Should she be making more progress ?(14 Posts)
My dd is just 7. Has been learning violin for 1 year. She enjoys it and never has to be pressured to practice - does it daily but only about 10 mins max. She is doing OK but doesn't seem to be progressing much. She has to learn in school as there is no way to fit it in out of school so she only has a 20 min lesson although is on individual ones and can't consider change of teacher - she really likes her anyway. Do I just relax and go with the flow so long as she is enjoying it ? When do you think about msybe a different instrument instead - she has some processing problems ( dyslexia ) so not sure violin with all its multi tasking aspects is the easiest for her. It is costing an awful lot if money that I will happily find but it isn't easy.
I'm not a musician but used to play the guitar for fun and I cannot see how you can make much progress with an instrument only playing it for ten minutes a day. But hopefully someone better informed than I am will come along.
I think she maybe needs more practice, usually about 20 mins is recommended for beginners at this age, iirc.
Does she practise how and what her teacher instructs and do you monitor this.
Sometimes, they need a gentle reminder to stay focussed and then play around with the instrument at the end.
Yes - I queried this with her teacher who said that she is far better doing 10 mins everyday than longer less frequently and physically it would be hard for her to maintain a decent position for much longer at her age ( she was only 7 this week and is fairly small for her age ).
I supervise her practice and she is quite focused. It's difficult to know exactly what she is practicing as I can't be in her lesson as at school and I'm at work and there isn't much detail in her book other than the peices. Certainly when I was able to sit in on a couple of lessons and look at the techniques she was supposed to be working on things picked up for a while.
10 minutes a day is great! As long as she is focusing relatively well during that time it's enough.
What books is she using?
If she is enjoying it then that's a great achievement at this stage. String instruments can seem slow going at first because there is a lot to coordinate just to get a decent note out of the instrument!
She is using stepping stones ( pretty much finished ) and fiddle time joggers about half way through.
If she is half way through Joggers and practising every day, then she is doing fine! More than fine, actually. I think it's great that she enjoys it and doesn't have to be nagged to practise (unlike my two at times!).
Especially with children this age as a teacher I write quite specific instructions in a pupil's notebook. What specifically to work on, reminders about technique, tricky spots in the pieces etc. It would be fair to ask the teacher to do this.
OK. I will ask for a bit more specifics . I was a clarinet player for many years to a reasonable standard but started later aged 8/9 so was more coordinated and together and there seemed to be a lot less to master than on a violin ! She takes it on holiday from choice so is certainly keen but i wasnt sure if we were heading in the right direction or not. We will pootle on then !
Strings has to be one of the hardest groups of instruments for young children to learn, as they have to get fingering, intonation, vibrato, and other aspects correct before it can start to sound reasonable - and that will usually take years.
I always aim to make learning music ENJOYABLE and ACCESSIBLE, and for young children this usually means recorder, percussion, or ideally electronic keyboard - at least 61 full size keys, and 76 if you can afford it.
(I will look back in a few days to see if I need to clarify my comments.)
I'm a violin tutor, and think that if she's happy to do 10 minutes practise at home, and is enjoying it, then relax and let her continue! If her tutor had any concerns she would say, if you are worried, then feel free to ask the tutor for a report on her progress.
Violin is one of the hardest instruments to master, and children can take over 1 year to get to a grade 1 standard. (If she's going to be doing grades)
YY to poster upthread who mentioned how physically demanding it is to keep your left hand in the right position - I'm a violinist and can remember the sheer pain of trying to hold the instrument up to start with. Every day practise is brilliant - well done your DD! Better 10 minutes a day every day than longer but less frequent. And yes, the violin is a very hard instrument to play. (Later on I learned the french horn, which has this absolutely fearsome reputation, but believe me, it's a piece of piss compared to the violin!) If she's enjoying it, OP, then 99% of the battle is won. The best thing you can do long term is to try to get her into ensemble playing as soon as her teacher thinks she's ready - it is playing with other people which is the real joy of music.
Violin is a wonderful instrument to learn. My 3 dc started learning at age 4 (suzuki method). Youngest Dd is 5 and now practises for 10/15/20 minutes a day (depending on her mood and cooperation). I think at age 7, you could increase it a little and add some fun bits in there that will help her with her coordination etc.
Example of practise session with a beginner:
1) bow hold practise - hold your hands in a circle above your Dd. She can practise holding the bow in a controlled way and aiming it through the circle. Practise drawing different sized balls while holding the bow correctly and pointing it to the ceiling.
2. With bow on violin - say 'point' and she moves bow to the point with no sound. Then repeat with 'middle' and 'heal' of the bow to improve control.
3. Sightreading practise
5. Review old pieces making improvements. Look at new pieces, concentrating on tricky areas.
It's really easy to get a lot done and time will fly by while having fun with it!
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