Happy November! With all of the upcoming holidays and events, I hope everyone is staying motivated!

November Group Class

November at the Gillespie County Courthouse Gazebo 11:30 p.m. & 12:15 p.m.
Weather permitting, large group ensembles classes will be held for students at the gazebo near the court house in Fredericksburg.
(Alternate location may be used due to weather or other conflict.)
Ages 3-7 at 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Ages 8 and up 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

If you can’t make it, it’s okay! These are not required, but should be fun for those who can make it!

November Performances
Individual recital pieces will be played November 20, 2010 at 3 p.m. at the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. All students who have something prepared should play. I will accompany most of the students so there will be no need for most of you to pay an accompanist.

November Rescheduling for Thanksgiving
Lessons scheduled for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving will be rescheduled if possible. Possible dates are the Wednesday, November 24 during the day or Sunday beginning at noon. Please let me know if there is a time we can reschedule each student for a 30 minute private lesson. I will be traveling that Thursday, Friday and Saturday!

Suzuki Strings Method: Q & A

What is the Suzuki Method? The Suzuki Method is a way of training children with positive reinforcement utilizing the parent, student and teacher triangle. The Suzuki Method can be applied to any subject, but Dr. Shinichi Suzuki developed it originally for teaching violin. He also thought students should learn music the same way they learn their “mother tongue.” We become fluent in a language before we learn to read. Initially, music students of the Suzuki method learn to “speak” the language of music before they learn to read music on a page.

What do you mean by “positive reinforcement?” Being positive doesn’t mean to tell the student they are good at something even when it’s not good. You must give specific praise and give feedback that will help them get better. Sometimes the biggest compliment I can give is regarding the level of concentration, posture or bow grip.

Why do some Suzuki teachers play so many games with the students? With beginner students, Suzuki teachers play a lot of games to help making the basics of playing more fun. As we progress further into the musical process, playing the violin IS the game. There are still games we can play while we do it, but as we are able to play more, the violin becomes the object of the game.

Should I attend my child’s lesson? Yes, yes, and yes. Even with older students, attendance at the lesson shows the child that you are interested enough in what they are doing that you will make time out of your day to help them at their lesson. At the lesson, you can take notes and observe so that if the child has trouble remembering what to practice, you can help at home. I recommend that the parent attends until the child can drive themselves to the lesson. Those students whose parents faithfully attend lessons tend to progress more quickly. I think it gives you more bang for your buck.

What do you mean by “daily” practice?
It is very important to make sure the student plays the instrument EVERY day. I think it is very difficult to practice every day, but the sooner that habit is established, the easier it will be. Children have other duties they must perform each day. Playing the violin can be on that list. That is the kind of commitment it takes to become successful at anything in life, especially playing music.

What is the end goal of Suzuki Violin Lessons?
The end goal of Suzuki Violin Lessons is to allow students to be successful at playing an instrument to the level that they desire. By learning this skill, they will have learned a kind of discipline that will transfer over into many different areas of life.

I look forward to a wonderful November. See you at your next lesson!