How to practice

Fun Practice Away From Your Instrument.

Every now and again a worried parent will ask me this question: “We are doing a 100 Day Practice Challenge, but we are going on holiday.  What should we do if my child can’t practise for several days?  Will we have to start again?” There’s absolutely no need to worry!  If you really can’t get […] Read more…

3 Common Mistakes People Make About Praise

My children’s teacher used to tell me to find 3 things to praise before trying to fix anything. This never worked, because after the third, they would both invariably give me an old fashioned look and snarl, “But?” For many years, I have wondered why my efforts to inspire them with praise could have fallen […] Read more…

My 100 Day Practice Challenge. First Baby Steps

It’s January again and you know what that means.  Time to put your money where your mouth is and start slaving away at all your resolutions. Personally I have never found that resolutions work too well for me.  I can’t bear that feeling of failure when yet another resolution bites the dust and they all do, […] Read more…

Practice, Practice

Do you know the Practice Song which is sung to Suzuki’s ‘Perpetual Motion” from his Violin Method Bk 1? Singing this Song in group classes always brings a pretty even mix of laughter and groans. Yes it is cute and funny, but why the groans?  Is it ridiculous, or unjust to have to practice to […] Read more…

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…

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…

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…

Two Tips to Cure Mindless Fast Practice

Most of us have problems with children who make a mistake, get frustrated, and play the passage again faster, with even more frustration and more tension, which starts the vicious cycle of mindless fast practice. When we try to stop them, by breaking the passage down into the smallest steps (2 -3 notes), they listen […] Read more…

Music Practice, a Teacher’s Tips for Success

Regular daily practice is essential, if your child wants to enjoy the benefits of learning a musical instrument.  Perhaps it is wise to think for a moment, about your reasons for investing in instrumental lessons for your child.  There could be hundreds: improved self confidence, better muscular co-ordination, quicker neural connections, exposure to a motivated peer […] Read more…

Multitasking Fun Music Practice

It is a myth that mothers are naturally good at multitasking?  Busy family life just forces us to practice this skill.  It therefore won’t come as a shock, to hear that you can combine every day household tasks, with music practice. A friend, who is an accomplished pianist, told me about the unusual way in […] Read more…

How Your Ears Can Sabotage Music Practice

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”  Confucius, Chinese Philosopher 551 BC – 479 BC But what if it doesn’t? Music is all about the sense of hearing, but did you know that practicing a musical instrument can actually be sabotaged by your ears?  What can you do to prevent […] Read more…

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