Skip to main content

The Eternal Student

We never stop learning.

Students will often ask me how many Suzuki books there are.  I'll tell them there are ten violin books.  And then they'll follow it up by asking something along the lines of what happens after book ten (like it's stopping point or something).  I tell them I've been playing for over twenty years and I still don't know every piece there is to know on the violin.

I think the fact that you can study it your whole life and still only scratch the surface is one of the coolest aspects of music.  You could even play a single piece your whole life and still find ways to perform it more beautifully.

Therein lies a difficult lesson.  There is a very thin but important line between being proud of your accomplishments yet always striving for more.  Perfection is both an unwanted and unreasonable goal.  It's impossible to play a piece perfectly.  Even if you were a robot and hit every note with mechanical accuracy, the piece would lack emotional depth.

But it is important to have the internal standard of always striving for more.  Wanting to make something better or wanting to push yourself to higher levels is completely different from demanding perfection.  We cannot grow if we do not demand more of ourselves.

Which means that we should always be proud of our accomplishments.  We cannot be where we are now without having accomplished certain things in the past.  Everyone needs to work through a Twinkle at some point.  And when we perform a piece, it's an accomplishment to know that we are performing that piece as best we can right now.

However, a performance is not a stopping point.  We don't just stop learning.  The desire to improve should always be there so that way the next performance will be even better.


Popular posts from this blog

Principles of Sowing and Reaping for the Suzuki Parent: 5 Steps to Beginning Suzuki Success by Preparing the Soil

Last school year, I started a group of 4-5 year old students in a pre-twinkle cello class. One mother actively ignited her daughter Ella’s interest in the cello before enrolling in the program. Over the course of a few months, she helped Ella prepare to engage in a new learning process. They observed lessons, listened to cello music, talked about the cello, and actively built Ella’s excitement - all before starting lessons.

This experience allowed me to see how much a parent can cultivate their child’s interest, motivation, and readiness. It gave me a new appreciation for the parents’ role in preparing young children for a positive Suzuki experience.

Here are five ways to prepare the soil to help your child succeed in a Suzuki experience.

1. Build Your Knowledge

Parents are integral to the success of the Suzuki process. If you start a young child in a Suzuki program, your role as a parent will be very active. Your knowledge and education about the Suzuki method and philosophy helps y…

The Private Teaching Business Model

Over my years of teaching I've come across a wide variety of interpretations about the private teaching business model.  I feel that this is a natural result of the type of society we live in.  Many services these days are either "subscriptions" or "appointments."  For example, a gym membership is a subscription.  You pay a monthly fee to use the facility at any time during their hours of operation.  A doctor's visit or a haircut is an "appointment."  You call ahead to set up a time, you show up and then pay after the services have concluded.

With most services falling into one of these two categories, most people try to rationalize music lessons as one or the other.  However, music lessons are neither subscriptions or appointments.  They are actually a combination of both if the business entity is going to be successful.

The reasons why this hybrid business model occurs are:

1)  The service itself is centered around personal attention (appointmen…

Martial Arts and Music

I remember a few years ago I was having a conversation with one of my adult students about martial arts and music.  I always looked forward to my conversations with this student because she happened to be a fabulous Montessori teacher and founded what ended up being one of the biggest Montessori schools here in San Diego.  So she was this wealth of knowledge and it was such a privilege for me to be able to "pick her brain" from time to time.

Going back to the conversation, she observed that music and martial arts work really well together because they both required the same type of focus.  I have practiced martial arts for almost ten years so this is an opinion I have had for a long time but it surprised me to hear it coming from someone else.

Both music and martial arts revolve around the idea of a focused body and mind.  Teaching an extremely young student how to keep their instrument in place for one Twinkle is more mental training rather than physical.  Holding a light …