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#1238293 - 07/27/09 04:07 PM I want to be prepared  
Joined: Feb 2005
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Ebony and Ivory Offline
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Ebony and Ivory  Offline
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Minnesota
One of my piano students has given me a head's up that her mom wants to talk to me about her taking up violin.
I don't know much about violin, but what I have read here makes me think that this is not the right choice for this girl. She can play through an entire piece and not hear that it is wrong. She doesn't recognize a wrong note, let alone pitch. From what I understand, one needs very good pitch recognition for success at the violin.

Am I mistaken? Maybe this would be okay for her? Maybe even helpful?

Any suggestions on how I can gently steer her toward a different instrument?


It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.
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#1238300 - 07/27/09 04:18 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
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Morodiene Offline
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I think it would be a great instrument to teach her to listen. If she has the time to devote to practicing both violin and piano, I'd say encourage her.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#1238309 - 07/27/09 04:42 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
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keystring Offline
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Ebony, I'm a violin student. Looking back, I think pitch recognition is something that is taught. It is possible to play the piano and produce the right notes without ever hearing the notes. That is impossible on violin, and that in itself would create awareness, because you have to learn to listen. I'd say a fair bit of recognition is also intervalic.

#1238310 - 07/27/09 04:44 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: keystring]  
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keyboardklutz Offline
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London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Depends on the teacher. Many very famous composers studied both.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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#1238324 - 07/27/09 05:06 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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dumdumdiddle Offline
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Just wanted to DITTO what Keystring said. I've also heard that to play the violin you HAVE to learn to develop a good ear, which in turn will help with piano.


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#1238329 - 07/27/09 05:18 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: dumdumdiddle]  
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Stanny Offline
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Adding a 2nd instrument (Clarinet) in the 7th grade really helped my piano playing take off. I always encourage my students to join choir and play another instrument if they can.


~Stanny~

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#1238334 - 07/27/09 05:25 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Stanny]  
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Ebony and Ivory Offline
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Ebony and Ivory  Offline
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I agree that a second instrument is valuable. My conundrum is this particular instrument for this particular student.

I just wonder if an easier instrument (one that doesn't have so much pitch recognition) might be better for her. I know they all need to be tuned, but not on a per note basis like the violin. She is seriously lacking that ability.



It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.
#1238343 - 07/27/09 05:34 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
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Barb860 Offline
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Does this child want to learn the violin? I agree with Keystring and the other posters who said that playing the violin develops a good ear. Definitely.


Piano Teacher
#1238348 - 07/27/09 05:38 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Barb860]  
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Ebony and Ivory Offline
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Ebony and Ivory  Offline
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Minnesota
Yes she wants to.
Sounds like maybe violin could help her with pitch and piano.

I was thinking maybe it was a poor choice due to her lack of recognition.
Don't know if this is important or not, but this is the same student that always misses her sharps/flats. No matter if they're in the key signature or written as accidentals. There seems to be something disconnected that we are still working on. She doesn't "catch" the mistake like most kids, she doesn't seem to hear that it's wrong.

Thanks smile


It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.
#1238366 - 07/27/09 06:03 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
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Mrs.A Offline
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Ebony,

I’m thinking about some of your recent posts … Specifically when you said…..

“I'm aware that there are many of you have never had occasion to work with disadvantaged children. I am not pointing my fingers at anyone, I just wish that people would stop and think for second that it is NOT about us, the teachers, but rather what we can do for them, ALL of them. I have no desire to teach only advantaged children. I teach some of both,…. they each come with their own set of challenges…… If you ever do get the opportunity, and it is a wonderful opportunity, I would really be surprised if you could still say "no" to their little faces …….”

If she wants to learn violin, encourage her.

I believe that if a child is challenged with hearing pitch, providing exercises to help with auditory perception would be a benefit him/her. I do many fun ear training/pitch training games with my kids. I think violin lessons is a wonderful way to develop this skill.

Your students problems with pitch may be because she is practicing on an instrument that is out of tune. Subtle differences in tone and touch are played with the finger but also learned with the ear..


Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.

#1238367 - 07/27/09 06:05 PM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by Ebony and Ivory
Yes she wants to.
Sounds like maybe violin could help her with pitch and piano.

I was thinking maybe it was a poor choice due to her lack of recognition.
Don't know if this is important or not, but this is the same student that always misses her sharps/flats. No matter if they're in the key signature or written as accidentals. There seems to be something disconnected that we are still working on. She doesn't "catch" the mistake like most kids, she doesn't seem to hear that it's wrong.

Thanks smile


Perhaps voice lessons would be good. It would definitely help with the pitch recognition, although it sounds as though she might be someone who would need help matching pitches, and not all voice teachers can do that. Still, if she has a real desire to learn violin, perhaps it will make things "click" for her. Sometimes addressing the same problem on another instrument does that.

The only reason I would ever discourage a student from taking another instrument is if I thought it would detract time-wise from their current studies.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#1238603 - 07/28/09 01:25 AM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Mrs.A]  
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Violin is one of the hardest instruments to play. If your girl has pitch problems they may improve some but will never be what they should for the specificness (if that is a word, I'll eat my hat) of the tone being on tune. Just in the vacinity is not good enough. The flute or singing would perhaps be less discouraging and help the student improve the pitch problem without becoming as frustrated/overwhelmed as she might with the violin. Learning another instrument always strengthens the first and makes one more aware of things that they might take for granted so learning another instrument is a good thing.

#1239542 - 07/29/09 10:35 AM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Roxy]  
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I've had several less-than-natural-musician students go on to begin string lessons in middle school. In our area, the string program is taught by a lovely woman whom everyone adores. I think that is the draw. In addition, many students only know a couple instruments, primarily solo ones - violin, trumpet, flute.

Most of the string students dropped the instrument when they reached high school and lost the nice teacher. I didn't notice any particular gain in piano from the experience, but no detriment, either.

Violin is a bear to practice in the early days - just learning to hold the thing. It quickly discourages many. Having a visual of a piano keyboard is very helpful to string students.

Finding out what the appeal of the violin is would be useful. Does she like the sound? The idea? The teacher? Does she have friends that play? Suggest that she explore a couple different instruments before making a final decision - perhaps a woodwind and a brass, in addition to the strings.

If the child chooses another instrument and actually practices it, I think it will help the piano skills more than hurt. If she doesn't practice it, then you won't see much effect one way or another.

(My husband and daughter are violinists. I can play "twinkle" very slowly...)


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#1239550 - 07/29/09 10:49 AM Re: I want to be prepared [Re: Lollipop]  
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Thought of one more things: My string students often get their fingering confused. We have to kind of consciously turn a switch from violin fingering to piano fingering. (Violin doesn't number the thumb - pointer is finger #1 and so on.) Just so you're prepared!


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