“I’m a Suzuki teacher and have been teaching my own son for the last three months. He is so anxious to go ahead with his songs and goes so fast that I am afraid that his technique can’t keep up.. In fact, his technique is not great, and I wonder if allowing him to go at the pace at which he can learn notes is going to erode it. He’s moving way faster than I have my 4-5 yr old students learn because of these circumstances. What to do?”
What to do, indeed. What happens when you get such a motivated, talented and powerful child?
Been there, done that! Circumstances (living in remote places) forced me to teach my own two children for many years before passing them on to other teachers so I can definitely identify with this young teacher’s/mother’s angst. I can also identify with her as I have had my fair share of precocious/prodigious/difficult students over my rather long career.
The beauty of having experience is you learn to have a very long view of things. Experience makes you realize that in the long run, some things that seem so important now may not be as important as you think in that particular moment. Why? Because your nose is so close the canvas, i.e., your student, that you can lose sight of the big picture and get bogged down in details, to the detriment of your students.
So my answer is as follows:
You have a very talented, if not gifted child. You can blame it on DNA, Suzuki, hearing you teach, whatever, but the fact is that he obviously loves the violin and wants to go on. Your problem is, like with most gifted/precocious kids, his intellectual age is one, his emotional age is another and his physical age yet another. You also have a child with a very strong personality which he will no doubt find useful in life but doesn’t make it any easier at the moment for you, his teacher/parent.
What to do? The choices are several but may not get the results you want – or at least want in this moment. Continue reading