before WW-I)) used on me.

Edited: December 28, 2022, 1:45 AM · Thank you all. I read all comments and they are all extremely helpful and some very funny. I am an amateur violin player and have been helping my daughter play the violin since she was around 3. I know that she must follow the order to build good basic skill. After some reflections I think Seitz No 4 Concerto is challenging and is good for her to acquire new techniques. I will trust her teacher and just focus on playing this piece well for now. She will play either movement 1 or 3 in a local competition in Apr.

Seitz Concerto 4 (movement 1 or 3) is much more difficult than 2 or 5. It is not on Suzuki book.
I think the level of this concerto is not too far from that of Bach concerto in A minor...
That is why I thought Bach concerto could be a good choice after this concerto.

A link to Seitz concerto 4

Her teacher does not use Suzuki books but some books only available in Japanese. Now using basic scale books, but she said my daughter is ready for carl flesch scales now. Also she us doing Wohlfahrt books and sevsik 1 and other books for duo practice.

By the way Midori's mother let her and Ryu play Mendelssohn and Thaikovsky Concertos when they were only 5. It was just great motivation for them to be able to play those popular pieces. Normally a mother cannot do it unless she were a violinist, but I think it is a nice idea if you could do it.

Edited: December 28, 2022, 1:51 AM · Greetings,
glad you have come round to that conclusion. Japanese teachers have a very strong tendency to use the Flesch system at an incredibly early age and not explore other options but seem to be getting the results (most of the time…)
I reviewed a new edition of Flesch in a fairly recent blog on this site so if you haven’t yet bought it I recommended that one. It really is more user friendly than all the other editions.
I can believe Midori was capable of Mendelssohn at five since she has the same kind of talent as Heifetz/Haendal et al. In such cases it is quite reasonable to give a highly advanced piece to soon and then cycle back to clean things up. It is a method of teaching that I read the great Russian teacher Yankelevitvh used to a fair extent. With all due respect I don’t think Ryu is in the same class a sMidori and I have been to many of his concerts and talked to him a few times. He is held in -tremendous- respect (rightly so) by topJapanes professionals for his technique which was achieved by a fetishist amount of practice in his teens but also, in my opinion lead to a considerable stultification of his musical personality. There is a video extant of Ryu playing Paginin1 at about the age of 7 with a pro orchestra. To be honest it is more a manifestation of Dr Johnson’s dog (It’s not what he did but the fact that he did it) than true prodigism.
Midori on the other hand, on her good days, can match any of the greatest artists in history note for note, no question.
Idle thoughts,
December 28, 2022, 2:02 AM · Thank you Buri.
I of course agree the level of Midori and Ryu are not comparable.
I heard Midori had to practice 4 hours a day from around age 4 or 5. Ryu started when he was 3, and he was treated the same way by the way.

December 28, 2022, 3:05 AM · Yep.
Midori and Ryu7s mother has often been spoken off as a kind of tyrant figure whose approach led to Midori’s problems in her late teens blah blah blah. I am inclined to a more flexible view based on the fact that both offspring have turned out to be among the most utterly friendly and charming people on the planet.
Go figure.
Edited: December 28, 2022, 1:19 PM · Indeed, No4 is more interesting than I expected!

I also like Rieding's little B minor: it's charming, though my students find it loses its way a little in the middle section.

I know I can be a terrible snob, but I am sometimes upset to hear folks suggest that something (e.g. a piece of music or an instrument) is "good enough for youngsters" (though no-one said such a thing here).

Edited: December 28, 2022, 9:29 AM · Itzhak Perlman's CD "Concertos from My Childhood" is worthy of note. Although it has become an expensive collector's item, its content is available as an MP3 folder from Amazon for about $7.


Edited: December 28, 2022, 10:40 AM · It's really amazing that Midori and Ryu Goto were able to become excellent violinists and kind, giving musicians despite having abusive childhoods of practicing violin for hours per day at an incredibly early age. They are the exceptions, and Midori wrote in her memoir about suffering from anorexia and depression, and taking a long journey into psychology in order to untangle the damage done.

Children being made to perform in ways that is beyond their developmental capacities is clearly possible, and is abuse, and has long-ranging effects.

Children are not small adults, and seeing the Gotos as models to follow is baffling to me.

December 28, 2022, 10:54 AM · Yes, thank you Andrew for noting Itzhak Perlman's CD of those concertos. Great stuff as it contains Rieding's Concerto in B minor, Seitz' Concerto No. 2, Accolay's Concerto No. 1 in A minor, De Beriot's Scene de Ballet, and Viotti's Concerto No. 22 in A minor. I figure if it was good for Perlman, it'll be good for those learning the violin at any age.

In response to Eriko, it's good to hear that your daughter's teacher is taking her through scale systems, etudes, and technical studies in order to give her a solid foundation. The standard repertoire will come sooner than later and with facility when a student is diligent in working on scales and etudes/caprices. Perhaps her teacher can introduce her to short piece/encore type repertoire that will challenge her appropriately and yet, be fun to perform.

On another note, I find W.A. Mozart violin concertos fun to work on, but absolutely terrifying to perform; throw Mendelssohn's Concerto Op. 64 in there too

Edited: December 28, 2022, 1:45 PM · I’m with Christian. The sort of parenting Midori and Ryu endured, is deeply damaging, both to the children, and to their relationships with their parents (and often, others). I have friends who grew up this way (not musicians), and have watched some kids grow up with Tiger parents, and it never ends well.

Erika, it’s okay if your child plays Mendelssohn when they’re 8 or 10, or god forbid, after they’re a teen. The important thing is to nurture their love for music, not get to goals before others do.

December 28, 2022, 1:17 PM · @ Rev Prerez
I find that the necessary "diligence" is an quality of good practicing and not a result of scales and études, which in themselves nourish, rather than create, ability and musicianship.
December 28, 2022, 2:22 PM · I'm not sure what piece might be appropriate after Seitz (Fiocco Allegro?). But over the past weekend, I was looking at Louis Spohr's Violinschule and I noticed that he emphasized duets between the teacher (or master) and student. I think that's a good thing; it makes it more interesting when practicing scales/etudes etc.

He recommended 2 hours of practice a day for serious students with orchestra ambitions.

Edited: December 28, 2022, 2:35 PM · Greetings,
apologies for dragging people off topic but I would respectfully disagree to some extent about the comments concerning Midori et al. and monster parenting. Firstly, none of us (including me) know to what extent she expressed meaningful love to her children.
Secondly, the blanket statement ‘the outomce is always horrible’ is, I think only true most of the time. There are definitely well know exceptions to be found in the annals of psychology. One of the most well known being the Hungarian chess master who bought his two girls up to be chess grandmasters by having them do only chess from an early age. This wa s criticized in much the same way but the result was good. This is often discussed within the context of flow theory. Providing children with an extremely structured environment in which they focus on only one thing may well be out of fashion (perhaps for good reason?). but it may be a better alternative to the excessive use of freedom a child cannot handle combined with an excessive amount of praise and encouragement, an approach which has, according to some pundits, weakened the psyche of the millennial generation:)
We can certainly agree that abusive and cruel monster parents should be tied down in hell and subjected to their least favorite music and reruns of the Wogan show for all eternity.
Have a Happy and Safe New Year,
December 28, 2022, 3:45 PM · No Buri, it's very clear that if the children practiced for hours per day at such a young age, then a failure of parenting occurred. "Meaningful love" is a term that you can fill up with whatever, but a parent either driving a child to do hours of chess or music, or not providing boundaries and variety to a child that somehow might be inclined to do so for endless hours is a failure of parenting.

Abuse can be much more subtle than the picture you paint. If becoming a chess master or violin virtuoso is the measure of whether "the result was good", then we can sweep the insanity of the method, as well as all the side-effects, under the rug.

I believe that a child can have a healthy relationship with music and still go on to become a fantastic player, but the Gotos, without reservation, should serve as a warning. Unequivocally.

December 28, 2022, 5:14 PM · The Polgar experiment, where he set about to deliberately create prodigies by homeschooling them and feeding them an endless supply of chess and nothing but chess? I’m not sure any reasonable person would consider this to be a reasonable parenting model (and that was not Papa Polgar’s intent anyway). I think even he acknowledged that you have to develop the child’s interest, not push, and not push them into competitive situations before they’re ready.
December 28, 2022, 5:45 PM · Okay. If hours of practice at early age is a failure of parenting or abuse, most great musicians were victims then. Vengerov practiced 7 hours a day from age 5. Talent comes at cost.
Edited: December 28, 2022, 6:19 PM · That's right, Eriko, say it out loud.

I consider my comments in this thread to be a bit of a Rorschach Test, and I feel great pity for you if you happen to see yourself in them.

If what you say is true, then Vengerov had absolutely pathetic parenting.

December 28, 2022, 9:29 PM · Practicing 7 hours a day is not the cost. What happens to the child and your relationship to the child - that is the cost.

Even Vengerov (maybe his parents could be forgiven for using him as their ticket out of poverty) took an extended sabbatical when he was just 32. It was an injury that forced it, but he didn’t come back for years after he had healed, because he had lost his love of the violin.

December 28, 2022, 10:01 PM · If Vengerov was being forced by his parents to practice 7 hours a day at the age of 5, that is indeed abuse. If Vengerov chose to practice that long, there is no abuse, and only a brilliant child.
December 28, 2022, 11:00 PM · If I recall correctly, Vengerov was promised he could go play after he was done practicing. Which he never got to do because he’d finish too late.

Wasn’t it Paganini’s father who’d lock him up in a room and make him practice, and not provide him food unless he performed to the father’s satisfaction? I suppose it’s possible to torment children into being great musicians, but I hope no one actually advocates for it.

December 28, 2022, 11:21 PM · Yeah, Bruce, that's called neglect.
December 29, 2022, 1:00 AM · It’s ironic that we call child abuse when the child is asked to play violin or play chess for 7 hours a day, but we call basic human right to make a child go to school to learn math and reading for 8 hours a day.
Edited: December 29, 2022, 7:52 AM · Christian, not only was I not one of these brilliant children, but I've also never tried to raise one. So all I can rely on here is "common sense". If you're forcing somebody to do something extreme and unusual against their will for 7 hours, I consider that abusive. If a brilliant child is choosing to practice this number of hours, you can't really call it neglect unless they are being denied other key and important aspects of personal development, but that too is a bit of stretch. Are you arguing that a child is being neglected if they fail to grow up in an environment that ensures balanced development, because I'm not sure that I agree with this. I think that people who have extreme abilities, must be provided with the basic necessities of life and personal development, but otherwise be allowed to focus on their extreme abilities.
December 29, 2022, 11:15 AM · Liyun, what's ironic is rain on your wedding day.

Children going to school for 8 hours per day get a wide variety of SOCIAL interactions that are absolutely necessary for their development. They learn a variety of skills and have a competent adult watching out for them. Most well-adjusted children enjoy going to school. Being in a room alone for 8 hours doing a single task (that may also lead to injury, since it's a repetitive one) is not healthy. Kids need boundaries even on the things they love to do. You wouldn't let a kid go to the gym for 7 hours even if they were brilliant at lifting weights. You hopefully wouldn't let a kid play videogames for 7 hours even if they were brilliant at Tetris.

Bruce, and Eriko, I'll leave it at this and make a practical plea for a much better method of learning an instrument. There is absolutely no need for such a practice regimen for someone to become an excellent violinist. Such a regimen is totally inefficient and likely to bake in all kinds of problems in the playing itself. No one can focus on such a precise task for so long, much less a child. Children and adults consolidate learning in their sleep, and exercise also helps to actually consolidate learning of tasks performed prior to exercise.

Kids need variety and meaningful social interaction with both peers and caring adults, as a part of healthy development. Not having meaningful social interaction is highly stressful, and stress is very detrimental for learning. Music is highly tied to emotion; why stunt their emotional development and rob them of a great tool that they can use to add meaning to the music (and also live a life THEY will find fulfilling)?

Sue, BTW, I appreciate all you have written in here.

December 29, 2022, 11:22 AM · Likewise the Polgar sisters have all claimed that they chose to play chess, that they wanted to study chess, and the like. And they were home-schooled. We know that home-schooling can be quite efficient compared to regular public school, but both the efficiency and the outcomes depend on the child, the parent-teacher, and the environment. I met Susan Polgar when she played a simultaneous exhibition at Virginia Tech, during the height of her playing career. Her sobriquet, "The Queen of Chess" -- a woman of exceptional intellect, effortless grace, and flawless manners -- was on full display in every aspect of her visit. It would not surprise me to learn that her daily childhood "school work" of math, language, history, etc., was completed easily in an hour or two.
December 29, 2022, 12:16 PM · Christian, I don't disagree with anything you've written. However, how many of the great violinists that we all look up to, had that ideal upbringing that you are proposing? I guess we'll never know with certainty whether these great violinists would have been greater or lesser if they've had the benefit of that balanced upbringing. In general, I find that extremely talented people are not balanced. In contrast, for better, or for worse, they are very focussed on their primary talent.
Edited: December 29, 2022, 1:23 PM · I think we should look to the ones that had wholesome, or at least not abnormally driven childhoods, and still managed to become world-class violinists as models, rather than ones who did it despite having abusive or neglectful childhoods.

Looking to the outliers that did it despite great adversity will hide the number of kids that totally flamed out when ridden that hard. Vengerov may have grown up poor in Siberia, but presumably, we are living in places with much greater possibilities.

I'm not even advocating for an ideal upbringing. Good enough parenting is not a crazy standard. The idea that a great violinist is created through unrelenting focus on music is an unnecessary dichotomy.


Edited: December 29, 2022, 1:32 PM · Perhaps, on the other hand, adversity acts as a great filter, allowing us to focus on only those individuals with key character strengths. Would we have had a greater Mozart or Beethoven were it not for their abusive upbringing, or was their reaction to the adversity created by their upbringing what made them the great composers that we recognize today?
December 29, 2022, 2:03 PM · We'll never know the counterfactuals, Bruce, but if a parent sets a child up to be a tight-rope walker, then the parent suddenly has a lot more responsibility to keep the child safe. Mendelssohn seems to have grown up in a rich intellectual environment where he didn't seem to be driven monomaniacally to do music.

I think I'm going to leave it here, but it has been interesting.

December 29, 2022, 2:05 PM · To a very large degree, we don't know much about the internal workings of geniuses/prodigies with pushy parents. Do they grow up to be decent human beings? Are they able to have normal relationships? When given the opportunity, are they choosing to raise their children how they were raised? If their upbringing was so great, why aren't they repeating that same model with their children?

When my daughter was very young, 3-4 years old, her music teacher in school pulled me aside and said that there is something interesting there, but to let her get old enough where she can express an interest, and to not start an instrument before the age of 6 (5 for piano). I will always be grateful to her for that guidance. My daughter asked to play the violin at 7. She's not the second coming of Menuhin or anything, but she is a good violinist who enjoys what she's doing (most days), and I think she will continue to play as an adult.

It also turns out that she is good at lots of things. She was a black belt by the age of 8. She is an excellent swimmer. She can draw, paint, do digital art, sew, and just picked up crocheting (in the last few hours). She is a good cook and an excellent baker. She's also a good student, and very good at math. Most days, she's a really good kid to be around, despite being a tween.

She still has a long list of things she wants to learn. Of all the things that she has done, what I am most proud of is the one thing that she has struggled with. She is not a natural at it, and it very much plays into her fears, but she has persevered. I think that resilience will serve her well in the future.

As parents, I think it's our job to provide opportunities to our children (as our means allow), and support them in their interests, but also provide balance, because we are the ones with the mature brains and life experiences. Maybe you can turn a child into a prodigy by feeding them a strict diet of whatever you think they should be good at, but maybe in that process you are depriving the child of balance and growth in other areas where they could have also excelled.

December 29, 2022, 3:32 PM · So, is wanting to listen to violinists like Vengerov in the same general category as wanting to eat milk-fed veal?
Edited: December 29, 2022, 3:48 PM · Maybe more like drinking the milk of the veal. I don't care for Vengerov's playing, but I love Midori's. I don't have any qualms listening to and not crying over spilled veal milk, or listening to lemonade made from the lemons of hypothetical human suffering.
Edited: December 29, 2022, 3:59 PM · From what I’ve read, Menuhin seems to have had a happy childhood and youth, though he writes about some aspects of his early adulthood as not being successful, the result of some emotional imbalances. That said, how many people can look back on their early adult life and truly say that everything ran on smooth rails? I’ve always found his writing characterized by personal insight and honesty, and what he says about his school suggests concern to balance intense musical education with a holistic regard for the students’ all-round development.
December 29, 2022, 4:17 PM · I think we can name many different things that are rooted in dubious ethics in our society. How many human lives have been sacrificed in the name of that one item that you put into your car every few days. Parenting is not easy. And I don't think there's a single perfect approach that applies well to every child in every situation. Most parents are just doing their best.
December 29, 2022, 5:44 PM · We have struggled a ton with this balance for my son. From the time he entered a real music program, we've been encouraged to pull him out of school and put 100% focus on music. He's a kid who independently will practice violin 2-3 hours a day (from a young age), and also plays piano and composes a bit daily. But we wanted him to have social interaction and normal school and even some normal activities to be well-rounded.

We've seen what life has been like for some of his peers who went the other route, and while he would probably feel a bit less overwhelmed, I also think he would likely burn out and have lots of issues. It is not uncommon to see other families who pull their kids out of school, force the kid to practice 6 hours a day (with parent constantly correcting), and forcing the kid to drop other activities. From what I have seen, these kids are not really doing much better than my son is, and they certainly aren't as well-rounded. Yes, they may have won tons of competitions, especially as little kids, but they are missing a lot of the depth of character and a lot of them end up burning out.

As in all things, BALANCE is critical. It's really hard to achieve with some of these extremely talented kids. Our principle has always been that you don't have to achieve XYZ by any certain age. Take your time, be a human, and it will come.

December 29, 2022, 5:53 PM · ****APPLAUSE*** to Susan.
December 29, 2022, 6:05 PM · Getting back on topic, I agree with the OP that this Concerto No. 4 is harder than his earlier ones. Whether or not, it is close technically to the Bach a minor, is a tough call for me, at least, since it's quite a different style. I'd love to hear how well your little four-year-old is playing this piece - must be pretty cute to watch.
Edited: December 29, 2022, 6:46 PM · Actually, I agree now with the OP. Bach A-minor MIGHT be appropriate.

Take a look at this website. violin masterclass .

That Concerto No. 4 is listed in level three. And the Bach A-minor in level four. This is listed in "graded repertoire"/"violin and piano" on that website.

Anyhow, I reference this website quite a bit myself since I don't have a teacher and I'm trying to develop on my own. My kids get the lessons - not me :-). At least this is another source for you to see other concertos near to the same level as the one your child just finished.


Actually, scratch the above. I see now your daughter is just starting to work on this Concerto No. 4. No, definitely not ready for the a-minor. Sorry. Finish No. 4, and then follow Mary Ellen's advice with the Vivaldi.

December 29, 2022, 8:19 PM · Thank you Bruce. That repertoire list is very helpful. I will request Vivaldi or Bach after this Seitz Concerto 4...
It is a popular piece for a competition among kindergarten kids in Japan.

Not my daughter by the way


December 29, 2022, 8:58 PM · As always I would wish for some kind of study that showed outcomes for (professionally or personally) the kindergarten kids winning a violin competition. Competition and kindergarten in the same sentence makes me flinch.
If I have regret about my daughters early years (she started at 5) it would be that we did not have more recorded music playing more often in the house and attend more performances.
Bravo, Susan!
Edited: December 29, 2022, 9:17 PM · Eriko, it is clearly a very different world in Japan for the talented young kids. I can't imagine my little girl playing at that level when she was 4. Good luck to you and your daughter. I would definitely throw the Bach A-minor at that kid in youtube video you just posted. Easily ready for it.

Same kid at 6.

Time to go pressure my 10 year old daughter. I was teasing her with a youtube video of a an 11 year old girl playing the wieniawski #1 ( the hard one - not #2). I told her she had one year to learn it. :) :)

To everybody else, I think we need to recognize this different world, and be careful not to pass judgement inappropriately.

December 29, 2022, 10:07 PM · How many of those very talented little children in Japan are still playing at age 25?
December 30, 2022, 8:22 AM · Matthew, I tease my daughter all the time about how she’s running out of room to win the Menuhin at a young age.

Further to what Mary Ellen said, how many of those kids have any of us ever heard of? Either they stop playing, or become indistinguishable from everyone else that also play at a high level, so what is the point of rushing to get “there” first?

December 30, 2022, 9:29 AM · Probably, very few last until the age of 25. However, this is a system that was actually created by the western world. Classical violin is a highly ageist and highly competitive field. Tons of extremely talented people who feel the only way they can be recognized is by being young and attractive. Nations like China and Japan and Korea feel they must work extra hard so they can break into that system created by the western world. Perhaps we wouldn't be in this position if we didn't all look up to that young person who is so talented and took for granted the older person who is every bit as talented.

Ironic isn't it that we complain about all these young kids being pressured to succeed at such a young age, yet this is precisely what we seek in this highly competitive field of classical violin - the 11-year-old or so, who has already mastered a big chunk of the major concerto repertoire.

December 30, 2022, 9:51 AM · People should give ambitious parents like Eriko the benefit of the doubt. If Eriko is so ambitious with her daughter about violin playing, chances are good she will also be on matters of general health, education, well-being, caring, etc. Just think about the tens of thousands of young children who "practice" videogaming on their game tablet for hours a day, with parents who, unfortunately, do not have the education, the time, the resources, or the energy required to fill these hours in a more valuable manner.
Edited: December 30, 2022, 11:36 AM · I agree, Jean. I would also wonder are we really upset because we don't like the idea of these kids starting violin at such a young age, or are we upset because we don't have a good system to compete with this. Instead, we live in a society where both parents are forced , not always, but in many cases, to work hard and long hours, and are often too tired to do more than hand our young children a screen rather than a violin.

Look around yourself at the grocery store for example. How many children shopping with their mom or dad, under the age of four, are clinging to a screen? Yet, we are upset about a five year old performing a pretty darn good rendition of the Seitz #4? I think we got our priorities a little bit mixed up here, and we should not be judging! Whether or not that five-year-old becomes a 25 year old successful violinist is besides the point. That five year old brain is far better developed than your average five-year-old playing with their screen.

December 30, 2022, 8:10 PM · There are enough young gymnasts and martial-arts practitioners to keep storefront businesses afloat, but I have only met one person in my entire adult life who competes in (amateur) martial arts tournaments, and zero who are gymnasts. For many many parents, violin is just another thing for your kids to do while they're kids.
Edited: December 31, 2022, 2:44 AM · Thank you all for interesting comments, and thanks to Jean for Bruce for supportive comments.
I am indeed pretty careful about how I fill her daily schedule.

She does not watch TV (I intend to make her watch great films when she is a bit older), she gets at least 1-2 hours of activities outside (running with a dog, athletics etc), she loves origami and painting (2 hours easily).
We also go to library bi-weekly and get 20 new children's books. I read a a lot of stories to her.
She practices violin several times a day (the violin is always outside of the case to be easily accessible to her). The scale and wohlfahrt is kind of intensive so just 15 or 30 minutes (I know when to stop - she tells me she is tired). She loves playing conertos she learned or small music pieces a lot so for that I accompany her on piano. She can go on and on playing concertos she is learning pretending that she is on a stage.

About the competition, it is a long story but to make it short, our teacher recommends she has a stage to perform every 3 to 4 months because she learns concertos very fast, and she needs a place to show it off. haha. There are only two student recitals a year, so why not try local competitions? She loves performing in front of people. She loves the pink dress, the crowd and the stage!!

The music is always playing in our living room. Nowadays she loves some Jazz, Mozart and Vivaldi. She loves even Kitaro haha. She also listens to concertos she is learning (For that I had to get a Seitz CD - she learns best by listening).

Edited: December 31, 2022, 1:51 AM · oh,and she gets to eat organic vegetables. Not that we are rich or something, but we are careful what she is exposed to! Enough info for those who think I am a Monsta Mom!
Edited: December 31, 2022, 12:31 PM · I think you are both very lucky!

And I'm glad she learns best by listening.

December 31, 2022, 1:41 PM · Eriko, you are an amazing parent and should be proud. Please continue to nurture your daughter’s interest and talent.
Edited: December 31, 2022, 2:05 PM · I wonder how many of us are secretly envious: imagining how much better we'd be at the violin had we had this level of support and been introduced to it when very small...and/or wishing our kids had been this engaged in learning music.

I had high hopes for my son; alas, you can lead a proverbial horse to the music stand but can't prevent him from kicking it over. I'm sure there are more pliable kids out there than mine but honestly how does forcing a kid to play an instrument even work?

To me it sounds as though Eriko is lucky to have a kid who actually wants to play, and her kid is lucky to live with a parent who is so engaged and supportive.

December 31, 2022, 4:49 PM · Personally I think you are all great!
Have a Happy New Year everyone.
December 31, 2022, 5:21 PM · Happy new year to you too, Buri.

My New Year's resolution: learn the remaining 23 Paganini caprices. Lol!

December 31, 2022, 5:38 PM · What ya gonna do in February?
December 31, 2022, 5:46 PM · The 6 Ysaye sonatas.
December 31, 2022, 6:52 PM · Eriko, I hope I'm not being too antagonizing.

I'm a little biased against starting instruments early, but I'm open to it being healthy, fruitful and successful, as some of the stories here attest to. I think this is an important ongoing conversation, even if it wasn't your original question. And ultimately I don't know anything about the reality of your parenting, and you really have nothing to prove to me.

I wish you, your child, and everyone else here a happy new year!

January 1, 2023, 1:58 AM · Eriko san.
For organic vegetables and related products you might try ?????
January 1, 2023, 4:28 AM · Sorry,
v.commie doesn’t handle hiragana. warabe mura
Edited: January 1, 2023, 4:33 AM · Ok! will look it up! Thanks. I use I coop and buy vegetable grown using natural Shizen Noho in my area. I hope you feel comfortable in Japan! I lived in
Europe for some years and really miss it there, especially the classic and baroque concerts in churches and castles...

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