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Suzuki Faculty Meeting

March 19, 2014

by Kamini LaRusso LaRusso.Kamini@MacPhail.org

On  Tuesday, March 4, 2014, Suzuki Violin Teacher, Susan Crawford, presented her ideas on working with older students who practice independently.  She mentioned that teachers often tell students what to do, rather than teaching the student to self reflect. Susan's system develops an objective observer, that is the student has to analyze and listen in the moment to what they have just played. Susan shared her routine of developing the Objective Observer in her students via five pieces of a pie (tone, rhythm, intonation, expression(subjective and objective).  

Susan and the student identify a measure or spot in the piece.  The student plays the snippet, and then reflects on what was the strongest piece of the pie, and what was the weakest point of the pie. The student is commenting on their performance in the moment, and self reflecting on what was strong/weak, and then marks a tally on a piece of paper with these categories. 

Once a few tally marks have added up on the paper, they stop and focus on the weak point and identify ways to enhance that piece of the pie through use of imagery, color, posture, etc.  This is a great strategy to engage students to listen in the moment to the whole of the music they are producing.


Suzuki Guitar Teacher, Jean Seils, talked about ideas for working with younger students.  Jean shared numerous ways to teach parents how to play/engage with their child during home practice, and for teachers to use in lessons and group classes.

For example, using a small bowling ball kit, students and parents can identify a goal for the practice point - good tone on the 2nd finger - and each time the student performs this, they can add a bowling pin - the kit includes 10 bowling pins.  This helps the student focus on the goal, and listen for the tone.  Once the 10 pins are set up on the floor, the student can take a bonus turn and use the bowling ball to try and strike down the pins.  It is a successful way to engage the learner and also have a little fun.  Little games like this can be purchased at Target in the dollar section or at the Dollar Store.

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