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Improving your pre-twinkler's concentration skills

One of the most challenging tasks for a young child in learning the violin is to stay concentrated long enough to stay in place and hold the instrument. Here are some fun exercises that have proven highly successful for keeping pre-Twinklers on task and improve concentration skills.

Penny challenge

Let your child stand in play position and place a penny (or any other coin) on top of each feet. Let him/her be still while listening to music (Twinkle variations, etc.) The challenge is to stay still for as long as the music plays. You can ask your child: How long can you stay still? can you stay still during the whole piece?

Ready, aim, look!

Let your child stand in play position with the violin on the shoulder (no bow). Make sure the violin is placed correctly in place. Then, look for an object in the room that can serve as a bulls eye to where your child to aim the scroll of the violin. It can be a lamp, stuffed animal, or anything that's the height level of your child's shoulder. As you let your child "aim" at the object, make sure that the feet are lined up too, without twisting the playing position. Let him/her look and the object, aim, and, then, look at the violin and stay still. Count or play music for a minute or two. At the end, let him go back to rest position and take a bow. Repeat and then you can look for a different bull's eye to making fun.

Candle, be still

With only the bow, let your child stand on her feet play position and let her hold the bow with a nice bow hand, pointing the tip of the bow towards the ceiling. Tell your child that we are going to pretend that the bow is a candle and that we need to keep still and pointing up. Let her hold it for an entire Twinkle variation.

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