Sara said: Sep 25, 2008
191 posts

Help! I have a 4 yr old student that just recently started with me. Her Mother is very good and coming to lessons and practising with her at home, however she constantly reminds her (in lessons and at home) to behave and act “perfect”. This is too much for a child to live up to and she is going to hate it in the end. How do I talk to this Mother? I understand her wanting her daughter to do well and try her best, but I’m not sure how to approach her.

Any advice would be appreciated!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Connie Sunday said: Sep 25, 2008
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I don’t have any religious agenda, at all, but what I say to _all_ my students is, “only god is perfect.” And if it’s a young person and parents are there (which they all are when the student is young), I ask them if they’re “comfortable” with that, which they always are.

Perfectionism is an enemy of development, I think. No one is perfect,and shouldn’t chastise themselves for not being perfect. (Trying to be perfect is fine, of course, but not self-flagellation.)

I also make the analogy between live music and recorded music; as everyone knows, recorded music sounds perfect because they can do it over and over, as well as apply technical means to cut and paste the final performance. Live music is much more human, and there are “a lot of notes left under the piano,” even in performances by very great artists, like Horowitz (for example). What is important, I tell them, is the emotional content.


Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

said: Sep 30, 2008
 36 posts

Kick the mother out of the lessons. Let the kid be kid.

Jennifer Visick said: Oct 1, 2008
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Try a phone conference or a parent teacher meeting to try to get you and the mom on the same page. Also, some sections of “Helping Parents Practice” by Ed Sprunger might be relevant. If the mom is a reader, read or skim through it yourself and try recommending (or assigning) her to read the sections you think are appropriate.

You must log in to post comments.

A note about the discussion forum: Public discussion forum posts are viewable by anyone. Anyone can read the forums, but you must create an account with your email address to post. Private forums are viewable by anyone that is a part of that private forum's group. Discussion forum posts are the opinion of the poster and do not constitute endorsement by or official position of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Please do not use the discussion forums to advertise products or services