I love to practice!

Who wouldn’t want to hear those words?  Gone are the days of banishing a child to his or her room to practice!  Today’s parents are more involved with their children.  Ask a parent and he or she will say that they want to be part of the progress, part of the joy of seeing their child develop.

If parents can make practice as enjoyable as possible so that their child sees progress,  that child will learn so many life lessons.  Starting early in their life, they can experience the rewards of perseverance, self-discipline, goal-setting, delayed gratification, patience.

The following ideas from the Suzuki Association of America will help keep parents motivated, helping to give their child the best experience possible.   According to Suzuki,  very young children should “practice three minutes, five times a day, with joy.”  When put that way, who couldn’t plan for that?  Of course, as the years progress, you will have other tricks at the ready to keep your child’s eye on the prize.


Practice ideas from the Suzuki Association

The main point of practice is spending time with your child with joy!

Be consistent.  Some find 10 minutes before school is the perfect time.

Use the expression, in our family.  “In our family we practice every day.”  “This is what we do in our family.”

Don’t worry about perfection.  We want our children to learn that life isn’t about doing things perfectly, but about trying new things and embracing challenge.

Practice time doesn’t have to be measured in minutes.  You can teach your child that reaching a goal accomplishes the task.

Suzuki wisdom of learning is encompassed in his saying: “Move slowly and never stop.”  Make the goal reachable and stop before the child is ready to stop.  He’ll want to start up again the next day. He won’t stop.

Lengthen practice time gradually as the child gains strength and stamina and as more concepts are added.

Click here for the “rest of the [practice] story”!

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

How long should I practice a piece?

practice a piece

Practice one piece for how long?

There are some misconceptions about learning to play the violin. Practice is not about putting in a certain number of  hours each day.  Nor is it what some do–many people give themselves a time limit to learn a piece.

However, if they reach the time limit, or stages along the way, and can’t play the piece the way they want to, they feel that “the piece is not for them.”

You ARE in charge!

While practicing the violin, you don’t have a buzzer to tell you that ‘time’s up.” And you don’t have someone telling you that your turn is over like in baseball game where you aren’t totally in charge. There, a pitcher throws the ball at you and, after three strikes, you are out. In this case, you are called out by the umpire.  However, in any field of learning you are the pitcher, the batter, and the umpire all at the same time. When learning something, you can pitch yourself as many balls as you like, and you can try to hit them as many times as you like. The only one to call you out is you. 

Setting a deadline and giving up is like calling yourself out.

But, they make it look so easy.

Professional violinists haven’t called themselves out in practice.  Vadim Brodsky tells about the time he won a special commendation for playing the Paganini Caprice #1.  Although he was praised for how well he played, he says, “I was the only one who knew I had been working on the movements in the piece for 13 years. Nobody cares how long you work on a piece. They just care about what they hear.”

If you quit too soon, you don’t give yourself a chance to accomplish what might have been possible.  Don’t be fooled by the professionals.  They have put in the time to master a piece.  And they don’t perform it until they feel it is ready for the public.  I doubt they give themselves a time limit….unless it’s something like 13 years.

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing all the hard work you already did.” Newt Gingrich

Violins & Video Games

A little levity for April 1st!

Yes, there are violins in an orchestra and, well, they can be found playing video game music! Certainly, video games have sound tracks.  And there really was a Video Game Music Concert!

The Tapiola Sinfonietta Orchestra played at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki, Finland, in 2015.  The concert included nine famous themes from popular video games such as Angry Birds, Clash of Clans, Super Stardust, and Boom Beach.

To be enticing, video games must have good music.  Often the music makes the game more exciting, helping the players to get emotionally invested. Some of the tunes even become part of the popular culture.

Yle, the Finnish public broadcaster, posted a series of videos from the conference.

Click here to go to their webpage where you can choose from 21 selections. I liked– Slush: Angry Birds Medley.  You might prefer Apocalyptica Cello’s version of Angry Birds.

Move over Star Wars soundtrack!

Angry Birds!


Tapiola Sinfonietta

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein


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