Sunday, October 28, 2007

What is a Suzuki Mom anyway???

A Suzuki Mom, is a mom whose children take music lessons in the Suzuki tradition.  So, what exactly is the Suzuki tradition?  Without claiming to be an expert in all things related to the Suzuki method, I will attempt to give a rather amateurish definition, embellished by much personal flair.  If you want the official definition, click here.  Teachers who teach after the beliefs and methods of Suzuki, are Suzuki teachers (in the general sense).  They also have to obtain specific Suzuki credentials to be considered a Suzuki teacher.  So who was this great man, and what did he teach? 

 Shinichi Suzuki was born in Japan in 1898.  He was one of 8 children.  He taught himself to play the violin before he actually had formal training.  Perhaps these early experiences led him to have a firm belief that children can learn music in the same way they learn a language "by ear" first and then "by notes" after that.  Suzuki loved children and worked with the parents as well as the children.  Suzuki believed that all children have the talent to learn if they are taught well by loving parents and teachers.  In other words, talent is not "in born" and only handed out to a select few.  Also, there are many young (3 ,4, or  5 year olds) taking music classes under this type of instruction, and doing quite well!  It really is amazing to be a part of such an exciting school of thought and practice!
  This method of music education is far more labor-intensive for the parents than "traditional" music education.  There is so much to learn about being a Suzuki parent that I thought it would be easier to give it to you in small doses...i.e.  "posts" on a blog, rather than make you swallow it in one big gulp.  Pictured here, is the guru himself, Shinichi Suzuki.  
If you would like to read more about him: the Suzuki Association of Americas,  the International Suzuki Association.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Never too late to start!

I don't know about you, but I'm inspired.  This man, Gene Hnilicka, is incredible.  Even though circumstances did not allow him to pursue his music at a young age, he continued his training at age 70!  How many times do we bemoan our circumstances when we can't get all of our children into good quality music education by the age of 5 or 6? (Yes, that really is a nice, ideal way to start, but sometimes not practical) 

So, what promptly him to pick up his cello at age 70?  An ad in the yellow pages about the Music Academy of Rockford College, under the direction of Marti Franz, caught his eye.  It claimed to be able to teach anyone from age 6 to 70 plus.  So, the same young man who teaches the 6-year-olds also teaches the 74 year-olds!  (Hnilicka has been playing for four years already, according to the Rockford Register Star).
There are probably many others just like Mr. Hnilicka out there--just pursuing music training for the pleasure of it.  Some of us moms who are so eager to just get our children "on to the next book" could learn from his patient perseverance.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Learning to Love Music

One of the best ways to learn more about music is just to sit and enjoy it.  The violins sing their airy tune; the violas meld in with perfect harmony, while the cellos resound a handsome rhythm  to complete the entire experience.  Is it possible just to sit down and enjoy something like this when all you've developed an appetite for is the sounds of the modern day?  

Time honored and time tested music also takes time to learn to appreciate.  Generally, it is a happy music to your soul, and you and your children will soon be humming those tunes that were once foreign to their ears.  
The other day, we were listening to NPR, and the "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba"by George Frederick Handel was to be the next piece up.  You could feel the energy in the car change as we anticipated one of favorites.   Can you believe that we didn't even know that song the year before?  
Somehow, somewhere we just learned to sit back and enjoy that song.  Click on the links and tell me if you don't love that song also..  Doesn't it just make you happy?

Monday, October 22, 2007

A new blog for Suzuki parents!

Hi How does this look?