Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Word on Practice

When I mention to anyone that each girl practices close to an hour each day, everyone seems very surprised. After all, the recommended practice time for a beginner is ~15 min per day. I found though that in order to get anything accomplished, a longer practice is necessary.

The 3 of us thrive on accomplishment. AM and AE are always very happy to show off the newest song they learned to anyone. We found that in order to progress through songs faster, we need to put in the work. My rule of thumb when we are learning a new piece, is to play it 5 times with no mistakes and me not helping in a row. The girls certainly seem motivated by that, and are very good at keeping track :) When learning a particularly tricky piece, this takes time. Take Perpetual Motion for example. My increment was 2 measures (16 notes) that they had to play with no mistakes. Now that both of them put the piece together, the trickiest thing for them is to keep track which part they are on. I consider that a good accomplishment.

Oh and reading with a metronome is my most dreaded part of the practice. It can sometimes easily take us 30 min to get through one lesson in the I Can Read Music book. I do try to get them to play the line with a metronome correctly at least once. And perhaps that is not the right approach to take. After all, Rome was not built in a day, so maybe I should give it time. AM seems to struggle with this more than AE.

Here is our usual breakdown of practice:
Warm Up (5 min): A&D Major scales, 5 Twinkle variations
Review (15-30 min): All the songs starting at Twinkle Theme and up to our working piece. We play each somg 1-5 times, depending on particular concepts we are working on, and what needs attention.
Reading (10-30 min): We don't do this every day. Usually we work on learning new songs towards the beginning of the week, and reading towards the end.
New Piece (10-40 min): Again depending on what we want to accomplish this can take longer. Since this is in the end of practice, everyone is usually tired too which doesn't help :)

Lately, the shortest practice we had was 45 min, the longest was AE's practice last Sunday, she practiced for 2 hours!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Progress Tracking Tuesday

I am not very good at memes, so let's see if I stick this one out. I will post on Tuesdays what we are currently working on, what we are struggling with and what we are looking forward to.

Learning: Perpetual Motion Variation
Working Piece: Perpetual Motion
Struggle: Keeping the violin up on her shoulder. Ms J suggested that she remember her "snobby nose". She loved the analogy, so we will implement that during practice, and hopefully it will help.
Looking forward to: Learning Allegretto

Learning: Allegretto, slowly oh so VERY slowly
Working Pieces: Twinkle-Allegro on D String
Struggle: Playing SLOWLY so that she can play well
Looking forward to: Showing off all that she has learned during the break to Ms V.

Struggle: I am struggling with the metronome. I hate the darn thing! When I was a child, I played piano for quite a few years, and I HATED the metronome, refused to play it, so consequently never learned how to play with it. I am struggling to teach the girls how to use it, because I dislike it so much! They both have reading homework and they have to use the metronome with it. I despise that section of practice the most, and sometimes delegate it to my husband. 
Looking forward to: Minuets! I am so very much looking forward to tackling those. Etude scares me quite frankly, so I will be very happy when we move past it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Welcome to my Blog

I am a mother of 5-year-old twin girls who started Suzuki Violin 5 months ago. I hope to use this blog to document our journey through the world of Suzuki training, and I hope to share some of our experiences as well as post videos of the girls playing their instruments.

Cast of Characters:
AE - 5 years old, loves cats, teddy bears, dancing art, and gymnastics. Favorite song to play right now is Allegro
AM - 5 years old, loves reading, rainbow looms, legos, and gymnastics. Favorite song to play right now id Perpetual Motion "ribbit" variation.
Ms V - AM's teacher
Ms J - AE's teacher
Ms A - AE's former teacher, and group class teacher
C - supportive dad
K - baby sister (turned 2 in November), loves humming Twinkle Theme, and singing "The Wheels on the Bus"
E - that would be me :) Suzuki mother extraordinaire ...