If you’re considering starting your child on Suzuki piano, guitar, violin, or another instrument, you might have a few ideas about the Suzuki Method and how important parental involvement is for the development of the child’s skill set. However, many parents new to the studio might be surprised at how much music and listening skills they get to pick up along the way as well! Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work with your child to develop their musical ear and ability.
You are a parent first. If you find that harsh words or emotions come out during practice sessions, it’s important to take a look at the relationship you have with your child first. It’s unlikely that issues from the practice room start and end there. If you can see where these struggles actually begin, it’s important to approach your child as a parent, not as a coach, and talk with him/her about it. Remind them of your unconditional love and support.
Don’t be a backseat driver! Yes, Suzuki teachers give parents instructions on what to watch for in practice sessions, and we encourage families to follow these as closely as possible. However, we cannot expect perfection 100% of the time. If you expect your child to follow every instruction, every single time, both of you are bound to get burned out. Additionally, allowing your child to figure some things out for him/herself encourages growth and skill development that can’t be taught any other way.
Have fun with it! You know that Suzuki CD, with all those very singable songs on it? Your commute sounds like the perfect time for a family sing along! Demonstrate singing along with these songs so your child feels comfortable doing it as well. This kind of practice is just as valuable as sitting down at the piano or guitar, as it helps students learn melodies, listening, and memorization skills. Plus, it’s a blast!
Take care of the body and mind first. If your child is hungry when it’s time to play piano, it is a good idea to prepare a snack or wait until after a meal for practice time. If either or both of you are stressed out from a tough day, don’t be afraid to power through a shorter practice session, if playing music for an extended period is likely to escalate, rather than deescalate emotions. Adjust expectations of practice time according to what’s going on in your and their lives (within reason).
Slow down. In so many ways, this is probably the most important tip of this blog. Slowing down gives us time to listen to our intuition, listen to music, listen to what our children have to say, listen to what they’re not saying, and be patient with slow and steady progress. Don’t expect mastery in an instant. Slow down, and enjoy the ride!
Are you a Suzuki parent with some wisdom to share about what has worked with your young musician? We’d love to hear what you have to say!
If you’re looking to start Suzuki music lessons, contact us today to schedule your first free trial lesson!