A Suzuki Kid? This is sheer joy!

3 Year-Old Jonathan Conducting the 4th Movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony

With such enthusiasm and sheer joy, this 3 year-old  not only can tap, but also can feel the beat of the piece!  As I wrote about in an earlier post, a preschooler’s ability to keep a beat may indicate how well she or he will develop reading skills.  Suzuki violin lessons help a preschool child develop the sense of rhythm, and learning to play music at an early age has been shown to enhance language skills.



A violin practice marathon challenge dash!

Practice the violin! Congratulations to our “Gobble Gobble Thanksgiving Practice Marathon Challenge Dash” winners!

  • Rheechen – 1 hour marathon winner!
  • Karla and Yuuna- 2 hour marathon winners!!

While other children were playing video games during the Thanksgiving vacation, these violin students accepted the challenge of joining in a practice marathon. Their mission, if they accepted it, was to practice their violin for a time during their Thanksgiving vacation.  I would say they had fun seeing what it felt like to practice for a certain length of time during one day since the marathon was a one-day challenge.

It takes self-discipline and persistence to learn to play the violin well.  These violin students show they have what it takes!  Children love to meet goals and to challenge themselves to reach a little higher.  Some of the life skills they practiced without realizing it were self- discipline, self-efficacy, time management, problem solving, responsibility, and even record keeping!

Great work, Suzuki kids!

More music book ideas for children

Looking for a few good books for children about musical instruments and the orchestra?  LaVar Burton hosts this video featuring children talking about young children’s books about music and instruments. Then watch LaVar play with the Julliard Chamber Orchestra.  Fun for your young Suzuki Pretwinkler.  The three books are classics for young children.

    • The Maestro Plays by Bill Martin Jr and Vladimir Radunsky
    • Max Found Two Sticks by Brian Pinkney
    • Meet the Orchestra by Anne Hayes


Other good books for children are:

  • The Carnival of the Animals Book and CD by Jack Prelutsky A merica’s first Children’s Poet Laureate has written all-new verses to accompany the composer Camille Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals, and the illustrator of the Harry Potter books has turned these rollicking rhymes into a picture-book fun fest.
  • Those Amazing Musical Instruments by Genevieve Helsby  This book has an interactive CD-ROM.  Good for older child, 9-12.
  • Story of the Orchestra by Robert Levin and Meredith Hamilton:  This book is appropriate for an older child.  Comes with a CD so you all can listen while you learn about the instruments, the music and the composers who wrote the music.

Need a good children’s book? Zin Zin, a Violin

Last minute shopping?  Try Zin! Zin! A Violin.  Young pretwinkle Suzuki students would enjoy this book.

With a mournful moan and silken tone,
itself alone comes ONE TROMBONE…

“Then a trumpet joins in to become a duet; add a French horn and voila! you have a trio — and on it goes until an entire orchestra is assembled on stage. Lloyd Moss’s irresistible rhymes and Marjorie Pricemans’s energetic illustrations make beautiful music together — a masterpiece that is the perfect introduction to musical instruments and musical groups, and a counting book that redefines the genre.”


Violinist bow backflip!

A pro surprised by a bow with a mind of its own!

Nicola Benedetti rehearsed Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall when her bow took flight!  Courtesy of  The Strad.com.  This should be comforting to violin students who feel nervous about making a mistake.  Nicky just picked up the bow and continued to play!


Suzuki and Christmas Cookies

In the Suzuki Violin Book 4, we find the Vivaldi Concerto in A Minor, 1st Movement.  Born in Venice in 1678, Antonio Vivaldi began his studies to be a priest at the age of 15 and was ordained in 1703.   He also  was very interested in musical instruction; after all, his father was a professional violinist.   He was named violin master at the Ospedale della Pietà (Devout Hospital of Mercy) in Venice, a school of sorts for orphan children.  He composed choral music, concerti, and opera scores.   Because he had red hair, Vivaldi was known locally as “il Prete Rosso,” or “the Red Priest.” 

Listen to the Vivaldi Concerto in A Minor, 1st Movement, as you watch the most intricate red reindeer created on a….Christmas Cookie!  Isn’t it apropos that we are dealing with red icing here?

Practice Makes Progress

Your child’s goal in practicing is to see progress, not perfection.  And progress means being persistent, day by day.  There is hardly a better “soft skill” to develop than persistence in a child.

If your child doesn’t practice effectively, then progress will be slowed down.  You can help your child to have effective daily practice by taking good notes during class so that he or she practices correctly.  I also encourage parents to make a video of the class.  Checking the video would clear up questions immediately.  Returning a week later having practiced something incorrectly will slow progress.

Professional violinist Noa Kageyama says he began playing the violin at age two and gave his first performance with an orchestra at age five.   Yet, even as an early starter, he wondered, “Am I practicing enough?”  He knew from an early age that practice was important.



Apps for Practicing

The key to making progress in Suzuki violin lessons is a daily practice routine.  But there are ways to make it more interesting.  Two apps that could be helpful to practice violin are listed below.

App to practice Suzuki Violin

DecideNow is an app with a spinner.  When the child hits the button in the middle, the arrow spins around to land on one of the choices you entered.

Some choices for Pretwinklers follow, but you can put in any practice activities appropriate for age and book.

Stir Soup,  Rocket Ship,  Snuggle violin,  Finger Bounces on High Dot

Tip Watch 20 Seconds, Animal on Head,  Open and Close Door

E String Tonalization,  Go Get a Hug!,  Find Tip


an app for students in Suzuki Violin Book 1 and above.


Another good app for students is the SightRead4BowedStrings app by Wessar.  This app is for students in Book 1 and above.  Although it is listed as free, you have to purchase “sheet music” for it to be helpful.  Even with the cost, it is a very good app for practicing.