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What is the best way to handle this?


eyes
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I have started teaching violin in another music studio and am not sure how to tell a few students that they need to go back two or three Suzuki books, maybe even more. Their old teacher is my boss and so I'm put in a very awkward position. I don't want the students to get ticked off at me but one person is playing in book seven and hasn't even done scales and has only been playing for two years!! I can't teach them from what they are working on now because I know the music is too hard for them and they need basic position books and shifting books before even tackling book seven of Suzki. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as to how I should handle this problem. Thanks.

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Eyes - I can see that are in real "awkward position." One solution I have read about (from piano teachers facing the same situation) is asking if the student would be willing to try some pieces and exercises that you know are too easy for them, but this way YOU would more easily be able to ascertain where you might best be able to help them. These teachers presented these easier pieces from a different method book, so that the student wouldn't feel quite so much that they were being "taken back," though I don't know if that would be necessary.

As a returning student of only two years myself (viola), I cannot image playing from Suzuki book seven. I think I would be delighted with the respite that a backward glance would provide - I might even remember some of the basics that I have let slip. Just lots and lots of luck to you! Shirley

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Hi Eyes,

Tell your student that " play alone" and "play with a group" (you play easier piece in a group with very little mistakes allowed )

have different standards. Your student is good already in one standard but need to

more work in another.

PS. I had a few teachers before, some were strict than others. There were pluses and minuses in each case. Students can never make no mistake,some mistakes are careless, some have to be corrected before learning next pieces. Agree? /yuen/

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For most of the Suzuki songs at the beginning there's an accompanying teacher piece (sold separately). If they haven't learnt that you could give them a copy and have them revisited the old theme songs. Then you can get them to the old ones and train them on group playing.

As for scaling you can easily fit in a scaling practice. "This is what professional violinists do~!!"

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This should be much less of a problem to a Suzuki teacher than to anybody else, if what I've learnt is true: that you constantly return to all of your old pieces, reviewing them and touching them up to your current level, i e all the time you keep your entire repertoire up to date, not just repeating the pieces but working on them. I've even seen a schedule for somebody in book 10 telling how to get through the whole thing every week (including all the Twinkle variations) and how this would, according to a Suzuki hard-core person I guess, be just as good as any etudes or scales at that level. Even if your boss doesn't work like that, moving back to review should be a very natural part of your work as a Suzuki teacher, or at least you can present it to your students that way.

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I often get this problem when I "inherit" students from other teachers or from the violin program at a local school (which doesn't teach them how to read music!!). I try to find out where they are deficient and do some simple scales and studies, as well as some theory with them, explaining to them in analogy form or just plain English, why technique and theory is essential to playing, performing and understanding good music. We also do some simpler pieces to re-inforce the technique and theory, again explaining that they may be simple, but it will help us use what we're learning and how with anything technical or theoretical, you have to take it from the most basic stage and work your way up to the more difficult things. Then, after working on things like that for a little while, I'll reward them by working on the "simplest hard piece" while working on the simpler things too. This seems to be a gentle approach that encourages students. When I give them their simpler pieces, though, I make sure that they come from different books, or a different series of books than they're used to learning.

Hope this helps, Abi

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Quote:

Hi,

I thought "the last sentence" was a sentence no one in the world would understand it but you did. (It meant to be that way?)

Really? /yuen/


*sigh*…..ok.. just in the interest of bringing this tangent to a close, the last sentence in question is

“Why did the page-turner bequeath them to you, her underling?”

the page turner being the previous teacher of eyes’ students who zipped through 7 Suzuki books without seeing to it that they could even play a scale.. eyes is now working under said teacher, hence eyes is her underling… the question was simply why did this teacher pass her students on to eyes… capice?

.. and now back to our regularly scheduled discussion....

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Thank you TC,

I was one of this kind of violin students long time ago (no shame now). I have been re-working all those pieces. My former teacher passed me if I made less then 5 mistakes on one page. Sometime she could not catch that many . Now I suffer from fear of mistakes if I play violin with a pianist accompanying me. (Luckily I only play with family members). I think re-working is quite necessary. /yuen/

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I think this is a trickier situation as when the word gets out that all the students are on remedial it could cause bad feelings. I, personally, would not wish to be in this boat but if I was I would stick to my guns and put the students all on remedial work as gently as I could of course. It sucks to be on remedial but it sucks worse to suck as a violinist.

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I take on many students who have studied with others. I always tell them that we are going back to the beginning to allow me to hear their tone, see hand positions, embouchure (I teach bassoon), fingering and to check their abilities on various rhythms and note combinations. That way I can skip the stuff they do well and concentrate on the stuff they need to work on.

I have yet to have a student complain. I couch it as a way to help me help them become a better player, sort of a review test. I don't put them into a different book because the Weissenborn Method is THE book for basson and we all use it. I add scale studies and etudes after the first three weeks (that's how long I take to sort things out).

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HI,

There are at least three kinds of situations of performance for a violinist. (1) play alone, like practice at home (2) play with others,like having a pianist accompany (3) face a group of audience (even audience in your work office, in retiremnt home , or in church, etc). Fear of making mistakes in front of (3) is real. Your job is not on the line but you don't have much of mercy for error. (A feeling like this: your teacher was long gone; and that a teacher could only do so much for you;now you are on your own ) /yuen/

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