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  • Writer's pictureAmy Barten

Parent Ed Night Fall 2023

At last weeks Parent Ed Night, we talked about a few Suzuki Topics that impact every student and their development on the violin.


Practice

Listening

Review

Repetition

Connection


So much of what we learn from learning a musical instrument can be used in many other areas of our life, which is what makes learning music from a young age so beneficial. We learn to show up to the things we care about and know are good for us and we learn how to tackle any problem that needs to be solved.


Consider the following questions for the concepts above:


Why?

How much?

How frequent?

Who should initiate?

How to establish a routine?


Practice

Why? - to progress, to get better, to be able to play!

How much? - as small as one thing to as much as the student wants

How frequent? - everyday

Who should initiate? - the parent. Some children will, most won't.

How to establish a routine? - Make it consistent. Make it daily. Bracket it with another consistent activity. Write it down. Set an alarm. Decide as a family.


"You should only practice on the days you eat" - Shinichi Suzuki

Listening

Why? - Mother Tongue Approach. We learn naturally through listening & observing just as we did our mother tongue language (how we learned to speak).

How much? - start with the piece you are working on to as much as you want. The more the better.

How frequent? - everyday

Who should initiate? - the parent. Some children will, most won't.

How to establish a routine? - Make it consistent. Make it convenient (choose which method of listening - Spotify, CD, Apple Music, use Alexa/Google device, etc.). Make it daily. Bracket it with another consistent activity. Write it down. Set an alarm. Decide as a family.


"Success doesn’t come for what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently" - Marie Forleo

Review

Why? - To not forget. To master our skills.

How much? - this depends on how much review the students has. More advanced students have more to review and more skills to master. A new student will have a smaller list.

How frequent? - everyday. Ideally playing all review pieces spread out throughout the week.

Who should initiate? - the parent. Unless the child is practicing independently, (even still, the parent should check in on practice material and how the student is doing in order to support them in their efforts and their struggles).

How to establish a routine? - follow a schedule, pick pieces at random, have a review day, play a few at the start, middle, end, or throughout the practice.


Repetition

Why? - to acquire new skills, to master learned skills

How much? - at least 3, but as many as you can with FOCUS & PURPOSE

How frequent? - everyday, but rest days can be beneficial too.

Who should initiate? - the parent. Unless the child is practicing independently, (even still, the parent should check in on practice material and how the student is doing in order to support them in their efforts and their struggles).

How to establish a routine? - be clear on the instructions from teacher. Figure out how repetitions work for you (sets, circuits, exact numbers, keeping track, using a timer, working naturally, etc.)


"Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus 10,000 times is skill" - Shinichi Suzuki

Connection

Why? - being part of a group or community keeps a student accountable and builds motivation. Having a support system of parents, family, friends and fellow musicians keeps a student on track. Setting goals and preparing for recitals pushes skills to the next level.

How much? - depends on personality type and how much each students needs and how much social interactions fill their bucket.

How frequent? - as frequent as needed with family (practice check ins and hugs!), once a week with musical community (minimum).

Who should initiate? - the parent, although the parent can check in and ask their child what kind of support they need (more hugs, talking things through, just being present, etc.). It's a process and may change over time. A child may need support in being part of a musical community.

How to establish a routine? - attending Group Classes and Recitals regularly as well as performances around the city. Practice as a family supporting each other in their efforts to learn and grow.


“Where love is deep, much can be accomplished” - Shinichi Suzuki

Parents - One Final Note:

You may be wondering, why is it the PARENTS responsibility to INITIATE EVERYTHING on this list.


Even if your child chose to play the violin, when it comes to learning a musical instrument or any skill for that matter, children need the help and support of parent and teacher to STICK WITH IT.


It is hard to practice. It is hard to learn the violin. But it is possible, anything is possible, with the support and guidance of parent and teacher. The goal is to set the student up with the skills to practice independently, just as we are teaching our children to be independent in other areas of their lives. However, each child reaches this independence differently.


Some children are naturally independent from the start, where as other don't find their footing until they start high school or even leave home! Some leave home and then need to return to the support of parents! Everyone is different. Our needs are different.


What remains true and consistent is the support and encouragement our children need in their lives. This will never change.


None of us particularly like the idea of practice or working on something that is hard. This is why there are so many adults who started learning an instrument as a child but quit. LEARNING IS HARD, and it is almost impossible without a support system. Don't ignore that it's hard (for you or your child - PARENTS, this is not an easy task on your part!) - but the rewards to sticking with something together and persevering, not only brings about so much joy in being able to play a musical instrument, but strengthens your bond as parent and child.


I am here to help you learn how to support your child on their musical journey.



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