Great news! I have an EASY and PAINLESS way to improve your child’s enthusiasm for practicing at home, or increase their learning of new pieces if they already love to practice. My older son went from tears of frustration at missed bowings and rhythms and forgotten notes, to saying ” I love cello, Mom!’ and giving me a kiss AFTER TWO DAYS of my listening experiment! My younger son went from exhaustion and whining in learning Twinkle with little discernible progress, to saying “Mom, don’t help me! I know it all!”, followed by his eagerly playing
the entire Twinkle theme at least 5 times in a row.
What did I do to make this magic cello happiness come over my household?
I listened to Michele Horner’s brief talk called ‘Listening Like A Maniac!” on the Parents As Partners Online Seminar and followed her advice for two days. First, I found the repeat button on my CD player (marked REP)
which I had never noticed before, and the repeat Setting (under “Settings”) on my ipod, which I also didn’t know
existed. While my boys were playing, talking, eating, even playing a video game with the sound off (!), I put on their current piece on repeat for 30 minutes or so in the room where they were, even though this meant bringing the CD player out from their
room and moving it from room to room a few times. I would then switch to their next pieces and their polished recital piece, each on repeat for a while. No one commented, and the boys happily played in the house while getting a massive dose of targeted listening!
The thrill came when I asked each of them to practice and got no resistance (unusual for them), and instead had two boys actually eager to play. When I heard the ease and musicality with which they each played, I was hooked!!!
Michele’s argument, which I urge you to listen to on her online post, is that if we are indeed trying to teach our children with Suzuki’s mother-tongue approach and wanting to give them a rich environment filled with the language we want them to learn, they need to be hearing their pieces many, many times a day instead of listening to the whole CD once a day (2-3 minutes of their piece!). To hear Michele as well as many other inspiring voices from Suzuki teachers and parents around the country, check the information emailed to you about Parents as Partners from the Suzuki Association of the Americas. This wonderful online resource only last a few more weeks!
I challenge all of us to try this Listening Experiment with our kids and see what happens…..you are welcome to post your thoughts (and results!) below….