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Suzuki Early Childhood Education Skills

Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) can best be described as a "musical readiness" class.  While parent-child bonding certainly takes place, the goals differ from a typical "mommy and me" style of class.  Each activity is designed to not only develop life skills but to also prepare the child for lessons on a musical instrument.

As an example, each class begins with ball rolling.  Music is played softly in the background while the children take turns rolling the ball to each other with parental help when necessary.  This is such a simple activity that, on the surface, could be seen as just a social icebreaker--not that these are ever bad to practice!

But on a deeper level consider all the skills a child must develop just to pass that ball casually around the circle:

-Waiting your turn
-Hand/eye coordination
-Responding appropriately when music is cued (ball passing stops when music stops)
-Intense focus during a prescribed period of time (pass the ball during mu…
Recent posts

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

Quick (but informative!) summary/review of The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.  Link to read the full book here.

Is My Baby Too Young for Baby Music Class?

This is a question that often gets asked or, more commonly, "My baby can't even walk yet!  What could he possibly get out of a music class?  Shouldn't we wait until he can do more things?"

The short answer: the earlier you start, the better!

The long answer:

While the nature of this question is completely understandable, it is flawed logic.  It would be like asking, "Well, shouldn't we wait before she can read more words before reading books?" or "Shouldn't we wait until he can take more steps before we can try walking?"

I make this point not to sound snarky.  As I said, it is completely understandable why parents should ask this question.  You paid money for the music class and all your child is doing is sitting there, or maybe even crying through the whole session!  My point is to underscore the fact that children--especially babies--learn by observing and then by doing.  Presenting the book to the child and letting her flip the pages...…

Muscle Mechanics for String Players

I am pleased to announce that my latest short ebook manual is now live and available for purchase!

Muscle Mechanics for String Players: Achieving Proper Control While Playing a Stringed Instrument is a brief overview of muscle function and how these functions apply to a musician's body. Includes suggestions--with pictures--for stretches that will help prevent musical injuries.

This work was a collaborative effort with Dr. Mark Gomez. Dr. Gomez is an expert in the field of biomechanics. He started working in the field in 1977 and has conducted extensive research, published books and given lectures and seminars in the area of biomechanics.
This booklet is up for sale at most major ebook retailers.  Amazon link here.

Suzuki Early Childhood Program

Flexibility Over Correctness

The goal of any music teacher should not be to train a batch of perfect robots.  As tempting as it is to think that if we just went to enough training or read enough manuals we could formula the perfect system that cracks out perfect musicians every time.  Unfortunately, this is not possible.  Because we are human and we are working with other humans.  And the only consistent thing we can count on is that humans change over time.

Consider a young student just starting out on the violin.  Even IF you managed to get this four-year-old to have a flawless bow hold due to diligent practicing, this bow hold cannot possibly remain the same.  This four-year-old will eventually turn five.  He's going to get taller, his arm length will change, he will eventually need a different sized instrument, and, even if none of this happens, his bow hold will change regardless as he gets more comfortable holding it.  The way you hold and pen to sign your name is not the same way you held a crayon when…