Congratulations to Ella F. for earning Student of the Week! Ella is 8 years old and takes violin lessons with Ms. Cara. She has been dying to graduate into Suzuki Book 2, so last week she decided to take matters into her own hands and learn a whole piece on her own. At her lesson this week, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Bach's Minuet No. 3 in its entirety! I asked her what she did to learn the piece all on her own, and here's what she had to say:
First and foremost, Ella listened to the Suzuki Violin recording A LOT to get the tune in her head. She listened very closely to the recording to see if her notes sounded the same. If she got stuck, she asked herself if the note on the recording was higher or lower then her violin playing. Ella also watched some YouTube videos to hear slower or faster versions of the piece.
Ella referred to the music to figure out bowings, mystery notes, and to get an idea for the form of the piece. In 2nd grade, Mrs. Duran at Summit Country Day School taught her a trick to figure out note names- Every Good Boy Does Fine spells the line notes and FACE is for the spaces. If she came across an unfamiliar pitch, she used this trick to figure out the letter name! In order to find these unfamiliar notes on her violin, she did some really smart problem solving. She found a nearby note that she was familiar with, and counted up or down using the musical alphabet to find the mystery note. She found this strategy particularly useful for the high B in measure 17. She had never played this note before on the violin, but was able to find it all by herself by counting up the lines and spaces from the open E string.
Ella was determined to learn the whole song this week, and with some determination, daily practice, and help from her mom she was able to meet her goal! Now, she is just 2 songs away from graduating into Suzuki Book Two. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it. Way to go, Ella!