One of the most important principles of the Suzuki Method is listening, which is why Suzuki teachers ask students to purchase the cd or digital album with their Suzuki books. Whenever I introduce a new piece, my first assignment (and many other teachers’ too) is to do marathon listening–listening to that piece two hundred times over the course of a week. Once they’ve done this, it is so much easier for my students to learn their pieces accurately and efficiently.
There are many benefits to listening to your students’ Suzuki recordings daily. Here are some of them.
- Your child will develop a good ear for beautiful tone (sound quality) and intonation. This internal model will give them something to aim for during practice.
- YOU will develop a good ear for beautiful tone and intonation, making you a better practice partner for your child.
- As I mentioned above, listening to the recording prepares the student for their upcoming pieces and removes the frustration of struggling to decode each note.
- Listening to the recordings of pieces that are coming in the future gives our students something to look forward to and to get excited about. I often play recordings of some of my favorite Book 2, 3, and 4 pieces for my beginning students during their posture practice so they can imagine themselves playing complex, cool music when they grow as violinists. This long-term vision is key for retention.
For more discussion on the benefits of listening for Suzuki students, see this post from the Plucky Violin Teacher archives.
If your student is stalled or struggling, rather than increasing practicing, I first suggest you supercharge your listening routine. I am all about being lazy when we can, and if something as simple as listening to the recording of their current piece twenty times a day can fix that weird memory issue….then I say do THAT.
I would love to hear from you about how listening makes learning an instrument easier for your students or children. I would also love to hear from you if you have questions about how to make listening happen in your home. Please share in the comments.
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