Summer Listening Challenge


said: Apr 27, 2010
 19 posts

I think there may have been some teachers who created this before, and possibly even discussed it in the forums—and I’ve love some help on it now! I’d like to create a “Summer Listening Challenge” for students. Basically, I’m hoping to make it into a contest-type of game where you earn points, a small prize, etc. for listening to recordings. This is not just for their Suzuki recordings—I am expanding this to all types of classical music, especially solo violin & piano works (those are the instruments I teach). I also plan to include other genres (Celtic, jazz, operas, musicals, etc.). (Nothing against hip-hop and rock and roll and Hannah Montana, but I have a feeling they’ll listen to that stuff anyway!!) :roll:

Any thoughts on how to set this up? I think it might be nice to have a “suggested discography list” so they have a starting place. Some of my students already listen to great classics on their own, but others have to be heavily encouraged, if you know what I mean!

If anybody has already thought this through, please send me a message! I’d love a little organizational help. Thanks!

Mark said: May 11, 2010
Suzuki Association Member
20 posts

I read your idea a couple of days ago about summer listening and I think it is a terrific idea! I have since thought about it and want to do something just like what you are proposing for my students. I have a couple of ideas about how to structure such an adventure.

I think listening is such an important skill in developing musicianship and listening outside the Suzuki repertoire should be encouraged. You can become an excellent instrumentalist from learning the Suzuki repertoire, but limiting your musical experience to just the repertoire, greatly limits a person’s musicianship. Dr. Suzuki was fascinated listening to all kinds of music and responded to music with such joy and pleasure. So should we all!

Some things to consider:

  1. Have more than a list of music for the students to attend to.
  2. As much as possible link the listening experience to the Suzuki Repertoire, ie: to music they already know and understand.
  3. Divide the listening into weekly projects on the basis of themes.

Here are some themes that I have come up with so far.

  1. Week 1
    a. Listen to all the Minuets in the Suzuki Repertoire for your instrument
    b. Find a picture on the internet or elsewhere of each composer of each Minuet.
    c. Search for ‘historical dance’ and find examples of authentic dance performances in historical costume of a Minuet. Note the ‘Down, up, up’ motion of the basic dance steps from which we instrumentalists derive our ‘Down, Up, Up’ Minuet bowing.
    d. Listen to a Minuet movement from a Haydn Symphony
    e. Bonus points from finding another example of a Minuet played on the Piano
  2. Week 2
    1. Listen to the Beethoven 12 Variations for Cello and Piano
    2. What Suzuki piece is the subject of the ‘Theme’? (Chorus from Judas Macc)
    3. The mood being expressed changes from variation to variation. Happy or Sad or Thoughtful or Angry. Can you draw a picture of some of the variations? How do they make you feel?
    4. Bonus: What other elements of the music change from variation to variation.
    5. Can you play the twinkle variations at different tempos with different moods?
  3. Week 3

    1. Listen to Holst the Planets
    2. Find a picture of each planet depicted in the music?
    3. When did Gustav Holst live? How is this music different than other music you’ve listened to?
    4. Can you learn to play by ear the beautiful ‘Hymn’ melody in the middle section of ‘Jupiter’?
  4. Week 4

    1. Listen to Vivaldi’s two cello concerto
    2. Listen to Mozart’s Symphonie Concertante and Brahms Double Concerto
    3. Which instruments are featured in the above two works?
    4. Bonus: What historical periods are the three works from?
    5. Bonus: Can you find and listen to another example of a concerto written for multiple instruments?
  5. Week 5

    1. Practise your improvisations on D+ scale in duple and triple meter
    2. Listen to 3 works by jazz violinist Stephan Grapelli
said: May 17, 2010
 19 posts

I love these ideas! Very creative. Thanks so much for posting. I will be using these, and I think my students will really enjoy the activities. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you.

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