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...Tweet
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.
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.
-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!!
Definitely at least Paganini by 5, or there's really no hope.
(btw, I have not yet begun to mock)
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.
My question for Eriko, the parent, is whether you are a bowed-string player yourself.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
He recommended 2 hours of practice a day for serious students with orchestra ambitions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think I'm going to leave it here, but it has been interesting.
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.
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.
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.
Not my daughter by the way
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
And I'm glad she learns best by listening.
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.
My New Year's resolution: learn the remaining 23 Paganini caprices. Lol!
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!
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