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Suzuki Early Childhood Program

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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…

"Why is why so important?" William Fitzpatrick at TEDx

William "Billy" Fitzpatrick  violinist -- educator 
"Process. Life is a process. Process is from birth to death. It's about how you conduct that process, not about 'will I be successful' or 'will I be famous' or 'will I be rich?' Those are irrelevant to the process. If you are clear in doing the process well, if those things happen, that's just the way it is." 
William has had a truly remarkable career, having graduated from the Juilliard School of Music, been first violinist of the New York String Quartet, and served as the director of Chamber Music at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France. 
His musical experiences throughout Europe, Japan and the United States have led him to positions as conductor of the Nashville Chamber and Symphony Orchestras to conductor (and founder) of L'ensemble des Deux Mondes in France, and collaborations with l'Orchestre Symphonique Francaise and The American Symphony Orchestra of N…

Review of Let's Play Violin

I was contacted by the company nSpireMe to conduct a review on a new app called "Let's Play Violin."  I'd like to preface that this review is coming from the perspective of a Suzuki teacher.  So the pros and cons that I go over will be from the viewpoint of that particular approach to teaching rather than, say, a teacher leading large school classes.

At first glance the app does a good job of conveying a cute, game-like quality to practicing.  There's a
a monkey that gives you helpful tips and a 90 second tutorial will give you all the basics you need to know.  I noticed that there was a built-in tuner so I decided to start with that.  Suzuki students generally start lessons at a very young age so the parents are the ones in charge of tuning the instrument for quite some time.  What I liked about the tuner was that it not only registered if the string was flat or sharp but also showed you which way to turn your tuners to fix it.  This would be extremely helpful f…

Registration for the 2019 San Diego Suzuki Institute is now open!

Hard to believe that we are already in our third year!  Early bird registration is now open for SDSI's 2019 session.  This will be our biggest year yet with lots of new class options.

Here is a sneak preview for 2019 offerings:

+Every Child Can (ECC)
-introduction to Suzuki philosophy, prerequisite for all training

+Violin Unit 1 with Cathy Lee
-amazing chance to work with a world-class violin pedagogue

+Cello Unit 2 with Alice Ann O’Neill*
-one of the best in the cello biz
*Cello Unit 1 is being offered at LA Institute this year; timing is such that you can do both!

+Supplemental Viola repertoire for intermediate students with Elizabeth (Betsy) Steuen-Walker
-Betsy specializes in the rare field of viola pedagogy

+Teaching Alternative Styles—from improvisation to rock n’ roll—to Suzuki students with Avi Friedlander
-Avi is a highly sought-after clinician who integrates jazz/pop/rock into his classical Suzuki teaching

+Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Stage 1 with Danette Schuch*

The Illusion of Mastery

Dr. Molly Gebrian touched on a concept called "the illusion of mastery" in her Rethinking Genius interview.  Basically, it's what psychologists call it when you do something over and over again, giving yourself a false sense of mastery.

Wait... if you do something over and over again, shouldn't it be mastered?

Well, not always.

The true test of mastery is internalization.  If you're still having to follow the directions for how to make chicken, you haven't mastered chicken cooking.  Mastery means that you've cooked chicken so many times you're no longer worried about the basics.  It also means that you are confident enough in those basics that you are able to add extra elements with some degree of certainty.  For example, you know how the chicken should be cooked even after adding a sauce or extra seasoning.

In other words: you can complete the task under pressure.

The physical and psychological leap from the practice room to the stage is the biggest …