Practice Corner: Self-Efficacy

Are you familiar with the concept of self-efficacy?

Self-efficacy is similar to self-esteem, but is slightly different and not as well known. Self-efficacy is when someone believes in their ability to reach goals and execute behaviors. It is directly tied with one of our important Suzuki concepts that success builds success. Children have high self-efficacy when they believe they are good at something, which is the key component to motivation.

So what are some ways we can promote self-efficacy? Often it’s as simple as letting them explore music with their own unique ideas. We often get so focused on the sequence of repertoire, that we forget to incorporate other elements of music into our daily practice.

  • Watch your child discover the next note of a piece. There may be a lot of trial and error. There is a fine balance between frustration and discovery, so watch for signs of needing help. When help is needed, instead of giving the answer, try to discover it together by asking questions.
  • Explore making instruments. See what homemade instruments your child can put together. Almost anything can make sound. Make sure to follow your child’s lead. What family of instruments is it in? Can your child play their violin while you accompany them on the new instrument.
  • Listen to different types of music together. Let your child pick out a new type of music to explore together. Listening is not limited to the Suzuki CD.
  • Believe in your child’s ability. Having the support of your parent is one of the most powerful tools. Every child can learn.
  • Ask lots of questions. Most likely your child knows how to make a good bow hold, let them show you instead. If something is hard, let them come up with a practice exercise to fix it. They may have a fantastic game in mind.
  • Try to learn from your child. I often get some of the best ideas from the student themselves. When they have a great idea, make sure to highlight how successful it was.
  • When working together, highlight what went well first, then what needs to be worked on. There is always something that went well. Knowing that not everything needs to be worked on can help bolster motivation.

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