Suzuki families know all about “Review” and how studying and improving earlier repertoire helps to nurture ability.  However, in this case, “Review” means to appraise, to evaluate, to modify, or to look back on.  This kind of review is the key to stop you and your child from becoming overwhelmed by over a lengthy music teaching practice sessions.

Save a couple of minutes at the end of each practice, to review with your child, the things that happened and how you experienced them.  Try to emphasize the positive, rather than homing in “helpfully” on what went wrong.  Perhaps the music teaching  practice worked out pretty much as you had planned it, but maybe you didn’t get as much done as you thought you would.  The first thing you can learn from this is that perhaps your habit is to give yourselves too much to do.  This is actually a recipe for disaster, as when you habitually fail to get things done, all your lovely motivation tends to go straight down the plughole.

Here is your recipe for success. On a new piece of paper, write down the five most important things that you achieved during the practice session. They could be anything at all, such as, “We started the practice on time, with a smile,” or “Emma checked her bent thumb, almost every time she made a bow hold,” or “Charlie nailed the pizzicato passage in Gossec Gavotte.”  Use your senses to describe your experience.  Make a note of what you both saw, heard and felt.  This will help to make your notes more colorful and stimulating.

Next, write down the five most important things, that you want to do, in tomorrow’s practice.  Review these notes at bedtime and while you sleep, your unconscious mind will be working out for you the easiest way to achieve your ideal focussed practice session.

IMPORTANT!   Make sure that you are working towards goals, that your teacher has given you, during your child’s lesson.  Whatever you do, please don’t rush ahead to learn a whole load of new and exciting things, that haven’t yet been set by your teacher.  We teachers aren’t usually very impressed by this.  Rushing ahead ends up being a huge waste of practice time, because we often end up having to reteach unauthorized pre-learned material.  Unlearning and relearning is frustrating for parents and boring for 99% of children.  DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME.  Focus on your teacher’s specific sequential instructions and you will be practicing with purpose, towards a goal, banishing boredom in one fell stroke.  Working towards better cooperation is always a good thing!

Next day, before you help your child to practice, have a quick look at your list and decide how you are going to fit these things into the session.  You want to keep stress levels down, so if it looks like a tight fit, you might like to take a vote as to what your teacher thinks are the most important.

Review your practice today for success tomorrow and help to make every session much easier for you and your child.

Here are some general focus points to choose from, which can help you improve the way you work together:

•1  I make sure that we know exactly what and how our teacher wants us to practice.

•2  I prepare thoroughly for each practice session.

•3  I give my child adequate warning before each practice session.

•4  We break the week’s assignment into achievable goals.

•5  Each music teaching practice session is short enough for maximum focus.

•6  We nurture ability by reviewing old pieces every day.

•7  I focus on the positive rather than nagging.

•8  I praise hard work rather than talent.

•9  My praise is honest, specific and non-personal.

•10  I empower my child with lucky dips.

•11  We enjoy playing appropriate fun music games for children.

•12  We finish each practice with a positive review.

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