Suzuki Parents and Teachers Practice Ideas

Compiled from Suzuki Teacher/Parent Chats
For most children younger than about 12, taking music lessons and learning to play an
instrument is primarily the parent’s commitment.

Some children are enthusiastic, some are not.

No child is aware of the challenges ahead.

Every child needs the parent’s consistent, loving support to meet those challenges day after day.


The first year is the hardest.

You may encounter some rocky times—you may even regret that you got started!

Hang in there!

If things get really rugged, contact your teacher or phone an experienced parent to get some ideas and encouragement.

During the first year, we are not so much teaching your child how to play the piano as we are teaching you how to understand how your child learns . . . not how children in general learn, but how your own child learns best.

In Suzuki piano practice, the relationship of the parent to the child is very much like the parent/child relationship in learning to cross a street: At first, the parent has total responsibility, and the child has none—the child simply goes along for the ride, in arms, in a stroller, or in a backpack. Gradually, however, the child begins assuming more and more “street-crossing” responsibility—first by holding the parent’s hand instead of being carried, and then by walking beside the parent without holding hands. At some point, the child learns to look for cars and helps decide when it’s safe to cross, and so forth. As the years go by, the parent very gradually
relinquishes responsibility to the child.

Piano practice is the same way: You will “carry” your child for a long time—maybe weeks, maybe months, maybe years. You will see to it that the practice happens, you will play the recording everyday, and you will ensure that the environment is positive, (although you can certainly enlist your child’s help).

If you and I do our jobs well, then, little by little, your child will take over responsibility.

By the time your child is 12 or 13, he or she will likely be practicing independently, and—I can promise you this—you will look back and feel that it was worth the effort. Some specific notes about the

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