Save Your Sanity by Putting Your Suzuki Listening on Auto-Pilot…
Listening is one of the easiest (and most important) aspects of the Suzuki Method. There are so many benefits to listening, and it makes learning the pieces so much easier and more fun! So why do we come to lesson time after time without having done adequate listening?
I think it is because parents rely on unreliable tools like their memory, willpower, or even their child, to make it happen. This is a recipe for disaster. I don’t know about you, but my mom brain is overloaded with to-dos. I can’t hardly remember to take dinner out of the oven, let alone practicing and listening every day.
This is why I think it is imperative to put your child’s Suzuki listening on auto-pilot. Make listening the EASIEST thing you do in the day. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Make it easy and convenient. Do whatever it takes to make listening super easy to do! Even though I own the cds, I bought the digital versions on iTunes because I didn’t want to go through the hassle of figuring out how to get the cds on my phone. Get the music on your phone or other device. If you use cd players, burn multiple copies so you have one for different cars and your cd players. There is nothing worse than trying to do your listening and then realizing the cd got left in the car mom or dad took to work!
2. Face the music. It’s on you. Come to terms with the fact that your child won’t do their Suzuki listening on their own without help. They haven’t done it before. The only person you control is you, so if you want listening to happen you’re going to have to take it into your own hands.
3. Pick a time (or place), and stick with it. My kids are home during the day right now, so lunchtime is when we do a lot of our listening. This also works great because my husband isn’t home, and he’s less into listening to the same stuff over and over. Did you see this hilarious video of my two year old listening to Allegro? Follow me on Facebook and Instagram so you catch all of our family’s Suzuki antics. Try breakfast time, or bedtime. Think about when would work for your family and your lifestyle. Every time you are in the car together works for a lot of families.
4. Get into the music! Dr. Suzuki wanted children to learn “real music.” Lifeless exercises and etudes aren’t fun, so he carefully selected all of the repertoire in the Suzuki books. Find ways to engage your children in the music. Talk about how the music changes. Is it loud or soft? Is this a fast song or a slow song? Happy or sad? Don’t forget to add physical movement to your listening sometimes, if appropriate. March or stomp your feet. Clap your hands or tap your head. Make listening silly and fun. You be silly, and they will often follow suit. Especially if they are still small.
For more information on why listening is such a vital aspect of the Suzuki method, read my blog post, Ten Benefits of Listening to the Suzuki Recordings and read Dr. Suzuki’s book Ability Development from Age Zero or Nurtured by Love. As a Suzuki violin teacher, I can tell when my students aren’t doing adequate listening and when they are. The students who do their listening can self-correct and learn notes and rhythms quickly and easily. To truly learn music with the “mother tongue method” children must do their listening. Show your children that you think their music education is important by facilitating listening.
How do you make listening part of your family’s daily routine? Share your tips in the comments.