Feedback from Suzuki parents wanted!

Kathleen Bowman said: Feb 10, 2015
Kathleen Bowman
Suzuki Association Member
Ballston Spa, NY
5 posts

Hi Suzuki parents,

When you think of your role as a Suzuki parent, what strikes you as the most challenging aspect of this process?

Is it practice ideas, motivation, knowledge of how to help your child learn, finding time to practice in the midst of all the other demands, fear of failure?

I am working on some materials for Suzuki parents for an upcoming festival. If you have a minute, I am curious to hear where your biggest challenge points are.

I would love to know your thoughts!

Kathleen Bowman—new mom, cellist & Suzuki Cello Teacher

Gina Devirro said: Feb 11, 2015
 19 posts

1.Convincing my daughter that she needs musical training in her busy life, and that it is worth her time and effort. Especially when it is practice time and she is busy having fun being a kid, and really, who can blame her.

  1. Keeping myself convinced that she needs musical training in her busy life, and that it is worth MY time and effort. Hoping that even though it causes conflicts on many days, that it will be worthwhile in the end, and that one day she will thank me for it.
Lisa said: Feb 12, 2015
1 posts

-Helping my intense child through difficult practices without getting totally frustrated.
-Finding more time in our already packed days for practicing.
-Making practice more fun.
-Finding opportunities for her to continue her study and see other children who are practicing every day and to become friends with them.

Bettina said: Feb 12, 2015
 6 posts

My biggest issue is coming up with new ways to motivate a very young child (fun games, etc.). I am always searching for new tricks!

Gina Devirro said: Feb 13, 2015
 19 posts

Lisa brought up a good point: Since none of the neighborhood kids or her best friends at school do music, she if often presenting me with “why me?” when it comes time to practice. We have found one other family that does daily practice, and we try to meet up every couple of months for musical playdates. The girls do little performances for each other, (and sometimes we have them learn and play duets with each other), then run off and play. It is quite helpful for my daughter to know that she is not the only kid in the universe that is required to practice.

Kathleen Bowman said: Feb 14, 2015
Kathleen Bowman
Suzuki Association Member
Ballston Spa, NY
5 posts

Thank you for voicing these challenges and sharing your ideas on this topic. I have the great respect for you wanting to have music be a part of your child’s life, and working through very daily, very real challenges. I appreciate you taking the time to share here.

Amy Stupka & John Dzubay said: Feb 14, 2015
 6 posts

Happy Valentine's Day!

I will be out of town for the holiday, so please excuse any delay in response time.

If you have an urgent Asheville Music School matter, please contact Ryan Reardon at 828-774-2277.

Thank you and I'll be in touch soon.

Alicia Gugu said: Jun 3, 2015
 2 posts

My child is almost 4. Our biggest challenge is finding time to practice.

Sue Hunt said: Jun 4, 2015
Sue HuntViola, Violin
403 posts

When my children were little, I didn’t realise that practices should be on the short side. If you do this, you are encouraging them to focus. If you prolong a practice, you do exactly the opposite, as a child will be focussed on ways to get out of it.

This is good news to parents as it is far easier to fit 5 minute slots into daily life. I pick an activity which gets done anyway and slot my practice in beside it. However, trying to fit a 5 minute practice into a 5 minute slot doesn’t work. You need decompression time round it.

Having said this, some of us find that doing one task X times correctly works better than doing it for a certain number of minutes. After all it’s more satisfying to work towards a goal.

Kathleen Bowman said: Jun 7, 2015
Kathleen Bowman
Suzuki Association Member
Ballston Spa, NY
5 posts


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

~Kathleen Bowman

On Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 12:15 AM, SAA Parents’ Corner Discussion <
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Heather said: Jun 18, 2015
 11 posts

I’m late to the party on this one but my challenges are as follows:

-Keeping my focus during the lesson on one thing. I think I over correct my children.

-Keeping my patience and I need to learn how to direct my kids without them getting frustrated.

-Motivating myself to get them to practice every day. We are at 3-4 times a week. I can do better I’m sure

-Keeping my children’s interest in music. They are 7 and they don’t hate the violin but they don’t like it either. They are on autopilot.

Erin & Christopher Palmer said: Jul 4, 2015
25 posts

My biggest challenges are

  • With my 6.5 year old, finishing all aspects of practice and not taking 2 hours to do it. She is mid book 3, and the pieces are long, plus she has review, reading, scales, technique, etc. She only ever wants to learn new pieces.
  • Practicing to the satisfaction of our picky teacher, who corrects every single thing. I am picky too, so my poor daughter has to do 10 things correctly when playing and as a result accomplishes none. So I need to get better at the focus on one thing practice.
  • With my 3 year old, balancing her independence with making sure she does her practice correctly. She is in the “I can do it by myself” phase…
Suzuki Mom said: Jul 5, 2015
 4 posts

Learn to practice well for all of us. Sue Hunt is right on.

Trying to practice everything is impossible. A lot of time it is not run through the whole piece. It took a while to find a way to communicate that we can practice “nuggets”.

Finding time can be challenging. We practice after dinner, not the best but it’s the choice. Listening is so important! We have our the Suzuki music played in the background at our house. We listen in the car both passively and actively.

Go to institutes! It is so fun and we learned so much. We looked forward to the each one and came back so excited. We made new friends. We shared lots of great ideas with our home teacher.

Find creative ways to share the music. Play at church, join the orchestra, play for family and neighbor, pay at the street corner, etc.

Not overdo the praise or give external reward. Her work is the reward in itself and our daughter knows it. Be sincere with encouragement and be specific. I find this is very helpful with wording encouragement:

Phyllis Calderon said: Jul 6, 2015
Phyllis CalderonViolin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Piano
Chicago, IL
22 posts

Hi Erin,

As both a picky Suzuki mom and teacher I have learned valuable lessons from my own mistakes as a musician mom. As I have changed how I approach a task, lessons and interaction with my son are freeing, fun and fulfilled! My son who is now 16 and plays violin, viola, piano, guitar and drums, came back to the violin/viola just recently. He began violin at 2, and yes, I was that picky mom always trying to correct everything. It drove him crazy and away from the violin. He began to focus on guitar and drums exclusively. I stopped fighting and instead began to invest in his interests. His skills grew so much so that he also began composing music and is now in a couple bands. However, just this year he came back to the violin but added viola to the mix. And, is now taking viola lessons. Now we play together all the time in gigs, with our church worship team, and he assists me with my students.

I’ve also learned lots from having attended Suzuki classes, workshops and observing other Suzuki teachers in motion. The suggestions given already are spot on. Here my two cents:

  1. Listen to your child and do not force. For younger children, you have to make learning fun otherwise it becomes a chore. If you sense she is getting tired, stop. Pick it up later. In this way, believe it or not, we teach our children value of practice, and when they are older, they will automatically pick up their instrument to practice w/o being told to.

  2. Choose ONE thing to master. Resist the urge to pick out 3 and 10 things. This drove my son up the wall. It’s not about perfection; it’s all about discipline and fun. There are freedom in these things when you are not over correcting. There may be many skills that need focus but centering on one will bring some peace back to your sessions.

  3. Break up practice session and offer choices. Instead of practicing for a 30-minute duration, for example, break into smaller segments, ESPECIALLY for a young child. 10 minutes on technique—stop and take a break; 10 minutes on one aspect of a review piece—take a break; 5 minutes reading exercise and/or scale study. Maybe end the session by giving your child the freedom to choose what s/he wants to play.

Phyllis Calderon
Director, String Instructor
A Touch of Classical Plus, Inc.—Calderon Music Studio

Sylvia said: Mar 20, 2016
Sylvia Evert
Suzuki Association Member
Inchelium, WA
19 posts

My biggest challenges:

Having 4 kids. And 7 instruments between them— that all require practice…. and listening…. It’s hard to be listening while someone is practicing.

Are there any other Suzuki parents that have more than one or two children?

My oldest practices on her own now, piano and violin. My second child practices piano half and half on his own and with me— he still really needs me 100% to get good practices though. He wants to learn cello…. but….. until he can self-motivate……

My third practices piano and flute— mostly on her own sad to say. She’s 7— but she’s got a lot of self-motivation. Still…. she practices much better with me.

My forth— is the baby— and she listens every time she naps! Plus all the other kids practices and listening. I guess she’ll be the Mozart.

So how to get it all in?? Just keep swimming…. just keep swimming……

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