by Elizabeth Gergel
“To make a resolution and act accordingly is to live with hope. There may be difficulties and hardships, but not disappointment or despair if you follow the path steadily. Do not hurry. This is a fundamental rule. If you hurry and collapse or tumble down, nothing is achieved. Do not rest in your efforts; this is another fundamental rule. Without stopping, without haste, carefully taking a step at a time forward will surely get you there.” – Dr. Suzuki
The dawn of 2017 offers us the opportunity to have a fresh start and make resolutions that we hope to follow in the new year. Many of us will boldly make statements such as “I’m going to help my child to practice one hour every single day,” or “I vow to write in a journal every day of 2017.”
I encourage you to take a step back from such lofty goals. Let us take this opportunity to set attainable goals instead.
Perhaps the most important aspect of providing your child with music lessons is the gift of the playing of beautiful music. Remember to congratulate yourself each day for this—no matter whether you practiced for the intended 60 minutes… or the unintended zero minutes of practice.
An attainable goal for this year could be to listen to the Suzuki book recording more frequently.
Find ways to incorporate listening into your daily routine, whether it be while making dinner, bathtime, running errands, etc. There have been countless times in my teaching experience when I ask a student how many times she listened to the recording of her current book in the week leading up to the lesson, and I receive a less than desirable response. None. Once or twice.
Listening is perhaps the easiest and the best way for your child to learn their music.
As Dr. Suzuki emphasized in the quotation at the top of this Practice Corner, make a small, reasonable—and most importantly—attainable goal. This will do much more to further growth than far-reaching unrealistic goals. I also have to commit to listening to my repertoire more. It is easy to overlook creating the time and the space for listening. In our ever more hectic lives it becomes increasingly important to carve out a place for the activities that are more “quiet” and peaceful.
So this year, step back from the lofty and focus on the attainable. It’s a New Year’s resolution you can keep.