This was the premier issue of Ideas for Parents. The purpose of this tabloid was to network parents of Suzuki students. Have you ever felt frustrated and alone, wondering if any other child ever uttered the following: " I hate the violin", "I hate to practice!", or "I don't want to practice now." If you have had a similar experience happen at your house, you probably have a very typical child. We all face situations that would even try the patience of Dr. Suzuki. But alas! Parents in the UNI Suzuki School program have a variety of experiences and expertise to offer each other. There is a wealth of ideas to be shared in regard to practice time and the care and feeding of a Suzuki student and their family. Annette Andres and Patty Achey-Cutts rounded up ideas from our Suzuki families to share in this newsletter.
It was their goal to prepare one issue per month, sharing ideas on how to make practice time a more meaningful experience. They gleaned ideas from our Suzuki teachers, parents, and magazines.
The following ideas are from Cecile Johnson, former Suzuki mom.
1. Pick a Card -- Write the titles of the songs your child knows on slips of paper. Place the slips of paper in a jar. Have the student draw a card to decide the review song(s) of the day. Add intrigue by having "wild" cards in the jar which entitles the child to have a special treat at that time.
2. Penny Arcade -- Place 100 pennies in one jar. In an empty jar have the child place a picture of their favorite treat (ice cream, gum, games, fruit etc.). The child receives pennies for every 10 minutes of practice. When 100 pennies are in the student's treat jar - take time for a special treat together while listening to a favorite tape.
3. Challenge Duos - with two children in the Suzuki program challenge them to play through one piece alternating phrases. If one starts, who will finish the song?
4. Concert time - Tape record your practice and or home concert to send to Grandma or Grandpa or a special friend. And a few stories, jokes and bits of family news for a very special communication.
Do not wear out motivators. Use them two or three times, then go on to a new "trick". Variety helps to maintain interest.
First Published in February, 1987 by the UNI Suzuki School