Skip to main content

Logical Cause and Effect

I love games of all sort.  Computer games, console games, board games... you name it.  I've talked about disc golf a lot on this blog.  Part of the appeal of that sport for me is that it feels game-like.  You have to strategize about your shot and you get to throw brightly colored plastic (just like dice).  I grew up playing games but it wasn't until I started teaching that I appreciated everything games can teach, specifically board games.

The best thing about games--and I've mentioned this in many blog posts--is that they create a neutral party.  Even if it is you versus another person, that competition is still within the confines of the game's rules.  So even if we don't realize it this redirects a lot of frustration.  In the practicing environment this is invaluable.  Telling a child to do twenty repetitions is demanding.  Rolling a twenty on a dice leads to a good-natured groan followed by the challenge of trying to actually do something twenty times.

But there are other hidden skills we learn as well from playing board games.  Good practicing often boils down to having a plan and strategizing about how best to break down a particular problem.  While board games don't necessarily teach you how to break down the mechanical skills required to play an instrument, they do teach you logical cause and effect.

To me, logic is not a skill that is emphasized in the school systems.  Test taking is usually about deduction.  There are four answers and you narrow down which is the most correct.  Math teaches you how to think sequentially but lacks the variables of every day life.  Students will be taught algebra and then are assigned homework that forced them to solve the same formula a bunch of times.

This is why board games are so useful when it comes to developing practice skills.  A board game presents you with a challenge, you must decide on a strategy for facing the challenge and then you get to see the result of that strategy choice in a comparatively short space of time.  You choose to spend all your money early in the game, which means you have none left during the later parts of the game.  Was that a good choice or a bad choice?

You can see why this is a useful skill for a young music student, especially as she begins to ride that line between intermediate and advanced repertoire.  She already knows how to read music.  She already knows how to listen to music.  She has already been shown how to play all the tricky sections.  So it is now up to her to ask herself how to put all these pieces together and figure out the easier parts she has not been shown exactly how to play.

To me, that willingness to form strategy and apply it to the instrument is big turning point for a student.  It is the difference between dependence and independence.


Comments

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…

Interview with Dorothy Jones on Suzuki Early Childhood Education

Welcome to Rethinking Genius, Dorothy! Please introduce yourself and give a us a little background on your history with the Suzuki Method.

I am a Suzuki specialist in Early Childhood Education.  I founded a Suzuki School in London Ontario Canada. In 1993, the ISA approved my program in Early Childhood Education and designated my school as a world Teacher Training Centre.

Past President of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) past board member of the ISA, I was a founding member of the Board of the Suzuki Association of Ontario and served as President of that organization. I have been a Suzuki parent, Piano Teacher Trainer and keynote speaker at conferences and workshops around the world for over 41 years. I am recognized as a Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) teacher trainer in the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), the European Suzuki Association (ESA) and the Pan Pacific Suzuki Association (PPSA).


Explain to us what Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) classe…

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…