“The fate of a child is in the hands of his parents.”
- Ability Development from Age Zero, p.54
In Suzuki’s Talent Education method, parents are considered to the their child’s best teachers and so are called the ‘home teachers.’ Parents attend lessons, take notes and video recordings and supervise their child’s daily practice at home. Just as parents are naturally positive about a young child’s language acquisition, parents are asked to be positive about their child’s musical progress, to focus on what’s going well.
A triangle is formed between child, parent and teacher, with each having roles and responsibilities in developing the ability of the child. Parents take on the responsibility of guiding daily practice sessions to accomplish what the teacher has asked for in the lesson. Ideas are collected in private lessons, group lessons, at workshops, from other parents, books, etc, to make daily practice enjoyable and successful.
Suggestions for “Home Lessons”
There is always something to praise. Focus on what’s going right, on what sounds good, on what is improving, on successful concentration.
Keep practice sessions short
Your child will gradually develop the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time. It is more important that you both stay relaxed and have fun whenever you play. Ideally every playing session should start and finish on a high with something fun and rewarding.
Schedule regular times you know will be good for playing. Early in the morning or last thing before bed, whatever works best for you, but the more regular the time, the easier it becomes to repeat it. At first it might take some effort to establish a ritual for your child’s playing, but in time it will begin to exert a noticeable pull on you and your child as the time approaches each day and picking up the instrument will become much more effortless.
Playing every day is essential for steady progress. Playing twice a day for half as long is even better. If the violin is visible and easily accessible it encourages you and your child to pick it up often for brief playing sessions.
Avoid playing on auto-pilot. We need new ideas to stimulate our minds and create growth in our ability. You will get a lot of ideas in lessons. Collect more from my website, books or the internet and invent your own. For young children, different ways to approach repetitions can be especially useful. Use open questions to encourage your child to self-direction and learning by discovery.
*Click here for more in-depth ideas about daily practice*