Davenport Suzuki string player

String players–unique brains!

Davenport Suzuki string player

Why are string players often subjects of brain research?

Plastic!

String players show evidence of more brain plasticity.

Brain plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change.  It describes a process of development in the brain that happens during our lives, beginning before birth. It used to be thought that brain plasticity only occurred at certain times, but now they think it might occur throughout our lives.

What brain plasticity means for us:

1. New connections in the brain may form to take the place of injured tissues or injured connections.

2. New growth in the brain may occur.

3. Areas in the brain in charge of certain activities may shift when new skills are learned.

One Study:

Click here for the study reported in String Visions, a study done on a small group of young students who played the violin, cello, or guitar compared to those without musical training.

Results of Study, interesting to us and useful for researchers:

1. The brains of the string players were larger (that’s a good thing). One part of the brain takes over adjacent areas like weeds on a lawn.

2. Parts of the brain which are sensitive to left hand finger motions were quicker to respond. (String players use their left hands differently than their right hands.)

3.  There was a shift in the location in the brain where the left hand is controlled. It is apparent in the study that the earlier the child started string lessons, the greater the shift.  (Researchers would want to use this information to prove that a different part of the brain might take over when there is an injury.)

The Mental Processing Speed of players

Researchers also reported that string players and other musically trained children have faster mental processing speeds on some tasks, as measured by IQ and musical ability tests. The results don’t show a cause and effect relationship between music training and higher IQ. But the results do show that music lessons have an influence on mental speed and general intelligence.

The Conclusion?

Unlike the latest activity touted for our young, violin lessons are now and always will be good for their brain.


“Anatomists would be hard put to identify the brain of a visual artist, a writer, or a mathematician – but they could recognize the brain of a professional musician without a moment’s hesitation.” Dr. Oliver Sachs

 

Read Across America Day!

Why is March 2 “Read Across America Day”?

The National Education Association wants everyone to celebrate Read Across America Day on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2!

Furthermore, the entire month of March is National Reading Month.  Here are some ideas to celebrate this month with your children.

Have your child read aloud to you for 15 minutes every day in March.
YOU can read to your child for 15 minutes every day in March.
You and your child can set aside time to read your own books silently as you sit side-by-side this month.
Visit your public library with your children this month.
You and & child make a chart to fill in each book he or she completed during March.
If your child knows how to read, have the child read to an older person this month.

Click here for more ideas.

Consider also that research has proven that a young child’s verbal skills are enhanced by taking music instrument lessons. Here is my blog on “Rhythm and Language Skills.”  In this blog, I refer to Dr. Jessica Love who says “If you want your baby to have a real shot in life, there’d better be a violin in her hands before she’s three….”

There are many studies available on the benefits of early music lessons and language development.  Simply search for music lessons and language development research.

Thinking about kindergarten?  Click here for my blog on the role of music lessons in, “The Best Way to Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten.”


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss

 

Photo credit: Clip Art Panda

Baby Eli, is Suzuki for you too?

You betcha!

Newborns eyes look all around when they first begin to perceive the world.  They almost seem to be squinting to figure out what they are sensing.  They turn their heads to a new sound and seem to focus for a bit.  One way to soothe a crying baby…when humming or singing doesn’t seem to be doing the job… turn on the radio!  The baby may be distracted enough to settle into a relaxing snooze. Suzuki would have not been surprised at that.

Infants Are Like Seedlings

A baby’s brain doubles in size the first year, and by age 3 its brain is 80 % of its adult volume. To take advantage of that stage of development, Suzuki said that infants are like seedlings. He said we wouldn’t let a sprout whither and then give it a lot of fertilizer, sunlight, and water, thinking that is the right time to grow. It’s too late for the withered sprout. Likewise, we don’t set babies and toddlers aside until they enter kindergarten, saying, “That’s when education begins.”

Suzuki said you can’t expect a bumper crop when you plant nothing. What you will get will be whatever seeds happen to land in the field. Don’t leave education up to chance. If you do, you won’t get what you hoped for.

Plant early enough in the season! Suzuki told a story about Darwin who was asked by a mother when she should start educating her one and a half year-old son. Darwin told her she was a year and a half too late.

Immersion

Suzuki observed how children learn by watching the way babies learned to talk.  They seem to learn to speak almost overnight once they begin. He says a young baby learns one word at first, which is repeated by the adults around him or her. Then later another word is added, but the first word is not dropped. He based his teaching Method on the way a baby learns language. Listening! He says to start with listening to music. Immerse the infant with good music.

Very, Very Early Suzuki Training!

Start your Suzuki training from the time of birth. Not because you want your child to be an Einstein. But because you really do know it is the right thing to do. Surround the infant with good music. Since infants hear and absorb the sounds of their environment, play good music softly in the background. Play it at home and in the car. Learning to play violin, for a baby, is simply listening to music.

EFD

Violin hands?

From birth to age 3 is the best time to develop an ear for music. Play one piece repeatedly during the day. The music should be played softly. Just loud enough to know it is on. Suzuki says that if you play a five-minute piece of Mozart, for example, every day, by the age of 5 months, the baby has learned it.

Suzuki’s experiment: After listening to the same piece for 5 months, play a different piece of music for the baby; then switch to the familiar piece. Observe the baby’s response. For the 1st piece, the baby will listen intently and his or her eyes will be absorbed. As soon as the music switches to the familiar piece, the baby will smile, look for his mother, and may even shake his or her body to the rhythm of the old piece.  Suzuki says the piece has become the baby’s music—a comfort.

Eventually add more pieces, one at a time. The result is “a heightened musical sensitivity” similar to that of the acquisition of language.

Choose Beautiful Music

Select beautiful music from the European masters. It has sophistication and intricacy which appeals to children. You wouldn’t put off looking at beautiful masterpieces and only focus on simple sketches. Likewise, babies shouldn’t have to listen to simple melodies only, without the opportunity to hear masterpieces.

Babies don’t need to understand the music. Music is sensed, not understood. Adults don’t necessarily understand music, but they certainly can feel it. So it is with infants.

A good blog to read on listening equipment is: Listening! on Stay Tuned website.


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

How is planting a carrot seed like learning to play the violin?

The Carrot Seed

How do we teach young children that learning to play the violin takes time and effort?  We don’t want them to get discouraged.  And the life lesson found in learning to play a violin is priceless.

Read this book to your child about this topic or  watch the video below, or both. The Carrot Seed, a wonderful story about planting a carrot seed, watering it, weeding it, and waiting…waiting…waiting.., teaches young children the lesson of doing something to make success happen.  Look at all the discouragement the child in the book ignores!

What a great way to show young children that learning to play the violin takes time, patience, and determination. What a great way to show young children that those who tell you “it won’t work” might not be right.  If you water and weed [or practice] you will experience success.  “And then one day, a carrot came up!”

But the lesson is bigger than learning to play a very difficult musical instrument!  It’s a lesson about determination, perseverance,  patience, and delayed gratification.  I haven’t met parents yet who don’t want all those characteristics for their son or daughter.

This is a video of the book, The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Kraus & illustrated by Crockett Johnson.

 


“Talent is no accident of birth.” Shinichi Suzuki

 

Featured image credit: Pink House Studio

5 Year-old excited to set & reach a goal!

Freya 100.2

Let’s hear it for a 5 year-old setting her own goal!

In order to record the 100th time she played Twinkle at practice, one of my 5 year-old students decided to challenge herself and experience what it feels like to do something every day until you have done it 100 times!

It is truly a celebration of doing something every single day until she was able to count the 100th time. She asked her mother to record her playing Twinkle to document that day!

What did she learn?

Long term perseverance!

Determination!

Delayed gratification!

Satisfaction at achieving a goal!

And she is …5!

Celebrate along with her as you watch the video.  Watch her intense concentration.  You can see by her smile at the end, and her deep bow, that she met her own goal. So proud of her!

Congratulations young lady!


“Knowledge is not skill.  Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill.”  Shinichi Suzuki

Why ages 3-5 are so important!

Because those ages present a window of opportunity!

Click the image to watch the video.

3 Year-old learning Skills of Executive Function

3 Year-old learning Skills of Executive Function

“There is a dramatic window for growth in executive function and other cognitive skills between the ages of 3 to 5.” ( Scientific Learning )

Find Out about This Special Window!

 

Ever since all Grammas cuddled  little ones, singing songs and telling stories, the importance of early childhood education has been recognized. What was common sense since the beginning of raising children is now touted from places like Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.

There are 2 sets of skills that children must develop not only for their own good but also for society’s benefit.  Children aren’t born with these skills, but they are born with the potential to develop them.

1. Executive Function

2. Self-Regulation

These skills are important for learning and for helping children to develop positive behavior and making healthy choices throughout life.

When executive function is present, the ability to succeed in school and in life is strengthened.

Even very young children have to learn how to manage a lot of information and how to avoid distractions.

Executive Function Skills are: focus, remember, plan, and do several tasks at the same time.

Self-regulation skills are those that help us set priorities and resist impulsive actions.

Children aren’t born with these skills, but children have the potential to develop them.

Development in the Brain: Ages 3-5

 

During the early years, ages 3-5, children have the opportunity to develop key skills for their future.

The interactions between child and parent are the active ingredient in building a healthy brain structure. The brain is most able to adapt and change in the earliest years of life.

The more advanced thinking skills cannot be built until the lower ones are in place.

Simple skills developed in the brain are the foundation for more advanced skills.   That is why, giving the child a strong foundation in the early years is vital for executive function development.

A PEAK PERIOD  for developing proficiency in executive function skills is around the ages of 3-5.

Why Scaffold Skills for Young Children?

 

A scaffold provides a temporary structure used to support.  Parents provide the  environments that give children “scaffolding” that helps them practice necessary skills before they must perform them alone.

We know now that development of the executive function and self-regulation skills is not guaranteed. Furthermore, children with problems do not necessarily outgrow the problems. Children who struggle to plan and organize their work in early elementary may become adolescents who fall behind in homework, have difficulty completing projects and struggle to gain academic skills.

Helping children by “scaffolding” will give them the safety net as they develop these important skills.  What does “scaffolding” look like? Here are some ideas from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.

1. Play imaginary roles – children invent rules to follow when they play; cooking, eating, setting the play table with play food, etc.

2. Tell stories – children make up stories with complicated plots. They hold and manipulate the characters and actions in their working memory as they tell their story.

3. Climbing, balance beam, see saws – new challenges make the child focus attention, monitor and adjust their actions, and persist to reach their goal.

4. Singing and song games – use working memory and focused attention.

5. Matching and sorting games – change the rules so they learn cognitive flexibility.

Suzuki Violin

Finally, not from Harvard, but from Shinichi Suzuki–beginning to play the violin between the ages of 3-5 is AWESOME for: focus, memory, planning, setting priorities, manipulating several tasks, following rules, resisting impulses, and persisting to a goal.


“There is a dramatic window for growth in executive function and other cognitive skills between the ages of 3 to 5.” ( Scientific Learning )

Clever Suzuki Violinist

Practice the violin: rewire your brain!

A gift of violin for your child for the new year!

The gift that violin lessons can offer!  Although we know that music lessons are good for our children, there is proof that lessons are more than good.  Real positive changes take place in the brain of children who take music lessons.

An October 2015 article in Limelight Magazine, reports the results of a study that took place in Finland which says that music can rewire the circuitry of our brain if we practice regularly.

They discovered that practicing actually changes your brain!  Why should you care about the results of this study? It shows that music lessons and practice strengthen your child’s brain, taking advantage of all that the brain can be.

Why they chose this study:

But we should ask also, “Why did the researchers want to do this study?”  The goal of researchers was to find out if the brain can reorganize itself, for example, after an accident with a central nervous system injury.  In that type of injury, the brain is affected so that the individual’s life may be drastically altered.
The researchers were hoping to show that there may be an ability in the brain to reconfigure itself to create alternate pathways.  If this were so, there would be more possibilities for recovery for central nervous system injury patients.  Since musicians’ brains are different, they wanted to use musicians in their study.

Clever Suzuki Violinist

How they did the study:

The question was:  Can training on a musical instrument improve the communication between the two hemispheres of the brain?

~The researchers investigated the effect that listening to music had on 2 parts of the brain.

1. the corpus callosum – a broad band of nerve fibers joining the two hemispheres of the brain.

2.  the two hemispheres – the right and left parts of the brain

~They tested 2 groups by having them listen to music.

1. professional musicians (who would have practiced a lot)

2. people  who had never played music professionally (who would have practiced much less)

Results

People in the study who were musicians had much more robust development in the corpus callosum and in the two hemispheres.

There was more equal activity in the left and right hemispheres of the professional musicians as they listened to the music.

Even when music lessons were limited to fifteen months in childhood, there was an increase in grey matter in the brain for areas involved in motor, auditory, and visuo–spatial processing.

The front of the corpus callosum, which mainly connects motor areas, is larger in individuals who started playing a musical instrument earlier in life.

Music training leads to sensory and motor changes in the brain.  Motor nerves transmit impulses from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles.  The study shows that since the brain is capable of changing, people with central nervous system injuries may recover some abilities.

I find it fascinating that so many studies of the brain focus on musicians.  There is a tremendous impact on the growth and development of the brain when your child takes music lessons.  In an upcoming blog, I will report on studies of the brain of violin players.


“You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

How does the violin teach children about emotions?

Young children sometimes have difficulty understanding others’ emotions as well as their own.

In the video from Sesame Street, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg uses her violin to show Big Bird and his friend, Miles, what emotions sound like.  Watching the video is a good way to discuss emotions with your young child.

Parents can also use this video to show older children how to play their violin with expression.  Since the emotions are clear in the video and Salerno-Sonnenberg’s playing emphasizes them, this would be an opportunity to help students understand expression.


“Everyone can improve. With this belief I have advanced my ability one step forward.” Shinichi Suzuki

Activities for boys ~

They’re not just for boys.. the girls would like these too!

During any vacation, children enjoy their time away from school, but home routines remain important.  Always practice the violin every day.  And vacation gives you more opportunity to practice even more often.  One example for a young child:  10 minutes in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening.  Be creative about when and where during the holiday break.

Vacation is also a great time “to waste time with your children.” A great time to enjoy  your children.  But you know eventually, they are going to tell you they are bored!

Renee of Great Peace Academy has a wonderful resource index for activities for boys!

Here are a few hands-on activities I selected from her page:

Who doesn’t have duct tape!  Make a light saber (how appropriate for the new Star Wars movie) or a make more challenging wallet (age 8+ with help).

What child wouldn’t like to watch dissolving rocks only to find a little surprise inside.

Or build a boat from a large cardboard box?  And then practice your violin while standing in your boat!

 


“The ‘Law of Ability’ will develop each and every child.” Shinichi Suzuki

Christmas

Calming down Suzuki Pretwinklers this week!

Keep your household schedule during the holidays.

One good way to keep a Suzuki child, or any overstimulated child, calmed down is having a regular schedule in your household during vacation.  Even without school, children can have a good routine to follow every day–something that they can count on and look forward to.

Suzuki Kid!

For example, in planning for play, chores, outside adventures, and travel, set up a simple calendar on the refrigerator that shows what you will do each day.

When they begin to say,”I’m bored,” you can look at the calendar together and see what activity you will do soon that day and help them think about what to do until then.

AND include practice time on that calendar!

Practice can be so much fun, so include it on their daily schedule.  As a matter of fact, there is even more time to practice over the vacation.  Here is a place to be creative.


1. Practice in the kitchen.

2. Practice in the garage.

3.  Practice at grandparents’ house.

4.  Practice as “entertaining” family before lunch or dinner.

5.  Practice in the bathroom.

6.  Practice behind the living room chair.

7.  Practice in pajamas.

8.  Practice in the morning.

9.  Practice for a neighbor.

10.  Practice for a younger or older sibling.


And for another idea to CALM down those excited children….

Katie at Preschoolinspirations.com suggests a Calm Down Jar or as she calls them, Sparkle Bottles.

“She says they provide healthy and effective ways for little ones to help soothe themselves, calm down, take deep breaths, and work through their emotions. I also use them as an addition in our play kitchen or in our quiet area or library area. Overall, they are just beautiful.”

She likes to use a plastic Smart Water bottle (although her affiliate link is for a Voss bottle).  The biggest issues are having a big enough opening to pour in the ingredients and deciding if you want to use glass or plastic.  I would opt for plastic. And maybe tape the lid shut for those especially precocious children–good at twisting off lids.

See the other links on Katie’s page for Lego Jars, Bedtime Glow Bottle, Alphabet Discovery Bottle and more.


“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.” Yoda

 

Vacation travel & sensory processing challenges~

You may be traveling to visit family or for a vacation away from it all!  Planning ahead for your child with sensory processing issues can help the child feel safe and confident as well as give your family an opportunity to make fond memories on a great vacation together.

Understood.org is an excellent resource for children with learning and attention issues. A timely article is 10 Tips to Help Kids with Sensory Processing Issues Avoid Travel Meltdowns. These are good, common sense ideas for any child but particularly useful when you want to help your child.

1. Pack a backpack with the familiar things that you know help him calm down.  If you have it near the child, it is easier for him to reach the things himself.  Some believe that the heaviness of the backpack is good for him also.

2. Pack the shampoo, soap, and even towels she is used to using at home.

3. Practice the trip.  For an older child with sensory processing issues, this might mean merely looking at the map and discussing the trip. For younger children, this might include listening to the sounds of an airplane engine, watching a video of an airplane both inside and taking off.  The TSA experience also may be a source of distress.  Talking him through it and practicing what will happen can be important.

4.  On a car trip, stop for frequent breaks.  Some children may need a rest, others may need to get out and kick a soccer ball.

5.  Plan for extra time.  If you are frazzled, your child will sense it.

6.  In an airport, look for a quiet corner to wait for your flight.  Too much activity and noise may overwhelm your child.

7.  Plan for your airplane boarding options. Some children may do well to board early, others later.  Perhaps the seating assignment you get will help–bulkhead or aisle seats.

8. Give your child the opportunity to try on any new clothes he may have to wear on the trip.  For example, if you are going to a warmer climate, make sure he knows about the different clothing he will be wearing.  You may allow him to select his own clothes to take if that helps.

9. Bring along familiar foods.  Or shop for your own when you arrive.  Even if you are a house guest, you can purchase foods you know your child will want.

10. Follow the same bedtime routine as at home.  If your child is cranky at night, stop travel early.  If she is cranky in the morning, don’t get on the road too early.

**11.  Take his or her violin along!


“While we try to teach our children all about life, they teach us what life is all about.” Angela Schwindt (homeschooling mom)

Looking for good holiday gift ideas?

 Ideas that Shinichi Suzuki would approve!

If you are looking for a gift for the younger crowd that isn’t only about the latest cultural vacuum, here are some ideas.

This is a great CD to play in the car and a fun DVD set for the young ones: get the English version.  “Wunderkind Little Amadeus introduces classical music to children and their families, inspiring their musical creativity and encouraging them to become actively involved in music-making.”

littleamadeuscd

Little Amadeus: Mozart for Children (CD)

 Little Amadeus: Season I (DVD)

 

 

Another good series is Beethoven’s Wig. Beethovenswig

 

These items can be purchased at a number of locations including Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and naxosdirect.com.


Music is a moral law.  It gives soul to the universe….” Plato

 

Children's book, Zin! Zin! A Violin

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin.

This is such a great book for the young crowd!  Teach them about the instruments of the orchestra with language that is rich in sound.

Zin! 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.”


“Music is a moral law…It gives wings to the mind….”  Plato

How does that triangle work?

The Suzuki Triangle

Suzuki coined the term Triangle which represents the relationship between child, teacher, and parent that makes it possible for a child to play the violin well.

trianglereal

In January of 2013, just before I began to teach violin lessons in Cusco, Peru, for 6 months, I taught and attended workshops at the XXVIII International Festival in Lima, Peru. I studied Books One and Two with the Suzuki Teacher Trainer from Minnesota, Nancy Lokken. The first thing Ms. Lokken did was to draw a triangle on the board like this:

simple triangle

The Suzuki Triangle

 

ages 3-6

Ages 3-6

The heavy black line of the initial stages of the Triangle, when the Child is very young, represents more communication, understanding, feedback, and dialogue between the parent and the teacher.

Even at home, when the teacher isn’t present, the parent is working with information and skills taught by the teacher. Yes, there is communication between the child and the parent, but there is not much independent thinking on the part of the child.

 


 

photo 1

Ages 7-10

Notice that there is a more even distribution of communication as the child ages between parent, teacher, and child. Even though these ages are approximate, it’s been my experience that children begin to take initiative and make decisions about their playing very early. However, the parent is still completely involved, still maintaining the dialogue with the teacher. The parent writes notes in class, asks questions at the end of a lesson, confides in practicing problems, shares in successes, and, of course, leads the home practice.

 

 


 

age 11 and up

Ages 11 and up

As the Child becomes more and more independent, the relationships begin to shift. The child and teacher eventually become the exclusive participants in lessons.

Some parents have a tough time at this stage, and I can understand. Unfortunately, if this shift doesn’t happen, the “young adult” doesn’t feel he or she is part of the process.  This age is tricky and so important.

 

 

Children around this age (each child is unique) must begin to take responsibility for what they like and don’t like about their playing. If they are to continue progressing meaningfully on the instrument, they must take more and more initiative and have more and more of an opinion about what they hear coming out of their instrument.

This means that the parent must not only refrain from interacting with the teacher or child during lessons, but parents should also “let a lot of things go” at the home practice. Things that they used to be charged with attending to, like playing in tune or using the correct bowings, might need to be ignored. Interfering with the child’s blossoming responsibility to listen to himself will slow his development as a musician, and frustration will ensue. In his book Helping Parents Practice, Edmund Sprunger addresses this stage at length and gives parents excellent ways to handle home practice.


 This really does happen!

To share an anecdote from an Atlanta area Suzuki teacher, Martha Yasuda: A 9-yr. old student asked her after a so-so performance at the student recital – “How do I get to sound better on the violin?  I just don’t think I sounded that great like some of the others did.”

Mrs. Yasuda answered, “You probably won’t like my answer, but here it is–you need to follow better directions when I tell you to do things in lessons.”  She reports they proceeded to fix all the posture problems  they had been working on, and the child transformed completely right before her eyes.  The child even commented: “I’m pretty sure my wrist is way too high.”

As Mrs. Yasuda says, “My most euphoric moment of maybe the  past decade or more!”

The triangle has matured!


“If you put it off until some other time, you will never get it done, because ‘some other time’ has its own tasks…” Shinichi Suzuki

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

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

 

Do you see dots?

September 15 is International Dot Day.

Here is a wonderful video of the children’s book, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, which reminds children that they should keep trying even when they think they cannot do something. This is worth sharing with the young ones.

On September 15, 2009, school teacher, Terry Shay, read the book, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds to his class.  It was the start of International Dot Day.  A day celebrated around the world!

When something looks hard to a child, he needs to be encouraged.  We need to show him that he shouldn’t give up just because it doesn’t come easy.  And we have to teach him that he shouldn’t compare himself to others.

Learning to play the violin is not easy; it is a very difficult instrument to play.  That’s why it is so ingenious that Shinichi Suzuki created a Method to teach violin to the very young child.  He made it accessible to all children.  As he said, Every Child Can.

Let’s encourage our children to “see the many dots”on their way to becoming excellent violin players.

Click here for Featured Image credit.


“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein

 

Suzuki early childhood

Is there a Suzuki Method for 0 to 3-year-olds?

Infants Are Like Seedlings

Suzuki said that infants are like seedlings. We don’t let a sprout whither and then give it a lot of fertilizer, sunlight, and water, thinking that is the right time to grow. It’s too late for the withered sprout. Likewise, we don’t set children aside until they enter kindergarten saying that’s when education begins.

Suzuki said you don’t expect a bumper crop when you plant nothing.  What you will get will be whatever seeds happen to land in the field.  Likewise, parents should not leave education up to chance. If they do, they won’t get what they hoped for.

Plant early enough in the season! Suzuki told a story about Darwin who was asked by a mother when she should start educating her one and a half  year-old son.  Darwin told her she was a year and a half too late.

Immersion

Suzuki observed how children learn by watching the way they learned to talk. Children begin to talk a lot between the ages of 2 and 5.  They seem to learn to speak almost overnight once they begin. He says a young baby learns one word at first, which is repeated by the adults around him or her.  Then later another word is added, but the first word is not dropped. He based his teaching Method on the way a baby learns language.  He says to start with listening to music. Immerse the infant with good music.

Very, Very Early Suzuki Training!

Start your Suzuki training from the time of birth. Not because you want your child to be an Einstein.  But because you really do know it is the right thing to do.  Surround the infant with good music. Since infants hear and absorb the sounds of their environment, play good music softly in the background.  Play it at home and in the car. Learning to play violin, for a baby, is simply listening to music.

MVbaby2From birth to age 3 is the best time to develop an ear for music.  Play one piece repeatedly during the day. The music should be played softly.  Just loud enough to know it is on. Suzuki says that if you play a five-minute piece of Mozart, for example, every day, by 5 months old the baby has learned it.

He says test this:  play a different piece of music for the baby; then switch to the familiar piece.  Observe the baby’s response.  For the 1st piece, the baby will listen intently and his or her eyes will be absorbed.  As soon as the music switches to the familiar piece, the baby will smile, look for his mother, and may even shake his or her body to the rhythm of the old piece.

Suzuki says the piece has become the baby’s music—a comfort.

Eventually add more pieces, one at a time.  The result is “a heightened musical sensitivity” similar to that of the acquisition of language.

Choose Beautiful Music

Select beautiful music from the European masters. It has sophistication and intricacy which appeals to children. You wouldn’t put off looking at beautiful masterpieces and only focus on simple sketches. Likewise, babies shouldn’t have to listen to simple melodies only, without the opportunity to hear masterpieces.

Babies don’t need to understand the music.  Music is sensed, not understood. Adults don’t necessarily understand music, but they certainly can feel it.  So it is with infants.

Suzuki Early Childhood Education

Following the ideas of early exposure to good music, Dorothy Jones created an early childhood education program in 1993 which was approved by the International Suzuki Association.  Suzuki Early Childhood Education is developed on the same principles as that of the Suzuki Method for teaching children to play a musical instrument. Our studio introduces SECE classes in September 2017 for ages 0-3!

And when baby is around 3, a good Suzuki Violin Program for your child would be:

1.  Begin as early as possible

2.  Create the best possible environment

3.  Use the finest teaching method

4.  Provide a great deal of training

5.  Use the finest teachers


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

 

Brain power–from a challenge?

Children’s brains can get more powerful!

Teach your children they have the power to make their brains more powerful every day!  This video from Kizoom explains to even young children how our brains can change.  Want to be able to explain terms such as neuron and neuroplasticity?  Children should know how their brains work.  Great video!

Learning to play the violin is a worthwhile challenge. After watching this video you can just imagine how your child’s brain will get stronger.

Challenges–

– are not easy.

– often lead to mistakes

– that are harder led to more neuron growth

– become easier over time with practice.

 


“As your brain gets stronger, you get stronger!”  Kizoom- Brain Jump with Ned the Neuron