My kid forgets his old songs

KimVy Nguyen said: May 13, 2020
 2 posts

I’m a mom of a 6.5 yr old boy in the Suzuki method for almost 9 months and currently at Minuet 2, book 1. He seems to progress ok. However, it seems like very easy for him to forget the old songs if he doesn’t play them for just 1 week. When he learns a song, we make sure that he plays it well and his teacher is quite demanding to get it done right. He could even memorize them all. Then, moving on to new songs, he forgets the old ones and it takes quite some time to revive them. Maybe he has a short long-term memory.

I wonder if this is normal to kids at this age and their long-term memory will be improved over time? Is it necessary to play them all well at all time? Shall we spend some time to play old songs or let them go?

Zohara Rotem said: May 13, 2020
Zohara Rotem
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Buderim, QLD, Australia
16 posts

Great questions, and one that so many parents (some times teachers) struggle
Yes, it’s completely normal.
In order to develop the memory for the pieces we need to play them.
In book 1 it’s very important to establish the habit of reviewing all the pieces, listening to the sound, refining and making them more and more beautiful ( as opposed to just play them and get over with them….).
This is a repeated question that hear in many teacher training sessions i give- teachers asking me how to maintain the habit of review.
I always suggest to parents that in order to convey the importance of review, start with the review, and then if the concentration is still there, move on to the new pieces. ( esp in the early books).



Zohara Rotem
Pianist . Educator . Teacher Trainer. Speaker. Purpose Guide™ 
Sunshine Coast, Australia

Jennifer Visick said: May 13, 2020
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1072 posts

Review periodically, to remember what was learned.

Suzuki violin books are designed so that if you can play everything before your current “working” piece pretty well, and easily, then the current piece will only go a LOT easier—75 to 90 percent of the work for the new piece is already done because you used those techniques in previous songs.

If you can’t play the earlier songs well, then whatever technique you learned in those pieces, you have to learn it all over again in the current piece. Which is a drag.

But review can be hard! Perhaps these things might help motivate:

  • playing review rep in groups. Seeing that others are playing the songs too can help you want to join in. Also, the group leader is doing the work of choosing what to review for you, so all you have to do is follow along. My colleagues and I are running an online play-in for this very purpose right now, since we can’t meet in person at the moment. You’re welcome to join us—

  • create an external reward system for starting review. A reward can be as simple as keeping track of how many days in a row you’ve reviewed—maybe a favorite meal or book or tv show or game is something you do with your child when you reach a certain number of days of continuous review.

Christine said: May 14, 2020
Christine GoodnerInstitute Director
SAA Staff
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Hillsboro, OR
102 posts

This is very common and why it’s important to spend time each day reviewing pieces that we already know.

I like to think of them like swimming strokes. Once we learn to swim the backstroke we don’t leave it behind and then learn the next one, it gets added into the rotation of skills a swimmer has and is something they keep coming back to regularly.

Time in each practice session to rotate through those pieces helps with skill building and the ease of playing over time. I think talking to your teacher for a good plan for this is a great idea.

Be assured you’re not alone!

Christine Goodner

Blog: The Suzuki Triangle

Suzuki Licensed Book: Beyond the Music Lesson: Habits of Successful Suzuki Families

“When Love is Deep, Much can be Accomplished” ~ Suzuki

Amy said: May 15, 2020
Suzuki Association Member
74 posts

In an effort to help my students stay connected with each other, I have started assigning review partners with in my studio. The students Skype each other once a week, and then they take turns who is leading and who is playing a long while muted. For more advanced students, the review lists I put together sometimes, as a scavenger hunt that the students have to scour their Suzuki books to come up with what songs they need to review. (They may have to review every piece in the Suzuki repertoire where the composer has an S initial or every piece in D Major )

KimVy Nguyen said: May 18, 2020
 2 posts

Thank you everyone for the input. Overall, reviewing needs to be put in a practice routine. I will let my son know and we’ll start a short reviewing session at the beginning of each daily practice.

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