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music teachers - does this sound strange to you? Do you think this is the wrong teacher?

(28 Posts)
SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:07:20

Hi, my dd has just started violin, she's had maybe just over 2 months of lessons and is a beginner so atm it is all quite easy and she is also enjoying learning it. It seems to be going very well.

I'm a bit hmm at something the teacher said last week. She said dd (7) is very musical, has a good ear, plays well. That's all nice to hear because I think none of that applies to me and those are all prerequisites for learning the violin I suppose but then she said, she thinks dd needs maybe a year of lessons altogether and after that she will teach herself what she wants to know. So from the age of 8 1/2

That can't be right, can it? Now I am wondering if she is a serious teacher. She says dd will not need her help or mine (not that I'm a big help).

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:09:10

She says after a year dd will know all the notes, be able to read the music and hear when it's wrong so she can go it alone from there.

Now surely is wrong. I mean even some absolute genius like Yehudi Menuhin had lessons for years on ends and dd is not a child genius.

So I'm wondering if dd is in the right hands. I said I think it is nice for her to work with a teacher (and there is so much more you need guidance from a teacher with, isn't there, beyond getting the notes right. I'm wonderign if I should maybe get someone else but dd loves her

redwino Sun 13-Jul-08 20:15:55

It doesn't sound right to me. My DD has been playing since she was about 7 or 8 and is now 12. There are always new things to learn and of course all the music theory needed to read and play music correctly. My DD would certainly mot have got far on her own and would probably have become disillusioned and given up if left to her own devices.
Is she learning through her school or is this a private teacher you have found?

redwino Sun 13-Jul-08 20:17:18

Also I don't think she could possibly learn all the notes in a year.

brimfull Sun 13-Jul-08 20:17:55

she sounds weird

much more to playing well than knowing the right notes

I would find someone more able

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:20:28

well I found her via a friend. Her dh is quite a famous musician in his home country (Ukraine) and he teachers my friend's ds guitar. So when I was looking for a violin teacher she spoke to him and he recommended his wife. She's about 60, she went through one of those soviet music schools for dc, on to conservatory and has played in orchestras and taught since then. She has a lot of pupils.

I just have no idea whether what she ´does with dd is good or not. She seems serious to me but I don't play any instrument so I'm no educated judge IYSWIM

So I should maybe try someone else

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:21:06

sorry about all the tipos!

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:25:03

I don't know redwino, she is learning fast according to the teacher but this is maybe because she gets a lot of homework each week too. She says she shows her soemthing new and dd just does it straight off then wanders off to the other end of the room and says ok I can play that off by heart now and she can (but this is because it is all BEGINNER's stuff IYAM).

So maybe I should ask her to slow it down. Or maybe I should try another teacher parallel for a while.

Actually I liked her and I thought dd seemed very happy with it but after she said that, you know, I wondered if she was teaching dd properly in the first place.

I had thought violin was way too difficult for dd and been quite apprehensive when she wanted to take it up, so I was quite relieved to hear the teacher say she can do it and see she likes it. Now I don't know what to think about it.

AMumInScotland Sun 13-Jul-08 20:28:25

That sounds very strange to me - my DS plays violin, and after a year he probably did know where the notes were and could hear if he played wrong, but I would never have thought of him giving up lessons at that stage, because there is always so much more detail to pick up. After 8 years of lessons he's still learning tons from his teacher which he would not have just "picked up" on his own.

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:30:49

yes exactly. What I'm wondering is a) is she going too fast and not carefully enough and / or b) does she think dd basically isn't going to ever get much further than what she would achieve in that year IYSWIM, like that would probably be her kind of plateau.

I might call a woman she used to have general preschool music lessons with and ask her if she can recommend someone dd could go to for a month just to get a second opinion. I'd like to feel confident that she was getting the basics right amongst other things otherwise you can imagine the hassle of having to relearn if you have learnt the basics wrong etc

Shame though dd likes her so much

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:31:59

after all it is all quite expensive too and I don't mind paying but I do want to feel it's right

AMumInScotland Sun 13-Jul-08 20:38:41

It's certainly better not to get into bad habits at the start, because it can be hard to un-learn them. If your daughter has a good ear there's no reason to think she would plateau with any instrument if she's enjoying it - obviously not everyone can be a great player no matter how hard they try, but if she has a good ear then she should be perfectly able to become a very competent violinist. Sounds like a good idea to try someone else and get another opinion - another violin teacher would be able to see if she's got the basic technique ok.

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:40:45

yes thanks I think I'd better do that. Our teacher is in the Ukraine on holiday atm anyway. So difficult to know where to find a good teacher though so I was quite pleased to get her via recommendation. I wondered if the problem was partly down to language barriers but she did seem quite clear in what she was saying.

Back to the drawing board!

admylin Sun 13-Jul-08 20:44:29

SSSandy, but from the sound of her she is extremely well qualified, maybe she's right and your dd is talented. I mean which teacher in their right mind would give up teaching a dc when the parents want to carry on? She's turning down work in a way. She must love teaching as she's been doing it for so long - seems a shame if your dd gets on with her too.

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:51:58

Hi admylin Well I thought violin was going to be a MAJOR disaster you know and I tried hard to steer dd towards something else but she does seem to love it. I was happy for her, nice to be able to play an instrument. I just wanted her to have that access to music that playing gives you and the possiblity to play in an orchestra/group for pleasure, so I didn't have high goals or anyhting.

I was very happy with it until she said that last week, then I just had a gut feeling that it wasn't right.

Maybe it's just my all-round gut feeling that Berlin isn't right for us thoguh, think my gut feelings are a bit unreliable. YOu see when I was looking for a teacher I applied to the state music schools, most were full, the private school I tried was full too. One music school gave me a list of phone numbers of teachers with places and they all seemed AWFUL on the phone. Just going by the tone/quality of their voices etc, I felt I didn't want to try any of those 4, so I don't really know how to find another teacher now. We have the conservatory just round the corner though, maybe I'll go and put up a notice there?

admylin Sun 13-Jul-08 20:55:07

You can maybe talk the old teacher into still coming? I know the problem with getting 'nice' people here in Berlin ! That one sounded so nice - I bet you could try and get a music student but you wouldn't be sure that they weren't just desperate for the money.

wannaBe Sun 13-Jul-08 20:55:56

it doesn't sound right.

I had music lessons for approx two years in all and from there I am predominantly self taught and I do play at what I would consider to be a semi-professional level (ie I can play at that level - I don't play professionally though iyswim).

However, just because it can be done doesn't mean it is easy, and if you don't have the inclination then you will lose what you've learned if you don't keep up the practice.

One of my best friends is a fantastically talented musician. Far far superior to anything I could ever be. And he can hear a song once and go and reproduce it note for note. But he had music lessons throughout his entire school life and then went on to do a degree in music. He could probably have done 1/2 years of lessons and taught himself from there, but he wouldn't have had the theory, wouldn't have had the exams behind him, wouldn't have been able to make a career of it.

At 8 your dd will be far too young to take the bits she has learned in a year and go from there on her own. especially with an instrument as difficult as a violin.

I would get another teacher.

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 20:57:49

yes I know. These Russian/Ukrainian grannies are so gentle with dc so that works so well with dd. Well our current teacher is also employed by a state music school but she teaches dd privately. It works out about the same in the end since you pay for the holidays at the music school although it is closed and I only pay her when she actually comes to teach. I pay more but it balances out and it is quite convenient having a teacher come to our home since dd is always so knackered after school.

I think I would be wise to do a couple of lessons with someone else though and see what the difference is and whether they say, Oh dear, dd has learnt everything wrong!, before it is too late.

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 21:00:00

thanks wannabe yes I am coming round to the idea I had better get a second opinion at least. What instrument do you play?

admylin Sun 13-Jul-08 21:05:36

Second opinion would be a good idea! If not maybe try and find a French or other foreign teacher smile some nationality that will be nice to dd!

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 21:09:29

Can you imagine the advert? Looking for a qualified and experienced French violin teacher who will be nice to my dd and nice to me!

admylin Sun 13-Jul-08 21:16:28

Ooh la la!

Make sure dh doesn't turn up at the wrong time!

SSSandy2 Sun 13-Jul-08 21:18:56

or an Italian, attractive voice prerequisite? Yes, that's a good one, dd loves everything Italian including that bl* RAI uno tv

Or a Welshman even with a lovely lilting voice?

think I'll definitely go for the second opinion!

admylin Sun 13-Jul-08 21:22:59

Have fun searching - you could have 'probestunden' with them all before deciding!

By the way do you know of a Hindu temple or community in Berlin by chance? poor woman

AnyFuleKno Sun 13-Jul-08 21:29:09

Have you discussed this with the teacher before taking the drastic step of finding someone else?

This sounds so bizarre to me that I wonder if there could have been some kind of misunderstanding.

I do agree that it's a bad idea to discontinue lessons. Some v good musicians I know still have lessons to maintain and improve their technique.

Is it possible she thought that you or dd might want to stop the lessons for some reason and was trying to encourage her to keep them up for a year?

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