said: May 28, 2007
 13 posts

It was mentioned in another thread that Dr Suzuki talked about listening to Twinkle twinkle little star 50 times a day.

My son is a pre-twinkler, we listen to book 1 almost every day, often while we eat, sometimes twice. But we listen to the whole book 1, so rather than hearing 50 twinkles, we will hear 50 songs from book 1, and also from another (swedish) pre-twinkle book.

So my question is, what do you think the advantages are of listening only to twinkle, as compared to listening to the whole book 1 (the CD is made up with first the book 1 songs, then again in another order with lower volume on the violin, you hear mostly the piano accompaniment? I might add that I think my son will be a pre-twinkler for quite some time to come, we’re currently mostly practicing playing one string at a time, but rarely any particular rhythm.

Jennifer Visick said: May 28, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1052 posts

If I could draw a comparison to finances:

I think the idea is kind of like setting up a CD (certificate of deposit) investment ladder. Eventually you want to have everything invested in the longer-term, bigger picture, and you want to see your investments mature on a regular basis. But at the beginning, you have no CDs which are maturing “right now” (because you haven’t invested anything yet). Say you want to see your investments mature every three months or something like that. So you put part of your money into a short term 3 month CD. You put part of it into a longer term 6 month CD, and part of it into a 9 month CD, and part of it into a 1 year CD. So at the beginning MOST Of your money is invested in the shorter term, and only some is invested in the “longer” term. Then, when the 3 month CD matures, you have a small profit from earning interest, and you roll over that money into a new 1 year CD. Now you have more money invested in the “longer term” (which, by the way, probably yields a higher interest rate). When the 6 month investment matures, you rolle that over into a new 1 year investment, and the same happens when the 9 month matures. Now ALL your money is invested in the “longer term” but you are still reaping the benefits every 3 months.

If you forego the “ladder” of investments in favor of starting with long-term investments, you will have to wait longer before your first investment begins to “mature”.

In case that’s not clear…. at the beginning, a student has no time invested in listening to the music. You want the higher returns that come from long term listening but you also want to see some returns a little bit sooner, so you “ladder” your listening time. You divide your listening time so that there is a balance which is heavily weighted to the shorter term listening—i.e. you listen to the piece you’re working on right now “50 times a day” (that’s the short term listening), but you also reserve time to listen for the near future (first half of book 1), and spend some time to listen to the not quite as near future (all of book 1), and some time to listen to the longer term future (book 1 and book 2), and then the remainder for the lifetime (all kinds of music inside and outside the suzuki repertoire on all different kinds of instruments). When the short-term (50 times a day) listening begins to “mature”—that is, when your child begins to be able to play twinkle with good posture and fairly good tone and pretty accurate intonation along with the CD without stumbling too much—then you “roll over” the time you spent doing the 50 times a day type of short term listening into one of the longer term kinds of listening.

By the time you get to book 2, or even the last third of book 1, your long term listening from your pre-twinkle days (if you made the investment to spend some time listening for the long-term) is beginning to mature, so you’ll be reaping the benefits of much listening without the need for the short term “50 times a day” kind of listening. Meanwhile, all that time you used to spend in short term listening, you can now spend in listening to book 3, book 4, and book 5….etc., etc. Like in the financial world, I think you’ll find that if you’re diligent in “rolling over” the short term listening to the “next set” of long term listening, you’ll start to see better and better returns on your investment.

I hope the analogy is not too convoluted.

Laura said: May 28, 2007
358 posts

Sounds good to me!
Now all I need to do is find some extra cash… oh wait, this was about Suzuki listening :)

Seriously, I think that is an excellent analogy.

said: May 30, 2007
 13 posts

Interesting, I see what you’re saying. I’ll see if I can find a practical way of listening more to Twinkles—it’s really convenient to just put the CD on when we’re in the kitchen. Also, I’m not sure how many Twinkles my husband (or myself ;-) ) can take, I think it would be better to keep listening to the whole CD while we’re eating, and somehow add more Twinkles at other times.

One idea is to record my own Twinkles on a separate tape.

Jennifer Visick said: May 30, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1052 posts

One way to break up the twinkles is to put repetitions of twinkles interspersed with, say, a book 4 concerto or a book 3 piece or and end of book 1 piece here and there. By all means, make your own tapes/CDs/ipod playlists.

said: Jun 1, 2007
Suzuki Association Member
120 posts

I second the notion of making your own specialized CD’s for listening. Jeanne Luedke recommends that beginners listen to their CD 6 hours a day. She also says that by the time you’re at the end of Book 1 or in Book 2 that you can burn a CD that doesn’t have the Twinkles on it. However, when you ARE a beginner you want “saturation” listening. I think you and your husband look at it from the perspective that even if the saturation is driving you crazy, your child will reap great benefits. You will, too, because practicing with your child will be much easier from all the listenng. Your child will struggle less, and you’ll be much more in tune with what to listen for.

Make a CD that repeats ONLY the twinkles. LOVE the idea of interspersing songs from other books and/or non-Suzuki rep with your current level of listening. Get creative! :) Listen at multiple times of day—not just at bedtime or during meals. Jeanne Luedke also recommends you keep the volume low so you can concentrate on other activities and converse.

Laurel said: Jun 2, 2007
Laurel MacCulloch
Suzuki Association Member
Langley, BC
120 posts

A resourceful parent in the progam I teach in (before I was hired, so this is maybe 10 years ago) would do this:

Record 3 of the songs on a separate tape: the polishing piece (e.g. LightlyRow); the current piece (Song of the Wind) and the next to come (Go Tell Aunt Rhody). That way the child (and parent!) had at least a little variety, but not too much, so they could really perfect their pieces and do extra listening of the up-and-coming songs.

Depending on progress, she’d have to re-record as often as every couple of weeks, but it really did pay off.


Jennifer Visick said: Jun 3, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1052 posts

nowadays if you’re savvy enough, you don’t have to record or burn a new CD; you can program playlists into most CD or MP3 players and set the players to repeat the list of songs you specified.

A young student of mine was thrilled when her father, who had just bought an ipod, gave her an ipod shuffle (which at that time had just been released, and it came with the ipod as a freebie/promo). They loaded her current suzuki song (lightly row) and review song (twinkle) onto the shuffle and added a new song each time she was ready to start working on it. She was happy to sit and tally how many times she had listened to each piece. One of the assignments I gave her was to actively listen to her new song 30 times, and to tally this on a piece of paper and bring it back to me at the next lesson. She became so engrossed in this activity that she ended up listening to the piece several hundred times over the course of a few days.

Had I actually assigned her to listen to lightly row 100 times, I think her mother would have balked at the request. But it just goes to show that children will not necessarily get bored with all these repetitions. I’m not recommending that all students listen through earphones in place of letting the whole family listen together, but something like that can be used in certain situations to great effect.

If I had a grant to use for investing in technology that would further my student’s music education, I just might buy a library of ipod shuffles to lend out.

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