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Some Back To School Food For Thought

As the school year approaches (or maybe it's already begun for some of you!), parents and teachers everywhere are working very hard to encourage and help children learn new things, review and remember previously learned material, and grow as young people.

Perhaps one way to ease this process is to consider how we all learned English. We can learn much about the study of music, math, science, and many other subjects from the study of language. The Suzuki Method is often called the "mother tongue" method, for many reasons. One reason we can point to is the emphasis it places on synthesis over rote memorization.

As a young child, you learned how to talk about a topic such as food by seeing and eating it first, hearing your parents talk about it, and then eventually speaking the words you heard about it. Over time, you could talk about food more broadly, because you were able to synthesize different concepts. So perhaps you tried a savory salt and pepper ice cream once; you might have decided to try making a savory cake for your friends as a result, and telling them all about it. This single action represents several years of synthesizing a wealth of information about a single topic.

This easily translates to music. We can play classical music around the house during homework time and dinner, for instance. We can talk about the sounds that we hear and ask questions about it. We can encourage our children to take piano lessons. We can play bass guitar after dinner along with our favorite record. We can take our families to concerts and festivals. In these ways, and many more, music becomes a part of our familial culture.

As the culture develops, the skills develop with proper training and positive reinforcement. Where children start by eating smooshed peas and playing Twinkle Twinkle, they grow to mastering Beethoven and baking savory breads and cakes.

So how can we use the concepts of positive feedback, listening, repetition, and real world synthesis to make the learning process easier across all fields of study? For this week's post, I don't have all the answers. I want to ask this question and encourage all of our wonderful readers to think through that for yourselves.

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