I spent my few quiet moments in February curled up with my baby reading To Learn with Love: A Companion for Suzuki Parents by William and Constance Starr. Here are a few moments from the book that stood out to me, as a Suzuki teacher and parent, and why.
“ALL CHILDREN MATURE AT DIFFERENT RATES,”
This was in all caps in the book, and it should be. This is so important to remember for teachers and parents both. Comparison is the thief of joy as they say, and it will steal all of your joy from your Suzuki experience with your child.
“There is no way to grow and learn without mistakes.”
When I read this, I instantly thought of McKenzie Clawson’s recent article “Mistakes: A Tool for Growth.
“If we look forward with pleasure to the daily practice sessions with our children, this joy will show in everything we say or do. If we have to learn to feel this way, we should act as though we already do. Didn’t William James tell us that an emotion acted out repeatedly becomes our own?”
This section prompted some serious reflection on my part. Am I looking forward with pleasure to my daily practice with my son? Am I dreading it? Am I just trying to get it done so I can cross it off my to-do list? How can I relish this focused time with him?
“Children are proud of accomplishments, even small ones.”
This is so true! The trick here is to be cognizant of the small accomplishments that happen in practice and to celebrate them with your child.
“During the period in which I taught music appreciation to college students, I accumulated over three thousand responses to questionnaires regarding their own musical training and background. Well over half of these students indicated that they had studied music as a child, had disliked practicing, had quit studying and then later found themselves wishing very strongly that they could play a musical instrument. They also wished that their parents had had the fortitude to keep them at it!”
I thought this anecdote was very interesting, and I have found this to be true in my own life. Whenever I make a new acquaintance, and they ask what I do, my answer is always followed by some expression of “I used to play the violin (or piano, etc.) and I wish my parents hadn’t let me quit!”
“THE YOUNG CHILD’S RATE OF PROGRESS IS DIRECTLY DEPENDENT UPON THE AMOUNT OF LISTENING HE DOES.”
Listening is key! If you want to improve your family’s listening habits, I recommend reading this article: How to Make Suzuki Listening Part of Your Family’s Routine
“The moral of the story is-if you want to be a more understanding, supportive parent to your child who is studying music, engage in the same activity yourself you’ll be more respectful of his feelings.”
I was happy to see something about the value of parents studying a musical instrument alongside their children in To Learn with Love, as I just wrote an article about this last week! If you are a parent interested in learning the violin, I will soon be unveiling an opportunity for parents to work with me directly on their musical goals. You can join the waitlist here.
Have you read To Learn with Love? What did you learn? What did you like or dislike? Please share in the comments?