Today a young student played with noticeably different ease at her lesson. Everything was working well–bow arm, left hand, cello position–and she was finally playing her Twinkles really, really well. She was looking tired and had a cold but even so was not at all distracted or antsy for the entire lesson.
I know that she and her mom had recently discovered using You Tube to listen and watch other kids playing cello pieces, which had helped to motivate and inspire this student, who was not always full of energy in her lesson or willing to practice easily at home. But something else must have changed. I asked her mom if she had been listening or watching other children on You Tube more often this week, as she looked like she was playing at a whole new level of ease and enjoyment.
Her mom said. “Well, we have been listening a lot more to the CD this week.” That was it–it was so clear. She really KNEW the pieces inside out now and could focus on her bow hold, cello hand and position, as the music was continually playing in her head. She had real phrasing in her playing and had kept up beautifully with the cello group for the first time a few days earlier. We had also easily learned a new section of the next piece, which had been too difficult for her to remember during our last few lessons.
Listening is so often overlooked in our busy schedules when in fact it is the easiest and least stressful part of the process….and something parents should really take charge of. As I write this I have three pieces playing on a loop from the website www.grooveshark.com, which has the Suzuki violin and cello books 1-3. You can easily select what you want to listen to and put it on repeat from any computer with sound. Right now we are listening to Go Tell Aunt Rhody, O Come Little Children, and
May Song (Gabriel’s current piece and next two pieces) on a repeat loop during dinner, right after our cello practice, and for falling asleep.
One word of warning: I NEVER call attention to the fact that we are going to listen or that I am putting music on…..if I do I ALWAYS get an argument, and if
I don’t say a word we all happily listen for 1-3 hours
I hope all of you Suzuki parents can give yourself and your child the gift of repeated listening!! You can even make a playlist of review pieces for a certain concert, or put on your child’s current piece
and upcoming piece or two…. it is too easy NOT to try it….and we all deserve the results: less resistance and more progress (and fun!) with our kids!!