If you stick with the violin, where will it take you?

Violin! To the Super Bowl?

Dr. Seuss tells you where your violin will take you:  “Fame you’ll be famous, as famous as can be, with everyone watching you win on TV….”  You just never know where your violin will take you.  Stick with it for the long haul.  There are so many advantages to the discipline of studying the violin, not the least of which are the opportunities that lie ahead.

Click here to read The Washington Post article on the Super Bowl 50 halftime appearance of members of the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.  We are always advocating for support for classical music, and the 2016 Super Bowl was the opportunity to showcase talented young people playing violins–on stage–with Chris Martin of the rock band, Coldplay.

“For anyone eager to see classical music take its place on the same playing field as other art forms in our society, it was a signal, and delightful, satisfaction,” says Anne Midgette of The Washington Post.

The video gives a glimpse behind the scenes with the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles as they rehearse for the Super Bowl.  Can you feel the excitement in these young people?  They will never forget Super Bowl 50!

 


“Things may happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you.”  Dr. Seuss

 

The best way to get your child ready for kindergarten

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article, “Getting Your Child Ready for Kindergarten,” in the Summer 2015  issue of Virginia, The UVA Magazine, which validates everything I know about the value of Suzuki violin lessons for preschool children, even those as young as 2 1/2.

In the article, Amanda Williford, Ph.D., describes the skills that have been found to be the most important for success in kindergarten.  Dr. Williford says that parents often focus on skills such as:

  • learning the alphabet
  • writing their name
  • being able to count to 20.

But it turns out that those aren’t the most important skills your child needs to start kindergarten.” (my emphasis)

The skills children need most for success in kindergarten are:

  • to be able to relate to others
  • to be independent
  • to persist in challenging tasks
  • to inhibit impulsive behavior

Skills learned in Suzuki Violin Lessons

As I read this article, I immediately thought, Boom!  Those are the same skills a preschool child learns from taking Suzuki violin lessons.

  1. They learn how to relate to others through the dynamic of the Suzuki Triangle which includes the teacher, the parent, and the child AND through the relationships in Suzuki group classes, play-ins, and recitals.
  2. Suzuki preschoolers learn how to be independent through many Suzuki activities:  a). coming to lessons prepared to learn, b). performing in front of the Suzuki students & parents,  and c). performing at informal play-ins and more formal recitals. Yes, even the little ones have an opportunity in a supportive environment to show others what they have learned.
  3. Suzuki violin preschoolers certainly learn persistence in learning to play probably the most challenging musical instrument for a beginner, the violin.
  4. Finally, these youngest students learn to inhibit impulsive behavior at individual lessons and group activities.  Focus is one of the key skills I develop with the preschoolers.

Video Examples

Below is a video of a 5 year-old in a lesson. See the focus develop in the very young child.

Watch his eyes when he is working on his left hand. When will you see such focused attention from a very young child—not mesmerized by a video game?

 

Watch the video below of a 5 year-old girl.

Look for her focus as we count to 7 before we bow to begin the lesson.

Watch the intensity of her eyes while she learns to play with her left hand.

Suzuki Steps to Playing

Each step in the Suzuki violin lesson is planned strategically to give the child the skills to focus. Intuitively, Shinichi Suzuki knew the importance of focus and self-discipline for a child.

In several posts I wrote about the benefit of Suzuki violin lessons for children with ADHD and Executive Function challenges; always, focus is key.  Read the posts herehere, and here.

But wait, there’s more!

As if all of this proven data about skills for success in kindergarten isn’t enough, Williford adds:

“It is actually these foundational social-emotional and self-control skills that predict children’s success in future grades and in lifelong outcomes, including higher educational attainment and better health outcomes.” (my emphasis)

Some parents might think that Suzuki lessons aren’t exciting enough for their preschool child.  However, this article validates the Suzuki method.  The key to success in kindergarten and in higher education is in developing skills in persistence, focus, and independence.

Williford was the study’s lead investigator at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, CASTL.

Photo credit: Kevin Jarrett, CC BY 2.0


“The fate of a child is in the hands of his parents.” Shinichi Suzuki

Kids say it best

 

Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra, San Diego

I found this promo video of young students interviewed about playing a musical instrument.  Their answers are priceless.

What do you get out of playing an instrument?

One of my favorite answers:

“You feel that you can actually do something that’s worthwhile… that’s interesting.”

That’s a young boy who pushes through the practices and sees the benefit of something beyond himself.

Let’s ask our children:  “What do you get out of learning to play the violin?”

Our Suzuki violin students get individual lessons.  But wait– there’s more!  Experiences together at group rehearsals,  service performances, Music Mind Games, Recitals, and play downs. And then there is self-esteem, cooperative teamwork, memorization, problem solving.  Click here to see my blog which features 10 life skills children get from music lessons.

Let’s value the benefits of learning to play the violin and remind our children too as we go through the humdrum of each day.


Your child IS doing something very special.