Never do this to your violin!

Oops!  Remember the time I almost sat on your violin?

This is a great video to share with the children!

Potter Violin Company has an amusing short video to show your children things NEVER to do with or to their violin.  These are good reminders for all of us as we live our busy lives.

We account for all the children before we put the car in reverse.  But, have you ever backed over someone’s bike left in the driveway?  Or tripped on a toy left in a place you weren’t expecting? Or vacuumed up some small plastic creatures?

Learning how to care for the violin and the bow is an opportunity for children to grow.  It seems so simple a task to care for important items.  But it doesn’t come naturally. Children learn respect by caring for things that matter.  Remind them we don’t treat the violin as a toy.

“Art exists for the human species.”  Shinichi Suzuki

Could be a Suzuki teacher!

violinist in park

Park on Shamian Island, Guangzhou, China

A few years ago, I co-hosted a recital with another Suzuki teacher, a veteran teacher who had recently moved to Virginia.  My most memorable moment from that afternoon was that she insisted that all the children from both studios should line up behind her as she led them out onto the stage, playing as she strolled.  The youngest children looked just like these in this statue…walking closely behind, not yet playing the violin. And you know how those preschoolers follow in line, sometimes never even looking where they are going.  The older children at our recital followed along also, each playing along with the teacher and assuring that the little ones kept up. A ceremonial way to begin a recital, for sure.

Each Suzuki teacher brings his or her personality to the studio. However, there are certain features of a Suzuki violin teacher that parents should look for.

One home schooling mother said that it is important for the Suzuki teacher to understand the significance of Suzuki’s heart and to embrace Suzuki’s philosophy that every child CAN play the violin given the right environment and instruction.

It is also important for parents to read Suzuki’s books such as Nurtured by Love and Ability from Age Zero.  Know Suzuki well even before you sign up for lessons for your little one.

The Suzuki Method is so special for children and their families. Parents may be tempted by the myriad of activities available for children. But they should focus on one important activity for their very young child.

Violin lessons are uniquely suited for them in many ways.

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“Any child can develop.  It depends on how you do it.”  Shinichi Suzuki

Happy Birthday, Sensei!

Today is Dr. Suzuki’s birthday.  Born on October 17, 1898, he would be 117 today!


~The Suzuki Story~

Shinichi Suzuki started a revolutionary way to teach the violin to very young children.

He was an inventive pedagogue in music education.  Not only did he invent a method to teach violin, but also he believed that the violin could be played by any child, not just those who showed talent to do so.  To state that any child could learn to play such a difficult instrument was astonishing to many.  Further, he felt that with the right environment, any child could learn to play the violin well.   Suzuki’s story is one that motivates most anyone who is interested in how learning takes place.

~The Beginning~

Suzuki’s father owned a violin factory in Japan. When Suzuki was about eighteen, he started to teach himself to play the violin by listening to recordings and later taking lessons.  He spent some years in Europe for further study.

Upon returning to Japan, he declared that since all Japanese children can learn to speak Japanese, why couldn’t they learn to play a musical instrument in the same way they learn their native language?  When he was about 48 years old, he started a music school where he continued to develop his methods over the next 15 years.

By the 1960’s, violin teachers took notice of his revolutionary method and many studied with Suzuki in Japan.  In 1964, he brought a tour of Japanese children to the United States, and  in 1972 to Europe, to demonstrate how young children could play the violin and play it well.

According to the Suzuki Association website, “Dr. Suzuki would be very happy to know that Suzuki children all over the world are learning to play music beautifully and to become kind, peaceful human beings. On [this] anniversary of his birthday, October 17, please think of him, thanking him for his gifts to children and giving him your beautiful tone and heart in return.”

“I am mentally preparing myself for the five-year-old mind. I want to come down to their physical limitations and up to their sense of wonder and awe.”  Shinichi Suzuki

Who can resist a marshmallow?

Resisting temptations and distractions?  It’s a learned behavior.

Very young children have to be taught how to control their impulses. They aren’t born that way.  And it is important for them to learn to control impulses to do well in school and in life.

The best example of children “filtering thoughts and impulses” to resist a temptation is the Marshmallow Test.

If your child takes Suzuki lessons during preschool years, he or she will have a golden opportunity to develop self-control, resisting impulses while having fun and learning to play a most difficult musical instrument.

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”   Lao Tzu

Who says we don’t have fun at lessons?

I know someone who does!

Lessons are serious and fun.

A student playing “Lightly Row” with the big black broken glasses and the shiny red nose.

Why not?

I think it’s a guy thing!

“Children learn to smile from their parents.” Shinichi Suzuki