Do you need to be a musician in order to help your child?
No, with the teacher’s guidance, you’ll learn how to help your child with bowing, fingering, posture, stance, and note reading. The most important point is the willingness to devote regular time with your child for mutual learning, home practice, and attending lessons, and to be an enthusiastic, continuing support to your child(ren) in the learning process.
How does the Suzuki Method differ from other methods of teaching music to children?
Thoughtful teachers have often used various elements listed here. Dr. Suzuki has formulated them into a cohesive, ‘user friendly’ approach. Some unique characteristics are:
Suzuki teachers believe that musical ability can be developed in every child.
Students may begin at very young ages.
Parents play an active role in the learning process.
Children become comfortable with the instrument before learning to read music.
Technique is taught in the context of pieces rather than through dry technical exercises.
Pieces are refined through constant review.
Students perform frequently, individually and in groups.
Why is listening so important to the Suzuki method?
Think again about how children learn language. They do not learn to speak by reading. They learn by listening, observing and by hearing language in their environment. It is very important to quietly play the CD daily. The more your child listens, the faster they will learn to play. Continue listening once the notes are learned so the child will absorb other musical elements such as dynamics, phrasing and tone quality.
Recommended listening is 1-3 hours daily, in active and background listening.
Your most important job: Making sure your child listens to the recording every day!
It is the parents’ responsibility to make sure the recording is played daily. Make sure it is available at every opportunity (carpool, playtime, bedtime, waiting rooms). Become accustomed to repetition of the recording, and use during practicing. Generally, children like repetition and do not tire of. Be mindful to not make negative comments at the repetitive nature.
What happens at private lesson?
During the lesson time the teacher and child work together. The parent observes quietly and takes notes. Allow this time for the child to interact with the teacher without interruption. This will establish the relationship between the student and the teacher.
For beginners, the half hour lesson includes:
- Bow of greeting
- Practicing violin hold (rest and playing position)
- Practicing bow hold
- Rhythm exercises
- Twinkle and pre-twinkle songs
- Music theory games (if time)
As your child advances, the lesson will include refinement of memorized songs, preview of new pieces, scale work, improvisation exercises, reading and sight reading.
What can you do if your child does poorly at a lesson?
Let them make mistakes! Consider it all a learning process. Do not scold. Relax! Remember my motto is “Making it fun gets the job done!” Your teacher is always available to talk to.
How can you make the most of your private lessons and practice times?
Attend the lessons. Keep in the background, as a child has trouble learning from two teachers at once. You are the at-home teacher, so it’s important for you to be there.
Please have the student fill out their practice sheets daily, and record time practiced.
Help your child recall the lesson. This begins in the car on the way home from the studio. Never wait 24 hours! It will be difficult for either of you to remember details of the lesson. TAKE NOTES during the lesson and encourage your child to remember what needs to be worked on.
Handle the violin yourself at home, learning to play much of Book 1. It is good for your relationship with your child; it boosts their confidence when they see you make mistakes and learn too. They get a sense that you are in it together and it’s a bonding experience.
Be responsible for playing the current CD DAILY. Listening can be done anytime: while eating breakfast, getting ready for bed, driving in the car, cleaning the house, or during playtime.
Practice should be part of a regular routine, like tooth brushing. Organize the home practice and set aside daily time for that purpose. Practice can be divided in intervals throughout the day.
How can you establish effective practice habits?
Set a regular practice time (same time each day if possible).
Use the same routines and sequence of events that you observe at the lesson
Have fun, make it a game, give a reward.
Be positive but honest. Give plenty of genuine praise and be enthusiastic before suggesting the ‘next level’ of playing (ie corrections). Leave that to teacher as much as possible. Compliment your child on what they did well. Enlist the child’s help in deciding what needs more practice.
Stop before your child gets tired. Stop before you get tired.
If needed, make the practice periods short but do several each day.
Arrange home concerts for family and friends when they will “play” pieces. Home concerts are not “practice,” so don’t interrupt the child in the middle of the piece, no matter what you see needs correction.
Realize that things generally move slower than you’d hope or like. Purpose to enjoy the learning process for both of you!
Use lots of praise, even for the smallest thing, and even if the piece sounds awful. There is always something positive to say: "You really worked hard" "That sounded pretty good" "That was much better than last time." No negative or derogatory remarks!!
How important are bi-weekly group lessons?
Group lessons are an integral part of the Suzuki method. They provide application of newly learned skills in a group setting; ever important review, music theory, reading & rhythm development, ensemble skills, social skills, an eagerness to learn, and so much more! Students are exposed to & inspired by other students at many different levels. This is a powerful incentive to practice and improve in a supportive, inspiring atmosphere!
**Students in group simply do better, and enjoy their violin more, than those not participating.*
“If there’s no group lesson, it’s not Suzuki!”
Consistency and repetition are the most important elements for progress.
Practice and listen to the CD every day.
Enjoy the process of learning.
Celebrate every step, no matter how small.
Don’t measure success by pieces learned.
Look for improvement in concentration, coordination, patience, persistence, cooperation, and relaxation.
Children mirror your attitudes. If you love music, your child will too.
If you approach each practice session expecting progress, your child will too. If you have fun, your child will too.