Suzuki Parents and Violin Players

  1. Help! I am a Suzuki parent. Emma is now into her first book and has almost got the first Twinkle variation down pat.

    When she was near completing the Pre-twinkle work, she asked me if I could get a violin and help her practice. At first, I was going to tell her I played piano and don't know ANYTHING about the violin. Then I decided, what the heck? I'm a hands-on learner and now I am playing right along with her. Problem is MY FINGERS HURT. The tip of my first and second fingers are sore sore sore!!

    No fair - the strings on the 3/4 violin don't hurt. My 4/4 violin strings hurt. Poo.

    Let me guess, keep going and wait for the calluses to develop?
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    About LasVegasRN

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  3. by   NurseDennie
    Hey, LVRN - congrats !!

    My sister is doing the exact same thing with her sons - both of them are taking violin, and she had taken violin when she was younger and was really happy to be able to pick it back up. Well, I think she has a little bit of a crush on the instructor, too. He's pretty cool.

    I was glad that we had an extra full size violin to give her to use. I've always been one of the weird households in which stringed instruments out-numbered the televisions!

    Yeah, I'd advise that you keep going and wait for the calluses to develop. I never had to practice along with Meg. Good thing, too, because we couldn't have afforded another cello in a million years!!! The strings players that I thought were advantaged were the mums who play piano and can accompany the strings in the recitals that come along later.

    I'm not 100% sold on the whole Suzuki method. It's great for the little bitty kids who are learning strings the way they would be learning to ride a bike if their parents would let them (heh heh). But the kid needs to learn to read music, too. So a teacher who can combine both methods is the best.

    I have to brag on my daughter's first and long-time strings teacher, (I wonder if she'd mind if I mentioned her name?) Anyway, another of her prodigies is Edgar Meyer, the bassist. He just recently won the MacArthur Foundation Scholarship. Half a million bucks!! No strings attached (no pun intended).

    Okay, and here I am looking at it kind of from the *other* end. Yeah, I'd hate to think what I've paid out over the years in violin lessons, cello lessons, books, recitals, master classes (oooh just wait for that fun stuff)... But what an incredibly cool thing to watch my daughter sit down and blow people away with her playing. Her cello is putting her through university right now and even giving her some running around money. It'll undoubtedly take her around the world a couple of times. Is there any chance that the daughter of someone in my economic class would be in a position to travel like that if she didn't have the music taking her there? I can't see it.

    When she was in the all-state honors orchestra in highschool, the director told the audience that people say that music education doesn't pay, but the kids on the stage that night disproved that 100% This was in March, which is a full two months before the officials scholarship announcements, and there were already over $1.5 MILLION dollars committed to the seniors in the orchestra. He also said that the average ACT test score was 20 (?? I don't remember) in our state, and the average ACT score of the kids on the stage was 25. (Meg's was 31 - ooops, I'm over-bragging again)

    Anyway, it's a long post just to say that I think you're really going to get a LOT more out of this and for SURE Emma will get more out of it than you're expecting!!


  4. by   LasVegasRN
    Oh, THANK YOU for replying!! I was hoping someone here knew what I was talking about!

    I can only imagine how much moola you had to shell out for a cello. MAN I had NO IDEA how much violins could run!! The 3/4 violin she is playing is a rental. I'm doing a lease purchase for the 4/4 violin I'm playing now that will be her's.

    The Suzuki school she's attending has started music reading from the very beginning. I think I'm having more of a problem trying to interpret the notes from 88 keys to just 4 strings. It's a great refresher for me and I am loving learning to play, despite my poor aching finger tips!

    I've always believed classical music establishes a core balance for children. It's been ingrained in me since birth. My brother plays violin also - I can't wait for all three of us to play together!

    Edgar Meyer is truly wonderful. I think he was here recently at our Performing Arts Center. Yo-Yo Ma is here this month. Am I going? Wish I could! I've been stretching the entertainment budget to it's limits, but I did promise Emma we would see at least one orchestra performance and the Nutcracker this year.

    You should be one proud Mama, Dennie. The things we do for our daughters! (Can't believe I cut my fingernails for this!)
  5. by   Sleepyeyes
    How about those lil round bandaids for your fingertips???

    I remember trying tape over my fingers when I did my "classical guitar" stage....

    still enjoy the piano.... learned to read the music early to play my favorites...classical stuff, mostly Beethoven and Schumann

    YOU MUST SEE YO YO MA!!! Seriously, I missed him due to a kid-emergency back in 1988 and I haven't had a chance to see him since--and the guy who invited me since died.... so it really IS a once-in-a-lifetime thing sometimes, you know??? Emma will LOVE HIM!!
  6. by   LasVegasRN
    I know, I know, Sleepy. But it's in the middle of the week (on a school night, no less) and the tickets are $$$!! But, I'm thinking you are right, I should invest.

    My luck Izhtak Perlman will be here next and I'll have to max out the credit card.
  7. by   NurseDennie
    Actually, I think that violins and celli go for *about* the same $$$, generally. My father was a violinist and had a couple of professional-type violins. I've got an incredibly beautiful one now that I don't have anybody here to play it! I open it up Q 24 hours to assess it and protect the hairs in the bow. The bow is worth more than my last car.

    We did the lease purchase with a Kawasaki violin when SarahJean started taking lessons because my father wouldn't let her use any of his violins until she was in high school.

    Meg's had two celli. The first one was 3/4 size that she got when she first started. I paid less than a grand. But the poor kid grew so fast that she needed a full size WAY before I could afford it for her. When we got the full-sized one, we traded in the 3/4 size one and it was fairly easy to make up the difference.

    I'll probably never be able to afford to get her a professional grade cello. The cello she uses now is a "nice-ish" student grade, and went for quite a bit less than $2 thousand. She'll probably pay 10 times that for a pro, if she decides to go for it.

    She named her current cello "Ludwig" and he's had some not-so-nice remarks made about him, but she's very emotionally attached. One of the guys in the symphony said that his tone wasn't "thick" enough and she was very put out. And she cried when we traded in her 3/4 size cello, so she's pretty emotionally invested in her instruments.

    What's so expensive are the accessories!! She needs a new bow right now -- she uses a nice size wooden bow, her full size one is plastic and she hates it. Cello cases are also fiendishly expensive. She doesn't even have a hard case right now!!!! She's got a cheap, cloth git bag and that's not safe. But it's hard to come up with that kind of money.

    Violin cases can get expensive, too. The one that my nice Italian violin is in now costs about $700 and I've seen them MUCH more expensive. But that's a really really good case for an exceptional violin. Just the lowest-end hard case for a cello is like $600.

    Ah, TMI, right?

    Edited because I read the other posts in the meantime. Did I tell you my story about when Perlman was in town? It was when Meg was in the middle of her blue-hair phase and some old bag at church had commented about rude, rebellious teenagers. I just laughed because Perlman had invited Meg to spend a day backstage to talk about the music industry, for her to watch the rehearsals and performance and just kind of soak up atmosphere, to see if she wanted to be a soloist type of performer. She wanted to know if she could bring her Mama along! Yeah, rude, thoughtless teenagers....


    Last edit by NurseDennie on Oct 15, '02
  8. by   Sleepyeyes
    Originally posted by LasVegasRN
    I know, I know, Sleepy. But it's in the middle of the week (on a school night, no less) and the tickets are $$$!! But, I'm thinking you are right, I should invest.

    My luck Izhtak Perlman will be here next and I'll have to max out the credit card.
    AAAAAaaah, but WHATTA WAY TO GO!!!
  9. by   LasVegasRN
    Okay, I just bought the tickets. eesh. We'll love it.

    Dennie, never too much information! I was flabbergasted with the price of accessories. A bow. A BOW!! Good grief!! I've been browsing the violin sites and I am stunned. Her teacher's violin was made in 1736 or something from Italy - $30,000.00 Good googly goo. Well, at least I'll know ahead of time if I have to sell my car to get her a professional violin - that is if she really soars with it. We'll see...
  10. by   Sleepyeyes
    Originally posted by LasVegasRN
    Okay, I just bought the tickets. eesh. We'll love it.

    You will; and she will. Heck all the best times my dad and I had were when he'd take me to see Great Musicians...or we'd find an excellent unknown group and go dancing all night long....

    Buddy Rich. Nick Brignola. Miles Davis. "Hair" (ok, so it was a play...but it was Great). too many to count, actually....
  11. by   NurseDennie
    Originally posted by LasVegasRN
    Okay, I just bought the tickets. eesh. We'll love it.

    You *will* love it. This is Yo-Yo Ma, right? Is he touring with his Silk Road group?


  12. by   kittyw
    Any advice for someone who wants to learn to play the violin? I have no idea where to start. I play the clarinet, but always wanted to learn the violin... thought about doing it as my stress reliever - don' t know about doing that in my apt though (the neighbors might kill me :chuckle).
  13. by   live4today
    I played piano for a couple years as a child, then switched to violin for five years....having to give that up by the time I entered high school due to my parents not being able to buy me my own. The one I played in elementary school was "free" to use as long as I was 8th grade and below. I loved playing piano and violin.

    Kittyw.......all you need to do is rent you a violin from any instrumental music store that does rentals and sign up for violin lessons through a private tutor. Go for it! Don't worry about the neighbors. They could be hearing worse sounds flowing from your apartment walls. :chuckle :kiss
  14. by   kittyw
    I figured I could play in the stairwell .... it's concrete & probably pretty sound proof!!!