The First Year of Lessons
During the first year of lessons, your child will learn to communicate using music as the language and the violin as the voice.† This language will be learned as we learn to speak, through listening, repetition and imitation.† The list of skills learned in the first year will include holding the bow, violin posture, left hand position, musical memory, pitch memory, development of the ear and musical expression.†
In order to truly master these skills, the development of efficient home practice habits is essential.† Parent and child must work together daily following the teacherís guidelines and using elements introduced in lessons.† For this to work, the parent must be diligent about asking questions and taking notes.† Confusion can be averted if all questions are addressed during the lesson.† The location for practicing should be chosen carefully.† Choose a place that is comfortable yet will not provide distraction.† Timing of practice is equally important.† A young child can focus for around 20 minutes at a time, sometimes more, sometimes less.† You can determine how best to divide up practice time with your child.
Parent and child will begin to develop a new kind of relationship.† While the parent will function as the home teacher, the two will work as a team and learn together.† Parents must follow the teacherís lesson plan and display patience with the student, constantly encouraging his or her ability.† We are always looking for new ideas for practicing, and these can be shared amongst the community.† Edmund Sprungerís book Helping Parents Practice should be a valuable resource if you feel you need additional ideas.
There will be a large amount of discipline required outside the normal repertoire.† Students will be asked to recite a poem at each lesson, and will be given a special listening assignment each week.† After some progress, the student will be asked to prepare weekly ear tunes.† These activities are designed to aid in the development of memory, musical ear, rhythm, performance skills, projection and dynamics.
Group classes will enhance progress and motivate students toward more productive home practice sessions.† It will be a challenge for parents to develop this new relationship.† The first impression will affect the childís attitude for a long time.† Reading the Suzuki and the Srunger books will be helpful, as will talking with other parents.† Each parent and child will progress at their own rate, and with time, care and patience, the first year can result in a wonderful new partnership filled with one new discovery after another.
Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki
To Learn With Love by William Starr
Suzuki Compact Discs by David Cerone