Tips for Suzuki Parents

Dr. Suzuki asserted many times in his teachings and writings that, “…repeated practice of what one is capable of doing is the principle of fostering outstanding ability.” He often lamented that some parents miss the key point of the Suzuki education and believe that moving on to the next piece indicates advancement. After a student had learned the correct notes and bowings to a new piece, Dr. Suzuki would say, “Now that your preparation is complete, let’s practice in order to build your ability.” Just learning the correct notes and bowings is just the tip of the iceberg…your child’s ability is developed by going deeper than that. Not staying on a piece for a period of time after learning it, denies your child the chance to build his/her ability.

Geoffrey Colvin stated in the October 30, 2006 Fortune magazine article that, “the best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call ‘deliberate practice.'” you and your child must devote time practice, focusing on improving posture, tone, intonation, dynamics, and phrasing. Those who excel spend many hours playing through their review pieces, trying to play them better every time. These children (and parents) ask, “Is this the best I can sound on my instrument?” At first your children try to sound like the CDs they are listening to, then as they get older, they try to sound as good or even better than the music on the CDs. This excellence starts with review pieces. These pieces are the easiest to that goal. Sadly, some students never get beyond just learning the notes and bowings to a new piece, practicing it only long enough to get it barely memorized. After doing all this hard work, why stop short? That extra effort will make you a better player. Taking an extra two or three weeks on a “current piece” after it has been polished will likewise result in increased ability.

Our society is one of instant gratification, but playing an instrument is not, and should not be one of those things. Playing will takes time, dedication, and most of all patience. You are giving your child an incredible gift if you can help them to learn to be patient with their practice, their current piece, and their review pieces…playing will takes time.

(Some excerpts above were from Joseph Kaminsky’s article from American Suzuki Association Volume 35 #4)