Articles

Top 21 Shinichi Suzuki quotes

One summer, in Ed Sprunger’s teacher training class at Stevens Point, we were presented with a lucky dip of Suzuki quotes.  We all had an opportunity to read our chosen quote to the group during the day, which obliged us to appreciate each one in detail and to think deeply about the implications of his teaching philosophy. Read more…

Music Builds a Better Brain

Most of us have heard that learning music builds a better brain and indeed, there have been lots of comparative studies over the years, to show that children who have had music lessons from an early age do better in school than peers who don’t do music. Read more…

Finding the Right Size Violin/Viola/Cello For a Child

If I had only been given a dollar, for every child who struggles to play a violin, viola or cello which is too big, I would be a very rich woman.  What is more to the point is that practising on a large instrument puts huge stress on a growing body and can cause serious  and […] Read more…

Violin Technique – Building a Strong Foundation

Experienced teachers get better results because they pay attention to the basics in violin technique.  Developing superior ability is like building a tall skyscraper.  You have to make sure that the foundations of violin technique are taught and practised with great care, or by the time your skyscraper has reached the height at which you are moving […] Read more…

Music Helps Your Educational Life

I’ve just been thinking how learning to play an instrument can enhance a child’s educational life.  Most of us nowadays have an inkling that instrumental music lessons help child children with school work, but few of us know much about its far reaching effects.  Here is a tiny taste. Music reaches into the memory, helping us to […] Read more…

Basic Equipment for a Beginner Violinist

Our children’s music lessons can represent a sizeable financial investment. It therefore makes sense to get the most out of the money we invest on them.  By cooperating with the teacher and getting the right equipment for our beginner violinists, we improve their chances of success. Would you ask a professional to do a job with poor equipment?  […] Read more…

How to Help Young Music Beginners

I love working with beginners.  It is fascinating to watch them develop into gifted young adults, but when my own children were Suzuki students, I found out how tricky it can be, to help them. Here are some of my favourite ways of making it easier teachers and parents to win the cooperation of a young beginner. •  […] Read more…

Music isn’t a Race

When my son was a six year old cello student, I overheard him talking with a friend about an exciting solo, that he had just played, in his teacher’s home concert.  His friend’s immediate response was,  “Wow!  Who won?” Learning an instrument is not a race.  In music education, reaching higher playing standards is not about winning, but […] Read more…

Teaching and Learning Through the Senses

We ALL learn through our senses.  Learning to play an instrument is a very complicated activity.  When you teach the whole brain, you increase the chances of success so it makes good sense to engage all the senses from the start. Read more…

The Right Kind of Praise

Praise is a good thing, isn’t it?  Most of us believe that the children should be praised.  After all, we want to motivate them and to improve their self-esteem.  BUT, did you know that praising your children for their intelligence can make a them anxious and unprepared to deal with failure, creating a generation of […] Read more…

Goal Setting for Making Practice Fun

Goal Setting for Making Practice Fun Sarah started viola lessons when she was 3.  Her big brother had been playing for a year already and the family focus was on him.  From the start it was apparent that her mother didn’t rate Sarah much as an achiever.  She was convinced that there was a clumsiness […] Read more…

Refusal to Practice – 10 Positive Steps Forwards

Refusal to Practice – 10 Positive Steps Forwards Your child has made a really promising start with learning an instrument, lots of enthusiasm and hard practice and steady progress.  Then bang, the honeymoon is over, with sulks tantrums and outright refusal to practice. Read more…

Music Teaching and Rewards and Bribery

  Learning a musical instrument involves a daily regime of highly focussed practice.  This comes as an unpleasant shock to most young children and indeed to many parents.  How can we help ourselves to see practice as a desirable activity and not as penal servitude? Read more…

Basic Violin Bowing Skills

Does your instrument have a lovely sound?  No, not without being coaxed into life by the bow.  Now, we all know that this can’t happen successfully, unless a player has studied violin bowing. When you compare the responsibilities of the bow hand with those of the instrument hand, you will see why it is so […] Read more…