Suzuki Violin Practice

Don’t spill the beans!

Practice! Practice!  How to make it fun!  One idea that comes from Dana Rice is to use the Don’t Spill the Beans game as shown the photo.  The goal of the game is to balance beans on top of a swinging pot –without letting the beans spill!

Your child can practice a particular section several times, each time adding another bean.  The student does that until the beans spill.  What child would not want to put a lot of beans in the pot without the pot spilling? And that means—lots of practice on the spot that needs it

This game should be available at stores such as Walmart or Target.  This is a good example of taking a toy or game and giving it a new use for Suzuki practice motivation.

Custard, custard, little star!

The Davenport Violin School enjoyed an evening out at Milwaukee Frozen Custard in Herndon where the children showed their talents to friends and family. Favorite flavors rewarded the hard work!  It was the Best of Times, it was the Custard of Times!

Suzuki violin lessons: Quality of instruction

Many studies indicate that children who study music have higher academic scores. No other extracurricular activity, including athletics, has shown similar results.

Researchers wanted to find out if the quality of the  music program mattered.   Johnson and Memmot  at the University of Kansas compared the reading and math scores of students who received high quality music instruction compared to those who took lessons in a program found to be deficient.  The music programs were evaluated according to standards set by the National Association for Music Education.

They found that students in high-quality school music programs scored higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the school or school district.  Students in exemplary music programs scored 22% better in English and 20% better in math. “It is evident, based on the results of this study, that rather large differences exist between the test scores of the students in the excellent and deficient music programs…The probability that any of these differences are due to chance alone is less than one in 1,000.” Source

This University of Kansas study can lead us to believe that taking high quality Suzuki violin lessons can produce skills that significantly impact academic proficiency.


Babies’ brains benefit from music instruction

A baby’s brain might be particularly “plastic” with regard to musical exposure reports Laurel Trainor, Director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind.   In the past many studies of musical training focused on older children.  But a 2012 study focused on babies and included an interactive music experience.  After completing this study, Trainor and her colleague found that even before children can walk or talk, they can benefit from musical training.

In this study,  one music class had babies and parents engaged in interactive music-making and learning a small set of lullabies, nursery rhymes, and songs with actions.  Parents and infants learned to play percussion instruments, take turns, and sing specific songs. In the other (control) music class, infants and parents played at various toy stations while recordings from the Baby Einstein series played in the background.  Babies who were in the interactive class responded with smiles more often, communicated more effectively, and showed earlier and even more sophisticated responses to music.

“Babies who participated in the interactive music classes with their parents showed earlier sensitivity to the pitch structure in music,” says Trainor. “Specifically, they preferred to listen to a version of a piano piece that stayed in key, versus a version that included out-of-key notes. Infants who participated in the passive listening classes did not show the same preferences. Even their brains responded to music differently. Infants from the interactive music classes showed larger and/or earlier brain responses to musical tones.” Source 

What might these findings mean for early introduction to Suzuki violin lessons?  Interactive musical training such as Suzuki violin lessons available for children as young as 2 1/2 can impact the youngster’s brain.


Source: YouTube Channel – The Big Picture – Thom Hartmann


Suzuki: Violin Training at Stevens Point

I spent two weeks at Stevens Point, Wisconsin in the summer studying Suzuki Book Six and Advanced Violin Bowing with the engaging and very talented teacher, Alice Joy Lewis.

What is wonderful about being a teacher is that you must be a student, too. We continue to practice our playing, but most importantly, teachers must continue training as teachers.

Yes, it’s expensive to fly to Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, pay for room and board, and pay for courses, like I did for two weeks this past summer, but I always return rejuvenated and excited to apply what I have learned.