Ways to help your child succeed:
The most important idea about joining a Suzuki Method Program is a commitment to devote time every day to home practice and listening to the recordings. Suzuki parents support and encourage each other in this endeavor.
Suzuki calls his method the mother tongue approach. The key to learning music successfully is listening. Listening develops more than just memory of specific pieces; it improves the ability to learn by developing your overall sequencing and auditory memory, which is the ability to reproduce a series of tones in the same order that you hear them. When these skills are highly developed, you can learn to play back the example that the teacher plays much more quickly and learn new pieces faster as well as at a higher level.
Home listening must include these ideas in order to be effective:
1. Listening must happen frequently.
By listening to the pieces you are studying on your CD at least five times a day, you will learn the pieces much faster than listening a couple times per week.
2. Listening must occur at home.
Listening in the car can be beneficial, but it is not as helpful as listening at home. By listening at home, you also help to develop the home environment.
3. Consecutive repetitions
Consecutive repetitions of the same piece are much more effective than practicing or listening to different pieces one after another.
Practice for Success
1. Repetition is the key to learning.
This means successful repetitions after you can play the part correctly. Repetition is most useful if you repeat a short segment many times in a row. It may take ten tries to get it correct five times, but you will probably take only five or six tries to get five more correct. These last five correct attempts are the most valuable. If you only repeat the part five times correctly, you lose this benefit. If you practice each spot until you can do it ten times correctly each day, you will not easily forget it and you will get more benefit from review of old pieces.
2. Review of previous pieces.
Mastery and continued review of earlier pieces lay the foundation for more advanced pieces. Review of easier pieces helps to teach greater refinement of bowing and musical expression. This is very important in developing your child’s ability to a high level.
3. Playing with the accompaniment CD each day to play with musical sensitivity.
The most important thing that you can get from music study is the ability to play with musical sensitivity. This means more than just playing correct notes at the right speed. It means playing with phrasing, dynamics, articulation, and expressive changes in tempo such as speeding up a little at the climax of the phrase and slowing down a little at the end. It includes a concept of the musical idea that the composer is trying to express. The meaning of music is essentially social and we play because we want to say something to someone else musically. Listening to the recordings many times each day teaches these things in a natural organic way that becomes an integral part of the child just as in their native language. Playing with the accompaniment CD daily reinforces this lesson, developing confidence and a high level of ability.
At the Lesson
You can help your child get the most out of each lesson by doing these simple things:
1. Plan to arrive early and spend a few minutes of quiet time together. Find out about your child’s day at school and encourage them to share their feelings about things that happened.
2. Review the key points that you have been practicing. Talk about any behavioral goals that you have for the lesson and any rewards for meeting them.
3. Let the teacher correct your child at the lesson. Having more than one person teaching at the same time is confusing even if they are both teaching correctly.
4. Pay attention to what your child is learning. Take notes at the lesson and ask questions if you do not understand what the teacher is saying. Practice after the lesson, it helps to review while the teaching points are still fresh in your mind.