Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Difference Between Traditional & The Suzuki Method

What is the difference between traditional method and the Suzuki method?

     Well, the main difference that some people already know is that traditional music teaching methods are based off of learning by note-reading and the Suzuki method is based off of learning by rote or by ear. Some people have had problems with the Suzuki method due to some students having difficulties with notereading later on, but a good suzuki teacher knows that even if they are learning by ear, they also need to be learning how to read from day one.
     The biggest difference between traditional and Suzuki methods are parents involvement. What other activities for children do you learn alongside your child? Dance? Soccer? Swimming? Nope! When your child struggles with something in these activities, do you find yourself wishing you knew how to better help them?
     As a Suzuki teacher, it is our job to not only educate the child, but to educate the parent as well and really moreso. The parent needs to know how to do everything the child is learning (technique, scales, etudes) up through the end of book one as a minimum. On top of this, the parent needs to know practicing strategies and how to implement daily practice into their already crazy schedules!
This is ESSENTIAL to the success of the child, because with other activities, it is common practice to drop the child off, and pick them up when practice or rehearsal is over. Music is incredibly complicated and with a parents help, a child can progress so much faster and therefore stay motivated! Without parents help, the teacher often finds themselves teaching the same thing in every lesson and parents end up wasting their hard earned money.
     The biggest advantage to having parents involved with the child’s music lessons, is that they can help oversee that repetitions are quality repetitions and not just quantity. Children will want to sit down and just rush through everything and say they’ve done it. BUT that doesn’t help them learn or master anything.
     A good Suzuki teacher is patient not only with the students, but with the parents as they try to figure out how to make the method work for them. It can be a challenge, but I guarantee the outcome is SO incredibly worth it.

     Another major difference between traditional and Suzuki methods, are that the Suzuki method’s priority is actually not on learning music at all! It’s on building good character!
We focus on yes, the obvious like daily practicing, which builds discipline… but there are some major underlying themes that music can teach us about real life. Such as concepts like “chunking”. When we get overwhelmed, instead of giving up, we break things down into tiny “chunks” and accomplish one chunk at a time, until we can master the bigger chunks! I recently got told by a non-musical mentor, that I was letting my to-do list overwhelm me and they proceeded to hand me an article to read about “chunking”. What a kick I got out of that! All the lessons I teach my students, can apply to my own life as well! How about yours? Do you need to add some “chunking” to your own to-do list? I know I do!
     Good character also means that when we make a mistake, we don’t just repeat the same mistake over and over again and not stop, slow down, and try to fix it! It also means that even if we have a hard time with those mistakes, we do NOT give up and build grit and resilience to our failures. We use failure as the best teacher out there!
     How you approach your child’s Suzuki music lessons, is how you teach your child to approach life themselves. You lead, by example! It can be really tough to hear sometimes, but truth is the only way to get better at something. For example, if you let the child get away with not practicing their minimum requirements, you are telling that child it is okay to superficially approach any challenge or commitment in their future lives. OUCH, right!?
     The Suzuki method is set up in such a wooonderful way because the concepts build upon one another in a sequential way. You start with learning the foundations in the twinkles, and reinforce those concepts throughout the rest of the books. So it is REALLY important to master these techniques in the very beginning! If you let or encourage a child to play pieces ahead of their current piece, even though they have no idea what techniques are needed to play those pieces, you are saying “It’s okay to not work hard on what you are supposed to do, before what you want to do. It’s okay not to master something really well, before moving on to the next concept!” Again, OUCH!!
Not to mention that for every time you practice something wrong, you have to practice it right two times because of our best friend and our worst enemy… muscle memory! Ugh!
If you want to give the child something different to work on, find out their interests and let them explore that! There are so many beginner, big note Disney song books, Taylor Swift sheet music, etc. etc.. Or have them pick a song they really love and try to figure out the notes by ear… whatever you have to do, to keep them motivated and engaged, but NOT trying to sneak forward in the method book!
     These are things that can sometimes be difficult to think about in the moment, when you’re tired and exhausted from a long day. Trust me, I get it! Although I don’t have children, I teach long hours sometimes and run two separate companies and yet STILL have to sit down and make myself practice. Pablo Casals, a legendary cellist that significantly contributed to the world of cello, was asked at age 90 why he still practiced? His answer was “Because I think I’m making progress!”
One comment I have gotten from a lot of former students’ parents is that “So-and-so really enjoyed lessons with you, you find a way to make it fun and more interesting than our current teacher”. I’m not saying this to stroke my own ego, I’m saying this because if you do not make something fun for a child, that child will begin to resent it and dislike it, eventually getting so sick and tired of it they will convince you to let them quit. Perhaps it’s because I have ADHD which is a blessing as well as a curse. It helps me sometimes see through the eyes of a child, which clearly screams at me “I want to like this, but you’re making this too complicated and boring for me!” Of course with anything in life, there is a good balance that needs to be had. If you’re having too much fun, you’re not getting anything done. At the same time, you need to be engaged or you won’t learn!
I will share strategies for making at-home practice fun at a later date.

     My point today, is that I too often hear parents say “Johnny is tired of this piece and wants to move on”. In traditional methods, they do “move on” very quickly. But they take much longer to master skills, and their tone and abilities suffer because of that. By asking your teacher to move on, you are enabling the child’s short attention span and you are teaching them to allow their frustration to win. You are allowing them to not master something to the best of their ability. You are saying “teacher, IIII am bored of this and want Johnny to move on….” But isn’t the greater lesson for your child, to work really hard at something and polish it to a level of excellence?

I hope you have this session helpful! Please send me ideas for future sessions! I cannot help you, if I do not know the struggle! 

Happy Practicing!!
-Ms. Leilah

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Things a Parent Needs to Know to Encourage Success in Their Music Students

Yes! I said Parents & their music students! Because parents need to be the at-home teacher, when their private teacher isn't around! Music lessons aren't just beneficial for children! They are beneficial for parents too! They can help bond you and your child through hard work and discipline!

Think about lessons as your own personal challenge.

          a.) They need you to be involved!
Kids under the age of 12, absolutely need their parents to help them remember how to do the technique properly and exactly what they were supposed to be working on. How are you going to show your kid how to do the technique, if you've never done it yourself? How are you going to help them be successful and remember what they should be practicing, if you weren't paying attention in the lesson? (This also shows your child you are not just drifting off into "what am I going to make for dinner?" land. I know, it's super easy to do!)

    *In my studio, I usually do not let parents get away with skating by, not participating in the lesson. That being said, I do teach elsewhere sometimes and the parents sometimes drop the children off, or will sit so far away they can't be involved or even listen to the lesson and sit there reading their magazines or whatever. These children are as young as 4-7 years old! Do you really expect a 4 year old to sit down at the piano everyday and go "Okay, I need to practice this, this, this, and this..." (Not going to happen!)  Whose students do you think move 3x's as fast and stay motivated because of this?

          b.) It is your job to make sure they practice!
Students don't really develop intrinsic motivation until later and sometimes they need help keeping their materials in order too! You are teaching them discipline and habit building strategies. It's just like teaching them to brush their teeth. If they whine and say "but I'm tired" are you going to let them out of it? No! Music lessons can be fun, but they can also be hard work!

          c.) Language is powerful!
I probably should have put this first because it is that important. STAY POSITIVE!! The language we use in teaching and with our children in at-home lessons or helping them with their practicing, can have a HUGE impact on a student's self-esteem and motivation. If you  internalize nothing else in this post, you will still get the biggest lesson out of it. I will repeat it, because it is SO important!!! "The language we use in teaching and with our children in at-home lessons or helping them with their practicing, can have a HUGE impact on a student's self-esteem and motivation." Stay away from "No" or showing your frustration. Patience is a virtue and if a child is displaying unwanted behavior, it is probably not the child's fault. It is ours, for not addressing it. When we don't address it, we condone it!

     d.) Give them time!
Children do not have the same processing power as adults, but that doesn't mean they don't know or can't do it. It is tempting to just take their hands and do it for them, but give them a chance each time, with a little time to think about it! The more they do things for themselves, the better they internalize the lesson. (That being said, if you have to do it for the really little ones for awhile, that's okay too, so long as they don't become dependent on it!)
Also, you may think of something one way, but the child may need you to explain it or show it in a different way. No two people are alike, no matter how close the apple falls to the tree. Instead of saying "no", say "Does that one sound like this one?" or "Does your hand do what my hand does?" or "Try it more like this..." (etc..) Staying positive doesn't just mean giving your child two thumbs up, clapping for them, etc! This means adopting a growth mindset and working hard to learn how to interact with your child while at home. This is not always easy.
Sometimes when you try to show a child how to play something by grabbing their hands, they will get angry and pull away, or plead with you that they don't need you to show them, they can do it themselves. The best way to approach this, is to ask to "borrow" their hand. This gives them the illusion of more control, which they need. Another  approach is to say "I know you can do it, but let me help you once and then you can do it by yourself." I think sometimes they think when you help them, you think they are stupid and don't know how to do it, or they think you're going to help them and not let them try to do it themselves. By using "My turn, your turn" approach, you are letting them know that they will get that chance to show you.

These are just a few of many parental strategies to have a successful experience with music lessons!!

Which one(s) will you implement this month?

Happy Practicing to both you & your child!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Persian Proverb Applies to Music Study

This quote came on the tag to my tea this morning.

       I found it pretty applicable to music, so I made a pretty little image to inspire me and others. Everybody wants to be able to play like Yo-Yo Ma or Glenn Gould. Yet nobody wants to put the time in to get there. Isn't that what makes the great, well, great? Last night over dinner, I was telling my boyfriend about an invention I thought would make my job so much easier if I could just find an engineer to make it. It would be like a full sleeve that you put on your arm, and it makes the motions for you, so that you can remember what the motion felt like. This would help with the toughest element of music making, muscle memory! My boyfriend looked at me like I was crazy, so I said "what?" He responded, "Leilah, that would take away everything that is beautiful about music. That would make it incredibly mechanic and think about the many years and efforts that you put into learning your instrument. What you're asking is for is basically information to be uploaded immediately. This would mean that anybody could learn to play music well almost immediately. Where's the beauty in that? Where's the struggle and beauty in defeat there? That would just create mass of robot-like musicians."
      Wow. I was just trying to make my job easier. Haha! But he's right! It would only devalue music even more so than it already is, because "everybody could do it".
      I hope this is encouraging for everyone as you struggle to find the right balance of work and fun in your music practice.

Happy Practicing,

-Ms. Leilah

Monday, January 30, 2017

Build Grit!

I just started reading this book called "Build Grit". I have a LOT of habits I would love to be able to change. But my pattern is to do something for one week and then get lazy. I am so sick of this cycle. In order to be the best teacher to my students, I need to be in tip-top mental shape. In order to be in tip-top mental shape, I personally need physical exercise. In order to do this, it comes back down to that little thing called "willpower". Or in today's society, we like to refer to it as "Grit". I'm only in the introduction and have already written down quite a few inspiration quotes. Including the one in the picture I am attaching to this post. There was one quote in particular that really hit home for me regarding talent. It aligns perfectly with the message I believe Dr. Shinichi Suzuki was trying to say:

"People think that an innate talent is enough for success. Indeed, it is true, those people have the advantage of skipping the first mile in a marathon, but the additional miles must be completed as well to reach the finish line!" -Zoe McKey

Isn't that the truth!? When parents purchase music lessons for their children, they are not just encouraging musical talent to grow. They are encouraging the development of "Grit". Because you can only get to a certain point in music with your natural talent. Then, you have to put the work in just like everyone else. Anyone can be a great musician... it doesn't take talent. It takes forcing yourself to see the end goal and putting in the personal efforts to get there.

I was about to type "I will hopefully", but I recognize that old pattern of laziness in that phrase. I WILL make myself more "gritty" this year and in doing so, will hopefully be a good example for my students.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

7 Music Lessons for Musicians and Suzuki Parents, from Harry Potter!

7 is a magical number in Harry Potter. So I am giving 7 lessons for musicians (music students, performers, and teachers alike) and for Suzuki music parents. 

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Lesson #1 for the Musician: 

When we get frustrated that we can't master something, and we battle with our internal thoughts and criticisms, it causes us to want to give up. It's hard! It's really hard to overcome these road blocks. How does one simply "turn on the light"? Remember your curiosity! Remember why you were drawn to the instrument in the first place! Play or learn something fun!

Lesson #1 for the Suzuki Parent: 

When we get frustrated that our student or child is frustrated or can't master something despite lots of patience and trial and error... it causes us to want to give up too. Children have a great sixth-sense and are highly influenced by that energy! Be the light, rather than joining their pity party! Even when you think there is no reason to do another repetition, encourage them to try it just one more time! 

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”

– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Lesson #2 for the Musician:
When we get bogged down with the details and our fingers aren't doing what we want, it's hard not to throw in the towel. When I was a teenager, I gave up quite embarrassingly early in the game. Until my grandmother passed away and I discovered the prelude to the Bach Suite #2 in G minor. There was something in that piece that resonated with my first real encounter with death itself. Anytime I practiced, I always ended my practice with that piece and poured my tears, my desire and longing to have my grandmother back. This was when I found the real magic behind being able to play a musical instrument. It had nothing to do with perfection. It had nothing to do with what others perceived of my abilities, or how much time I did or did not spend with my instrument. It was forgiving. It is in the times when I would want to yell and scream, light my cello on fire, or smash it to pieces, that I would return to that piece and remember the magic! 

Lesson #2 for the Suzuki Parent: 
When you're wondering why you need to make your child do yet another scale, another etude, or another repetition... remember the first time they were able to sightread a Christmas carol for their grandparents, or the first time they picked out the notes to their favorite song and their eyes lit up with magic! Remember the many times, they struggled through the worst of humps and finally came out victorious. Remember their smile and their joy for not only conquering the music, but more importantly conquering themselves in those moments! 

“I am what I am, an’ I’m not ashamed. ‘Never be ashamed,’ my ol’ dad used ter say, ‘there’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth botherin’ with.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Lesson #3 for the Musician:
Never apologize for your mistakes. Never shrink, because of your mistakes. Your mistakes are how you learn. If one judges you for your mistakes, they are not focused on their own journey. They are focused on how far they have come and have traveled only for their own ego. Ego is a hindrance to ourselves and to our fellow humans. There will always be ego, but as the Ancient One in Dr. Strange (another good series full of good quotes) "We never lose our demons. We only learn to live above them!" If you hate the player, don't play the game. It's as simple as that. Music is an offering, it was never meant to be a sermon. 
Lesson #3 for the Suzuki Parent: 
You are what you are... an expert on your child! You know how they learn best. You know their personalities, what they like, what they don't like. How they come down from a temper-tantrum best... NEVER be ashamed that you are not a "musical expert". NEVER be ashamed that you are not a "musical teaching expert". If I came to your job and felt ashamed that I didn't know how to do anything, or anything about the topic you know about, wouldn't you find that just a bit silly? Yet I constantly hear parents apologize for their lack of musical knowledge! If someone mocks you for your lack of knowledge, that person has never been in the trenches themselves. Their inexperience blinds them. 

"We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." 

-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 

Lesson #4 for the Musician:
This one is really quite simple... when the going get's tough, do we easily give up? Or do we rise to the challenge? 

Lesson #4 for the Suzuki Parent:
Do we choose to punish for easily made mistakes? Or do we choose to teach and encourage? This one is not so easy for the Suzuki parent. Do we say "No! For the tenth time, that is NOT how you are supposed to play this!" Or do we say "I think you might have played something a little funny there... does your version sound like my version?" or "Do your hands look like my hands?" Do we say "Sit up straight! Now!" or do we say "Hm.... something about the way you are sitting seems a little funny to me... can you figure out what it is?" The way we choose to talk to our children/students can highly influence their attitude, remember this when they throw a temper-tantrum because they don't want to play piano anymore, or they get mad and bang on the piano. How can we better approach them, allowing them their independence, creativity, and catering to their curiosity? Imagine if your parent were trying to teach you and said something like "That wasn't right. Do it again, only better!" OUCH!!! When you chose your words carefully, you choose the light! 

"Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself!" 

- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Lesson #5 for Musicians: 
The thing itself = MISTAKE! Don't be afraid of mistakes. They will always happen. If you are afraid of making a mistake, you will surely make a mistake! In fact, you will probably make MORE than one mistake, and then you will dwell upon those mistakes, and in the process of doing so, make many MORE mistakes! Trust me, it's a vicious cycle! Don't engage! Learn to forgive yourself, learn from it (most important part) and move on! 
Lesson #5 for Suzuki Parents:
Again... Don't be afraid of mistakes. If you find yourself yelling "BECAUSE I SAID SO!" and slamming the door on your way out of the practice room.... realizing after the fact, that probably wasn't the most adult reaction you've ever had... repeat after me: "It's okay to make mistakes!"  Again... take time to reflect on what made you feel that way in the first place, how could you have reacted better, and rehearse (I know that part sounds stupid, but its completely necessary) for the next time that situation arises. Don't be afraid of these moments, learn from them! 

"If You Want to Know What a Man’s Like, Look at How He Treats His Inferiors" -Sirius Black

Lesson #6 for Musicians: 
Never take an attitude of arrogance! It is unbecoming! It is ugly! It is wrong! Do you belittle your stand partner when they get the bowing's wrong? Or do you encourage them and say "Yeah, that part is tricky... WE'll have to look over that in the practice room this week". Do you laugh when someone makes a mistake? Or do you keep quiet and think to yourself "anyone could have made that mistake" or "perhaps they are having an off day, everyone has off days". 
Have you ever caught yourself thinking "This person and I started at exactly the same time together, yet I'm two method books ahead of them!" or "Oh yeah, I played that piece in Junior High... you're just now playing that!?" EEKS!!
Lesson #6 for Suzuki Parents:
Do you find yourself thinking "That parent is asking too many questions! They must be new!" Maybe instead you could think "this person is trying to learn and needs some help, maybe I can help them since I've been around the block a few times!" Do you find yourself thinking "Oh dear! That parent needs to correct their child's behavior. I can't believe their just ignoring this and letting this happen! They must not understand the expectations!" Everyone has a different parenting style and everyone has a unique child with unique challenges! Your focus should be not on other's children and issues, but rather on your own. Now, if it becomes too much of a distraction to other children, think about a time when you have possibly been through the same situation or something similar, what did you do to curb the behavior? Can you pull the parent aside and kindly and gently ask them if you can tell them in a non-judgmental way about your own experience? (Some people don't want advice, so tread carefully and respectfully with this one.) 

These two quotes go hand-in-hand:

"Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth." 

-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young."

-J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix(Quote by Albus Dumbledore)
Lesson #7 for Musicians: 
This one obviously pertains more to adults than to musical children. When we are teaching children music... don't assume because they are young, that they cannot grasp a concept. If they cannot grasp a concept, than they are not the failure... you are as the teacher! Anything can be understood as a child, the question is how? Break it down into less complicated terms. Give analogies or examples that children can understand. Also, never underestimate the things a child might already know. I know some 7 year old's whose sightreading skills are relatively better than my own. Ouch!  
Lesson #7 for Suzuki Parents:
I cannot tell you how important this quote is to me. When I was a child, I often got treated as an idiot or just a young girl, meaning I had a limited ability to understand things. Yet quite often, I was more clever and intelligent than some of the adults I dealt with. I could see their intentions behind their eyes and their words. I could often see their abuse of their power as my elder and their desire for me to just accept their word as their word and not have to explain themselves or for me to just blindly believe and follow them, because they were an adult and I was a child. It never sat well with me, as one who was an extremely curious creature who grew up in a very strict and fundamental southern baptist home. So when I heard the verse 1 Timothy 4:12 "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity", believe me, I took that to heart and latched onto that one. (Especially in my teenage angst years, of course! Haha.) I often found the speech of adults incredibly condescending, instead of encouraging. They assumed I knew nothing of what I was talking about, or what they were talking about. They would say "Oh hunny, someday you'll understand, when you're older" How could a child, possibly know better than an adult, right? 
    Am I saying this is always the case? Definitely not! But we need to give children the space they need to be independent seekers of truth. Stifling one's creativity and closing the door to a child's perspective, isn't the most helpful forms of attacking a situation. In order to learn how to help our students and our children, we must truly listen, understand, reflect, evaluate, and acknowledge! Only then can we learn how to best teach them and let them grow. This is how you gain their respect, not by telling them how it is and not explaining why it is the way it is and simply making them do it. Remember being a child and being SO frustrated with that?! Well, there was a reason... there is a time and a place for that kind of direction... like when the child is about to run out into the street to chase a ball without looking... but not when it comes to their musical or intellectual development. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Putting the Horse Before the Cart

     As a Suzuki music teacher, I often hear: "My child is bored and wants new material". I sympathize with the parent, as I too want to give the student new material. I absolutely love seeing their faces light up when they get to learn something new and move forward. But the Suzuki method is all about teaching character first, then the musical development follows. So let's forget about music for a moment, and take a look at life in general.
    If you put the horse before the cart in real life, what happens? states "Don’t put the cart before the horse by investing in a new shop before selling that old one situated in west of the city." What happens if you get really excited and choose which dress you're going to wear to the party, and then you don't even get invited? Eeks! What disappointment!
  Here are some encouraging quotes from Dr. Shinichi Suzuki himself that apply to this situation:
“Good or evil, beauty or ugliness, daily behavior itself becomes one’s flesh and blood before one realizes it. It becomes habit through repetition.”

“The real essence of art turned out to be not something high up and far off – it was right inside my ordinary daily self – if a musician wants to become a finer artist, he must first become a finer person.”

“Don’t hurry don’t rest. Without stopping, without haste, carefully taking one step at a time will surely get you there.”

“There is no point where we can say, 'This is enough.' Always seek finer music, finer performance. Eventually this will change from a learning attitude to a joyful quest which will last throughout our lives.”

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

“An unlimited amount of ability can develop when parent and child are having fun together.”

“I am mentally preparing myself for the five-year-old mind. I want to come down to their physical limitations and up to their sense of wonder and awe.”

“Creating desire in your child’s heart is the parent’s duty.”

      I challenge each and every one of you, to find ways to make the mundane interesting again. (I have to do this constantly with my own relationships at home! What makes any relationship, including one with a musical instrument, any different?) I challenge you to get into the mindset of a 3 year old, a 5 year old, or whatever age your child is...and remember what made things fun and interesting for you at that age. If you say to a child “clean your room” do you always, every single time, get a smile and a “yes, mom” or “yes, dad!” I highly doubt it. Does that mean that they don’t have to do it? No! Not at all! Well, music practice is no different. Remember, you are investing money into this! If you want results from that investment, you need to listen to your teacher who is the expert and has been through this many, many times!
     Remember, you’re not really teaching your child how to curve their fingers or how to use “walking fingers”, or how to hold their bow with proper technique… you’re teaching them how to get really, really good at something and take pride in their accomplishment. Then and only then, can they build upon those skills!
      It is not (always) the duty of the teacher, to constantly come up with motivations and creative ways for your child to practice the same thing over and over. We can only guide you (as best we can) and show you where to look, and give you some ideas, but we cannot make you look and learn for yourself. If we ask you to read some material, it is NOT because we want you to waste your time. We know how busy everyone is. We would not give you anything that is not worth your time and that we wouldn’t do ourselves.
     How many times have I asked parents to read the introductory book “Nurtured by Love” and they come back and say “I’m too busy…” and in the next sentence they say “my child isn’t progressing” or “I don’t think she’s/he’s interested anymore….” READ THE BOOK!! You paid for it! When you signed up for Suzuki lessons, you committed to it! If you can't read the whole thing in one sitting, take it step by step! Page by page! That's how we get everything accomplished! Little tiny steps, get you places and keep you moving forward! You cannot expect to learn anything, if you do not take the time to do so. 
     Learning music through the Suzuki method, is about building a relationship. Relationships cannot be built, with cell phones or investments in toys, or with money, or by expecting the teacher to do all the work for you! Relationships are built with an investment of your time and energy. A lot of it!
     If you want your child to learn not to always take the easy way out, be an example! Children learn best through examples! If you're struggling, Suzuki teachers always have an open-door policy! We cannot help you, if we do not know there is a problem! Speak up! We are here to not just help teach the child... we are here to teach you too! But we cannot force you to do anything. We can only encourage you!

How do you get your child to practice repetitions of things they are long bored with? I’d love to hear your ideas! Other parents would appreciate it too and could benefit from your experience!! Have any comments, questions, or constructive criticisms? Please share!!

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Sincere Thank You!

To all the parents in my studio... Thank you for the following:
1.) Thank you for your dedication to your children.
2.) Thank you for taking the time to bring them to lessons and learn alongside your child.
3.) Thank you for your patience as your children learns HOW to learn.
4.) Thank you for your patience as your children learn how to self-regulate (that one is NOT easy and takes a lot of forgiveness and patience to make it through...but don't you think it's SO worth it?)
5.) Thank you for investing in your child's creativity.
6.) Thank you for building stronger neural connections in their developing brains.
7.) Thank you for giving your child an experience like none other and a voice of their own.

Being a Suzuki parent is not always a cup of tea, but when you see the smile on your child's face after working on a particular technique so long that they almost give up, but continue instead.... THAT is the sweet, sweet honey that goes into the cup of tea!!!

It's not easy keeping the bigger picture in mind, when you're trying to get your child to play one more repetition of a Twinkle, while they huff and puff and attempt to distract you with everything in their power, in order to avoid doing it... If you cave to this, you are teaching them that they can give up on something difficult just because, well... it's difficult! What an awesome life lesson to learn young, that sometimes, we just have to stick with something until we can do it.

Einstein failed math= Einstein discovered the Theory of Relativity. I wonder how many hours he put into that....

Thomas Edison created 10,000 light bulbs before he got one to work.... I wonder how many days he worked on that for....

In the meantime, here is an awesome resource for you to check out. It's a discussion board specifically for Suzuki parents, Rookies & veterans alike!

Happy Practicing,

Ms. Leilah