How much time should the student practice?


I recommend that students practice at least the length of their lesson time daily. So if your child takes a 30 minute lesson every week, he or she should aim for practicing at least 30 minutes every day. The goal is to set up consistent practice routine. It's more important that they spend time with their instruments on a daily basis than a big chunk of time every two or three days. It is also a good idea to break up the practice time for younger children. For example, you can practice violin hold after school, a bow exercise before dinner, and "soaping the arm" with "mystery rhythm" before bed...etc.




It seems to take a long time before my child starts playing the violin. Why?


How fast the child starts to play the violin (with violin and bow) varies greatly on their age, learning style, coordination, home environment and many other factors. Just like learning to speak a language or picking up a new sport, our job is to create the best environment for the child to learn, and leave the rest to them. In my experience, building a good foundations at the beginning is the best and most important thing we can do to start the child on the road of a happy music journey. It may seem to take a while, but a few months of solid foundation building is worth all the remedial works down the road. (Trust me, I had to do some serious remedial works when I was in graduate school after playing the violin for 17 years. I really wished I had taken care a lot of that beforehand.)




My child is already taking private lessons. Are group classes really necessary?


Yes. Group classes not only reinforce the techniques learned in lessons, they also provide a chance for the student to learn many other skills. They learn the ensemble skills of leading, following, blending and listening. They get a chance to perform in front of their peers in a friendly and fun environment. And there's the kind of invaluable motivation students get while working and playing with their peers.




I am getting sick of listening to the same CD over and over again. What can I do?


Listening to the CD accompanying the Suzuki Method book is one of the things that make this method so effective. By knowing the melodies by heart, students are realieved of the burden of learing the notes, and can instead focus their effort on posture, tone, intonation and performance. Think of it as listening to a recording of native speakers speak in their mother tongue. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a recording can be worth a thousand pictures. Students who are working on Book 4 and above would benefit from listening to works performed by different musicians and ensembles to broaden their musical experience. And if there ever were opportunities to attend live concerts, please take advantage of it.





F.A.Q.

© 2020 by PEI-JU WU

VIOLINIST & VIOLIN TEACHER
Birmingham, AL