Intermediate Students have usually been playing violin anywhere from three to eight years and/or are working on RCM Grade 4-9. I find that the biggest challenge most Intermediate Students face is that their bodies and minds start rapidly changing by the time they get into their teens. Availability of violins in different sizes can somewhat rectify this problem, but nonetheless students often have to rediscover their balance and change the way they have been playing.
Furthermore, the repertoire these students play gets much harder and it is often necessary to correct some bad habits that have been developed earlier, but haven’t really bothered the student, since he had been able to play and do everything that was demanded of him. This warrants a more serious approach and a significant increase in practice time. Also, the Intermediate Student has to start exerting more control over his playing. Heinrich Neuhaus, one of the foremost piano pedagogues of all times writes about a student who “because of technical difficulties or some other reason plays what comes out and not what he wants or thinks, or – most important of all – what the composer wants”. Hence, Intermediate Students have to start bringing their technique to a level where they are able to accurately express all the composer’s intentions.
On the other hand, Intermediate Students often have less time to practice than the Beginners, since they are usually involved in a large array of activities beside school. Therefore, I put focus on the quality of practicing, opposed to the quantity of it: a smaller amount of practice time while keeping a high level of focus will always produce better results than a long period of practicing that consists solely of aimless repetition.
Although the parents’ involvement is still extremely important, the Intermediate Student has to assume more responsibility for his development. Finally, Intermediate Students start being able to approach serious pieces of music and real masterworks written for the violin – this often creates a breaking point in their level of motivation and makes them realize why violin has been one of the most popular instruments in Western Music over the last five hundred years.