Parental involvement is a vital part of the Suzuki method and philosophy, and the major reason why it works. Without the help of devoted parents, our children would not be able to progress and thrive as young musicians.
Suzuki parents are doing the tough work of getting their children to lessons and group lessons, practicing with the children at home, making listening happen and much more. I know that Suzuki parents have a lot on their plate, which is why I hesitate to suggest adding one more thing…
But I’m going to anyway. Because the benefits may be worth it for you.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the example I give to my children lately.
I notice my children saying and doing things just like I do.
Some things good…
Some things…not so good.
We all know that children are much more influenced by what they see us do, than by what they hear us say, right?
So I try to set an example for my children in the way I eat, exercise, read books, and how I interact with them and other people.
I don’t expect them to model good behavior that they aren’t seeing in me.
It occurred to me that, for all I was talking about how important practicing is, and how much he’s learning and growing by working so hard, it might seem kind of empty.
Because I didn’t practice myself.
I had long since left behind my regular practice routine, thinking I was much too busy with the care of my three children, teaching, and my other responsibilities.
But if it’s so important for my child to learn, grow, work hard, and develop his skills, isn’t it still just as important for me?
If I want to cultivate a family culture around music, and striving for excellence, doesn’t that start with me?
I decided it did.
I have practiced almost every day for the last three months.
Some of those practices have been as short as five minutes. Some longer.
I decided it all counts.
I play my violin every day.
My kids hear and see me practicing. I think that makes an impression.
“This is so important even grownups are doing it.”
More importantly, I have seen the benefits for myself.
I feel more confident, not because I’m playing better, but because I’m investing in myself. I’m investing in developing my brain.
All those benefits of studying music we talk about for kids still apply to us adults.
Setting this example for your children is powerful. And I think it may be even more effective if you, the parent, aren’t a professional musician like me.
Learning something new and difficult alongside your child allows them to see you:
–Make mistakes and continue trying.
–Break complicated problems down into manageable chunks.
–Focus on one task until complete.
–Enjoying the learning process.
–Creating music for yourself.
Because I believe so much in the benefits for Suzuki parents when they are learning a musical instrument themselves, I’m excited to let you know that I am creating a new resource for Suzuki parents who want to do just that.
Are you learning a musical instrument alongside your child? Tell us about your experience in the comments!