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Suzuki Parents: Tell us how we can help you with practice

From our in-studio library to our Practice Corner videos, we’re looking at new and better ways we can help Suzuki parents with practice and the ups and downs of working with your child on their musical journey.

In 30 seconds, you can tell us how we’re doing and how we can help you better:

Fill out our Suzuki Parent Survey




Practice video: The Easiest Way to Improve Music Practice with Your Child

How can you keep music practice interesting

Welcome to Practice Corner! If you watch only one Practice Corner, it should be this one.

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed or burnt out, and that comes through in practice. Even in difficult times (such as the holidays or the end of the school year), there is one thing you can do that will help you and your child have a better practice, feel more motivated, and build a stronger connection to each other.

Dr. Suzuki says: “Children learn to smile from their parents.”

Watch live (and ask questions)! Tune in every other Monday evening at ESMA’s Facebook Page for new Practice Corners. You can also share your own tips and questions.

If you can’t tune in to the broadcast, no worries. You can find our Practice Corner videos on the ESMA YouTube Channel, and at the Practice Corner section of the ESMA website.

What is one good thing you can say about your child’s practice today?




Practice video: Preparing for Recitals

Is your child preparing for a music recital?

Welcome to Practice Corner! Whether a Suzuki book graduation or a full-on studio recital, performances can be a time of celebration, anxiety, and opportunity for your Suzuki kid. Yet the recital prep you do at home can be far more important than the recital itself. The tone we set for performances makes a big difference in setting up a child for success. How can we ease nerves, get familiar with recital routine, and set expectations?

This week we’ll go over creative ways to prepare kids for recitals and ease their nerves.

Watch live (and ask questions)! Tune in every other Monday evening at ESMA’s Facebook Page for new Practice Corners. You can also share your own tips and questions.

If you can’t tune in to the broadcast, no worries. You can find our Practice Corner videos on the new ESMA YouTube Channel, and at the Practice Corner section of the ESMA website.

How do you prepare your kids for a recital?




Practice video: The Odd and Even Game

How can you work on endings or tricky spots in a practice piece? Are you looking for a way to diffuse conflicts or add some fun? Get out your dice and play the Odd and Even Game with Jodie!

This video is our first foray into doing practice videos on Facebook (we’ll also be rolling these out to YouTube in the coming weeks).

Watch live (and ask questions)! Tune in every other Monday evening at ESMA’s Facebook Page for new Practice Corners. You can also share your own tips and questions.

If you can’t tune in to the broadcast, no worries. You can find our Practice Corner videos on the new ESMA YouTube Channel, and at the Practice Corner section of the ESMA website.

How are you using dice in your practice?




Pick a practice word

Image: Jeff Djevdet https://flic.kr/p/uGtWYz

A challenge of ongoing practice is keeping everyone focused and motivated. Kids and circumstances change. With so much happening, it can be hard to keep your practice focused and relevant to your child’s skills and development, while also setting up your child for further learning, growth, and success.

A word of the year

For one of our ESMA families, Amber Riggs picks a “word of the year.” Amber uses this word to guide her 4 children in practice, education, and other parts of their lives. Here’s what Amber has to say about how having a word of the year has helped her family:

“As a homeschool mom, I’m always looking for ways to keep my kids (ages 8, 6, 4, and 1) motivated. Last year they said that they really wanted a trophy. I liked the idea of being able to earn a trophy for something other than athletic accomplishments, but I really liked the idea of making it something meaningful that they had to work hard for. Therefore, a Diligence Trophy was promised to kids who demonstrated that they could “start fast, work hard, and finish strong,” and “Diligence” became our word of the year. That word helped us all through a lot of frustrating situations.

“This year’s word is “Perseverance”, and it is music to my ears to hear the chanting of ‘I am perseverant! I can do it—even when it’s tough!” Small rewards keep them saying it, but they know that if they can live it out this year then another trophy is coming. We sometimes reach points where we just don’t feel like pushing ourselves. It can be tough to finish that page of math! It can be hard work to get your fingers to go where they need to go on the violin! Not to mention being the parent trying to facilitate these activities! But that’s where all of that chanting pays off: “You are perseverant!” I tell them. “Yes”, they reply, “I can do it—even when it’s tough!”

How to pick a practice word

You can put this to work in your family too:

  1. Either you can pick a word, or you can make it something you choose together as a family.
  2. What is a challenge, skill, or value that you are working on with your kids?
  3. How does the word relate to you practice?

Your word doesn’t have to be for a whole year, either. Maybe it’s something you do for a month or a few months, depending on its effectiveness.

Ideas for potential practice words

Trying to think of what your practice word might be? Talk it over with your kids, and here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Diligence
  • Perseverance
  • Try
  • Capable
  • Confident
  • Success
  • Strive
  • Nurture
  • Learning
  • Intuition
  • Cooperation
  • Inspire

What will be your family’s word?




Bead chain practice challenge

Jodie is also earning beads for her 100 Day Practice Challenge!

Jodie is also earning beads for her 100 Day Practice Challenge!

ESMA’s 100 day practice challenge

Students aren’t the only ones who need regular practice—teachers need it too. I recently started a #100DayPracticeChallenge with some fellow Suzuki teachers. It’s simple: practice 100 days in a row.

And you know what? That’s something I’ve (surprisingly) never done.

As I was preparing for the challenge, I realized that it was something the entire studio could share. A practice challenge—whether it’s 7 days, 30 days, a 100 days, whatever—is a great way to encourage practice, inspire learning, and get back into a good practice groove after a break (such as summer or the holidays).

My whole studio is now counting up to 100 days of practice. Some students are doing 100 days in a row like I am, and other students are just counting each day they practice.

How do you keep track of practice? Bead chains!

Each participating student has their own bead chain hanging in the studio's welcome room

Each participating student has their own bead chain hanging in the studio’s welcome room.

To help each of us keep track of our practice progress, I’ve set up bead chains in the welcome room at the entrance to the studio. The chains are simple—just a length of string with a name tag at one end, and a loop tied at the other end for hanging on a small hook. (I’ve hung these pretty high so our Little Notes babies and toddlers can’t get them.)

When a student comes in for their weekly lesson, we go over how many days they practiced during the week since their previous lesson. At the beginning of their lesson, the student picks out their new beads.

Practice challenge bead jars and name tags

Practice challenge bead jars and name tags

For days 1-4 that they’ve practiced over the past week, they get a round bed. For days 5-7, they get special star beads. After we finish the lesson, the student strings on their new beads as they leave the studio for a new practice week.

What happens when I get to 100?

First, congratulate yourself! You made it. If you’ve been keeping notes, take time to look at the progress you made in 100 days. Or take a short video every 10 days of what you’ve been working on. Too often, we are putting in hard work and it’s hard to see the progress. Celebrating those successes can be a huge motivator.

For our studio, we’ll be celebrating our 100 days of practice with a party in April after Spring Break. There will be prizes for anyone who does 100 days in a row as well as for the first 5 students to reach 100.

If you haven’t started your practice challenge yet, let’s talk about it in your next lesson! As for me, I have a bead to earn—time to practice!




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