Practice: 10 Points
The Importance of Mom or Dad!
Why is practice so important? You meet with the teacher twice a week, once for private Suzuki violin lessons and once for group class. But the rest of the week, students skills improve when they practice Suzuki violin. That’s why you are so important.
Enid Wood wrote an article in the American Suzuki Journal, Summer 2007, entitled, “On Structuring Practice at Home: Ten Points to Ponder.” Which of these 10 do you find most intriguing, most important, least likely to be done when you practice Suzuki violin?
PRACTICE more often than not.
I might add, Just Do It!
- If you establish a daily practice routine, there is no discussion of “should we.”
- You may want to (read that “Have To”) be clever and creative.
- One clever parent called practice, Violin Club.
- Stickers are motivational for some children. They can earn one each day from a box and when the outside is full of stickers, they get to see what is in the box!
LISTEN to the recorded music.
- Wood makes the point that if the child is struggling to remember the sequence of notes, s/he won’t be able to work on technique or interpretation.
- Playing the pieces softly in the background gives the brain the opportunity to learn. You don’t have to blast the music so that it becomes like fingernails on a chalkboard. (I can’t visualize Dr. Suzuki ever suggesting that.)
- Listen to review pieces and the pieces from the next book.
- With today’s technology, it’s easy to have the music in the car, in the play area, and in the bedroom.
- Listening WILL help children “learn tricky music without giving up.”
REVIEW the repertoire.
- “Review pieces are like an ever-increasing vocabulary. We add new pieces; we don’t replace the old ones.”
- Here’s where clever and creative are rewarded.
- “Surf & Turf” —”Productive practice includes a balance between playing through pieces in their entirety and isolating small sections in order to dig out the beauty in them.”
- “Twice as much review as new”—” a wise plan for some families because it builds confidence and reinforces skill.”
- Christine Goodner has clever ideas in 20 Ways to Review Your Suzuki Pieces
- Attend your studio’s group classes routinely to develop the social skills of playing together.
- Join orchestra when offered.
- Invite a Suzuki friend or 2 to your place to practice!
MASTER each step before going on.
- Suzuki teaches to mastery. No hit or miss here.
- Wood says “thorough mastery of each small step leads to excellence for all.”
- Get creative with a chart: done, memorized, fluent, beautiful tone.
- Practice makes permanent. Be sure your child is practicing correctly.
- Repeat until no mistakes are made several times in a row.
- Be sure to have a creative way to keep track of the repetitions. Wood suggests lining up dominoes and knocking them down. A line of stuffed animals disappears after each repeat. There are lots of creative use for Legos during practice.
Beautiful TONE at the Beginning & End
- Begin & end each practice with a beautiful sound.
- Experiment how tone is changed depending on body movements while playing.
- Listening can help with tone. If the child hears the intonation in their head, they are more likely to replicate it.
POSTURE is important.
- Pay attention to posture, balance, and release of tension.
- It’s ok to make mistakes in practice and in class. We don’t want stress and tension.
- Turn technique into a game. Flip a coin to concentrate on the right or left hand.
- Want a great advantage? Be sure to be there for your violin child.
- Unless you are in the stage of giving more independence, parents must supervise daily practice in order to see progress.
- Listen to your child as s/he plays.
RESPECTFUL and POSITIVE INTERACTIONS
- Choose reachable goals.
- Quit while you’re ahead.
- Steps: 1. Praise cooperation and completion of a task. 2. Notice beauty and individuality. 3. Only after those two steps can you make suggestions for changes in playing.
- Back up and do something fun, easy. A review piece.
- Don’t expect perfection from your child. S/he is only a kid once.
- Don’t expect perfection from yourself.
“Nothing improves hearing more than praise.” Shinichi Suzuki
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