Making of an Artist: Rafi #5

New Violin!

Rafi has turned 5 years old and now has moved up to a 1/10 size violin! This means everything is a little bit bigger, requiring an adjustment of the left finger spacings. The bow is also going to be a little further out than on his 1/16 violin. 

The adjustment necessary to play in tune is evident while Rafi is playing A major and D major scale. It takes a little bit of time but you just train the hand to follow the ear. 

He has also started Go Tell Aunt Rhody, which is the fourth song in the Suzuki book. 

At the time of this video he hadn’t quite learned the middle part of the song. The two phrases, do do-re mi mi fa fa mi-re do; do do-re mi mi fa fa mi are very similar and thus can be a bit confusing. It is best to try to fix a problem with a student when it happens (much like when disciplining a child, it’s best to do it when the misbehavior has occurred, not hours or days later). If I keep letting Rafi play Go Tell Aunt Rhody incorrectly, it sends him mixed messages and will be more difficult to change later. To get him to learn the music, it’s important to remember that everything we do is a direction from the brain- the fingers move because of the mental concept of how a song sounds. Thus when you are learning something or fixing something, you are changing your mind’s concept of the song. In my teaching experience trying to play it over and over usually does not work- instead you have an exhausted and frustrated student. A more direct approach is to simplify the problem- here it is not that Rafi doesn’t know how to play the notes but that he’s got the notes in the wrong order. So the most efficient way to learn the correct notes of a song is to sing it without the distraction of the violin. And solfege is the best way. In my earliest teaching days, I used to have my students sing C# C# D E E F# F# E D C#. It was a mouthful and not appealing. Switching to solfege has saved so much time and is a much more musical, pleasant experience. 

La La Sh Sh is a foundation song that is a big part of the early learning stages. It may seem simple, but to play it beautifully takes a lot of knowledge and concentration. This is still practiced everyday because it is a great warm-up and reinforces a respect for the basics.

The new bow song, See Saw is the first song that combines the bow with left hand- we add one finger, si, and this is a big step!

At the end of the video Rafi is letting the bow bounce- this is very fun to do and helps keep the bow fingers loose in the early stages. It is never too early to practice spiccato as well!