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Monday, August 29, 2011

Quick Practice Tip: Think-Throughs

Before beginning a practice session, a performance, or any other endeavor, I believe your student will have greater success if he or she makes use of the "think-through."

A think-through is a mental thinking through of the steps that you will take in order to meet your goal. Basically the think-through is your goal, or it should be. Here is an example.

Before playing through a section of Bach's Gavotte in Book 5, I asked my young student Elliott what he needed to remember while he was working through the section. Elliott indicated a few spots in the music where he wanted to be careful to play correct notes, and he also wanted to maintain his bow hold throughout the entire section. After playing the section, I asked Elliott to evaluate how he accomplished his think-through. In this case, Elliott met each of his think-through goals. We then decided to move on to the next section and repeat the think-through process, but in this section, Elliott had a different think-through. Here he was more concerned about following a particular bowing pattern and not bumping the wrong strings and making extraneous noise with his bow, as well as maintain his bow hold throughout the piece.

As a teacher, I was delighted to watch Elliott engage in this think-through process. A young boy, Elliott is more inclined to rush through his practices and play all of his music as fast as he can: (1) because it is fun to play fast, and (2) because faster means shorter practices (at least, he thinks that practices will be shorter until his mom reminds him about the metronome). When Elliott relies on the think-through system, Elliott's practices are more thoughtful, he is more present and aware of what he is doing, and he tends to pick much more reasonable tempos that allow him to complete his work successfully. As a student, I think Elliott enjoys the think-throughs because it puts him more "in charge" of what he is doing, and Elliott enjoys the feeling of being "in charge."

Next time you practice, pick a section to work on, give it a "think-through," and then evaluate your efforts at the end. I think you will be surprised at what you will accomplish and learn using this quick practice tip.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Monday Morning Check In: Look in the Mirror

Napoleon Hill tells a story of a homeless, destitute man who visits Hill's office one day. The man tells an interesting story of how he had once been a successful businessman, but then had fallen on hard times and been divorced from his wife. The man approached Napoleon Hill to ask him for help to save his life. Mr. Hill bought the man breakfast and listened to the man's story.

"Not once did he blame anyone for his condition but himself. That was a sign in his favor and one that gave me my cue as to how I could help him," Mr. Hill later recounts in his book, A Year of Growing Rich. Mr. Hill noted that the man never blamed others for his predicament and spoke of his former wife in a respectful manner.

Mr. Hill then went on to tell the man, "I'm sorry to tell you that after hearing your story, there is not one thing I can do to help you! But, I know a man who can help you if he will do it. He is in this building right now, and I will introduce you to him if you wish me to do so."

At that point Mr. Hill led the man into another room and stood the man before a full-length mirror.

"There is the man who can help you," Mr. Hill pointed at the man's reflection. "He is the only man who can do it, and until you become better acquainted with him and learn to depend upon him, you will not find your way out of your present unfortunate condition."

The story has a happy ending, of course. The man goes on to turn his life around, get a job, and then work his way up in his former profession until he reaches a position similar to that of his former life. But, the story outcome is not the point I wanted to make. I wanted to illustrate how important it is that we take that "look in the mirror" from time to time, and preferably on a frequent basis. We have everything we need for our growth already inside of ourselves if we are willing to take the look we need and to trust the answers we give. Toward that end, I would like to suggest two tools that I recommend as being highly useful to give you that "look in the mirror."

Morning Pages

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way and several other books and projects about creativity and writing, advocates the use of morning pages. These pages consist of three pages written in longhand and completed preferably first thing in the morning. The pages can be about anything we want them to be. They can be stream of consciousness, prayers, meditations, poetry, prose, or whatever calls to us at the moment. I often make lists of my thoughts or things that I need to accomplish. Ms. Cameron also refers to morning pages as "brain drain," which more effectively describes the effect morning pages have on me.

The beauty of morning pages and brain drain is that we can make them our opportunity to "look in the mirror." We can freely admit what is working in our lives and what we need to eliminate. We can express anger and longing and work out our problems on the page. Morning pages help us to order our thoughts by allowing us to look at where we are at the moment we write our thoughts and, at the same time, where we want to be. The gap we create on the morning pages between where we are and where we want to be is brought into the light, and we can address our attention to closing the gap.

Themes emerge as we become more aware of our thoughts and our thought patterns. The same problems or complaints crop up, and morning pages will nudge us to begin coming up with solutions. I have come up with some of my greatest ideas and best advice to myself during my morning pages time. I have even written a sticky note about a topic or problem that I wanted to "think about" later. I stuck the sticky note inside my morning pages book so that I would come across it the next day during my morning pages time of reflection.

Lessons Learned Journal

I heard this idea recently from the Quick and Dirty Tips Get-it-Done Guy Stever Robbins of the podcast of the same name. In Stever's new book, Get-It-Done Guy's 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More, he suggests that we maintain a "lessons learned" journal. Every day, preferably at the end of the day, Stever advises us to look back on the day and note what lessons we have learned. In Stever's case, he even goes so far as to maintain a spreadsheet of his learned lessons so that he can quickly find the information again if he needs it.

These life lessons can be about anyone and any topic. Topics will lend themselves to categories over time, and categories can be indexed easily. Life lessons are more than just diary entries. They are quick summaries of more universal statements of lessons gleaned from the day's experiences.

I use plain old composition books for my morning pages. At this time of year, I can buy a box of composition books at a very low price, so I stock up for the year.

So, my Morning Morning Check In suggestion is to make use of these tools as bookends to your day. Write morning pages when first arising in the morning and finish the day with a quick dash about a life lesson you learned that day. With these tools you will "look in the mirror" and build or deconstruct your life in order to recreate a life worth living.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Love Etude!

I feel like writing about Etude today. Etude is the twelfth song in Suzuki Violin book 1. It is in G major and it is a never-ending series of eighth notes from the beginning until the end with a variation in 16th notes.

When preparing to teach any piece, I remember that Dr. Suzuki's mantra was: "Finger, Bow, Go!" To me this translates into left hand skills, right hand skills, and then creating ways to pull it all together. Here is my breakdown of the skills introduced by this Suzuki song.

Left Hand Skills:
  • Close 1-2 finger pattern on the A and E strings while continuing the close 2-3 finger pattern on the D and G strings.
  • G major 2-octave scale.
  • Reinforcement of the 1-3 spatial finger pattern learned in Song of the Wind (#2, book 1) (fig.1 below).
  • Expansion of the 1-3 spatial finger pattern across the strings; for example, in measure 8 (at the end of the 2nd phrase) (fig. 2), similar to the "jumping finger pattern" from Song of the Wind (#3, book 1):
fig.1
fig.2

    Right Hand Skills:
    • Clean string crossings with no dirty sound between the notes.
    • Playing a lower string with a good "catched" upbow; notice that most string crossings in Etude involve going to the D string on an up bow; except for the last D string of the song, every other D string is on an up bow.
    • Playing on four (of the 7 basic) string levels: G-D-A-E strings.
    • Good crisp beginnings to staccato notes.
    • Solid forearm motion in the square of the arm for the détaché bowing on the variation; in the variation, the "catched" bows on the lower string level will be on down bows throughout the piece.
    Challenges:
    • Helping the student and parent to learn and memorize the piece.
    • Helping the student and parent to understand the form of the piece (A-A1-B-A2).
    • Coordinating the fingers and the bow on the string crossings.
    • Coordinating the fingers and the bow so that the bow does not "slurp" the fingers as they change pitches.

      My Silly Words:

      These words are a combination of things that I have heard over the years. There is a set of words out there that tells the story of a little girl named Henrietta Poppeletta, and that is where I heard the name. However, the words below are not the same as that other song. I did not have those words at the time I began teaching my first student how to play Etude, so I made something else up. At another time, a parent mentioned drawing a huge lake on a plastic picnic tablecloth, and that gave me the idea of coming up with a set of flashcards that guided the student in a large circle around an imaginary lake. The game seemed to interest enough students that it became my teaching method for Etude for those students for whom I actually have to teach the song.

      Henrietta Poppeletta goes around the lake
      1 time she goes, 2 times she goes, 3 times she goes around the lake
      3 step stones

      Henrietta Poppeletta goes around the lake
      1 time she goes, 2 times she goes, 3 times she goes around the lake
      the "3" bridge

      Little waterfall she walks beside
      the D bridge
      Bigger waterfall she walks beside
      3 step stones

      Henrietta Poppeletta goes around the lake
      but then she's tired and she goes home!

      How to Teach -- Previews:
      • I start with the 1-octave G scale beginning on the G string and build from there to the 2nd octave (figures 3 and 4):
      fig.3
      fig.4
      • I build facility on the G scale until the student is ultimately able to play four or five 2-octave G scales in a 30-second period of time. Boy do we have fun setting the timer for 30 seconds and then counting the number of times the student can play the entire G scale! I only count those G scales where the student plays the correct finger pattern on the A and E strings (close 1-2 finger pattern).
      • I ask that the parent play the recording of the piece extra times for listening.
      How I Teach Etude:
      • I teach the song in little units or chunks of material and match each chunk to a set of words I made up years ago.
        • I usually present the first four notes repeated one time as "Henrietta Poppeletta":
      Henrietta Poppeletta
        • "Goes around the lake": here I introduce the concept that I refer to as a "turnaround." This is a useful concept for the student to understand, especially when the student starts learning Handel's Bourree in book 2, which has a lot of "turnarounds" at the cadence points. This is an example of what I call a "reverse turnaround" because it immediately reverses direction. The turnarounds in Handel's Bourree in book 2 are what I refer to as basic turnarounds, where the notes go up a scale and then suddenly return to the starting note. Here is the Etude reverse turnaround:
      turnaround
        • "1 time she goes" and so on matches the sequence of notes in the next chunk. I matched my words to the number of times we go (3 times):
      1 time she goes, 2 times she goes, etc.
        • "Around the lake" is a pinkie scale down:
      pinkie scale down
        • "3 step stones" are the 3 notes that transition from part 1 to part 2 (and from part 3 to part 4) of the song:
          • I resisted trying other words that related to repeating the words used in the first part of the song, because the students tended to get confused about the number of times they were to play that 4-note phrase in between parts 1 and 2 (and 3 and 4).
          • The confusion problem I think stems from the fact that just counting the 4-note group three times does not fit the structure of the music, and intuitively the students understand that and become confused.
        • Part 2 is the same as part 1 with a "3 bridge" at the end (note how the 3rd finger "bridges" the first finger):
        3 bridge
        • I teach the waterfalls:
          • Little waterfall starts with 2nd finger on the E string and travels down the G scale until the 2nd finger on the D string.
      little waterfall
          • Big waterfall starts with 3rd finger on the E string and travels down the G scale until the 3rd finger on the D string:
      big waterfall
        • Part 4 starts similarly to parts 1 and 2 but finishes up with a descending scale in G major:
      Etude ending
      • We draw a series of flashcards that represent the various chunks of the song, and we lay the cards in a circle. The student walks around the circle and performs the various units of Etude at each station in the circle.
      • The hardest part of learning this song is the transition between the first and second parts. I labeled these parts "3 step stones" and "the 3 bridge." My student and I play a game where I throw a dice for even or odd numbers, and the student plays "3 step stones" for odd numbers or "3 bridge" for even numbers.
      • As the student improves, we add a new dimension to the circle walk. At each point where a new section begins, the student will switch to the variation for the next section and will continue alternating between the regular Etude and the variation until completing the song.
      • I find the suggestions on www.thepracticeshoppe.com to be helpful regarding new words to learn this song. I might use this practice tool to teach the various units of the song similarly to the way I teach my present song units. I am eager to try this new set of words with my next Etude student!
      Review for Advanced Students:
      • We find opportunities to use third position.
      • We find places to shift to higher positions throughout the piece.
      • We practice spiccato.
      • We practice up bow or down bow staccato for 4 notes, then later 8 notes or the entire phrase.
      • We practice sautillé on the variation.
      Useful Advice (I hope):
      • I do not always have to teach a student how to play Etude. Sometimes the student figures the piece out without my help, and I do not have to use the "circle walk" exercise. Ask the student's parent to play the song many, many times extra during the week between lessons, because I think that this is key for students to have an easier time learning Etude.
      • I find it helpful to set the student up for success before even beginning the learning process steps. I drop hints during earlier songs about "how excited I am that you will be getting to learn Etude soon, since it is one of my favorite pieces and one that is so fun to play! And I just KNOW it is going to be your favorite too. I even think it will be your very best piece that you can play. Ooooh, I can't wait, can you?" Sometimes the parent helps this along by agreeing with me that it is their favorite song to listen to on the CD.
      • I xerox the song and cut it up into strips that match the actual parts of the song. Then I lay the strips in the appropriate order and xerox the finished product. Now the different parts of the song are very clear to see, and my parents understand what the song's format is.
      Group Class Ideas:
      • Set up a line of chairs or traffic cones or some other delineation on the floor across the center of the room (masking tape also works). As you walk around the room playing "Follow the Leader" and weave across and back over the line, change from the regular Etude into the variation depending on which side of the line you find yourself after crossing over the line.
      • Break the song up into chunks and take turns playing it down the line of students. When the students get really good at this game, make the chunks even smaller until ultimately the students can play the entire song by each playing one note apiece.
      • Stop playing suddenly and try to catch students who may not be watching.
      • Slow down (or speed up) while playing to see if the students can follow you.
      • Penguin game: this is a game I made up to help my students refrain from "rushing" or speeding up. We get down on our knees, and we "knee-walk" to each of the notes of the song. To an observer, the class looks very much like a rookery of penguins. This is actually hilarious to watch! FYI, adults do not enjoy participating in this game; it is too hard on our bony knees.
      • Play the hide-n-seek dynamics game: while one student is out of the room, hide a toy in the room; then when the student returns, direct the student to the hidden toy by using louder or softer dynamics to tell the searching student whether he or she is "hot" or "cold" in the direction the student is looking.
      • Advanced students may review the piece in group class by adding the advanced techniques suggested above.
      • Intermediate students might attempt making up an appropriate duet part. There is a Suzuki duet part that corresponds to Etude, but I have several students who have come up with their own accompaniment that matches better the rhythm of the original music.
      • A great review activity is to play the song with a down bow circle for every note. Adjust the tempo accordingly. This is a great activity for students as they progress in maturity because it allows you to note whether students are starting to put too much tension in their shoulders. [see my blog post about releasing tension in the shoulder].
      I think Etude is a wonderful piece, and I review it regularly with my students and for my own personal practice. There are many more advanced skill possibilities to talk about than I have taken the time to discuss here. I enjoy reviewing Etude for my own personal reasons, and I hope that you will enjoy learning and reviewing this song as much as I do.

      Monday, August 22, 2011

      Quick Practice Tip: The Word for this Week is. . .

      My quick practice tip this week is to offer you a word for the week:

      O R G A N I Z E!

      This is the season when a new semester starts. Now is the perfect time to set up the coming semester in a way that will induce good practice habits. How do you go about the task of organizing? I like to use the journalism questions to be sure that I have considered all the possible angles to this issue:


      Who:

      • Who will do the practicing?
      • Which parent will practice with the child?
      • Will the child be practicing independently?
      • Who will be responsible for initiating the practice session?


      What:


      • What is to be practiced?
      • What order should things be practiced?
      • What is the teacher's practice assignment?
      • What other things should be practiced?

      Where:

      • Where will the practice take place?
      • Where is the best place for the student to practice?


      When:


      • When will the practice take place?
      • When is the best time of the day to practice?
      • When will practices take place during the week?

      How:

      • How will practice be organized?
      • How will the practice plan be decided?


      Why:
      I saved this question for last because the word introduces a complex issue.

      • Why am I practicing?
      • Why am I practicing this particular thing?

      These last questions raise the issue of goal-setting. If we are clear about the "why" we do something, then we are more likely to stay motivated and follow through. When we are unclear about where we are headed, we tend to proceed in a more aimless, meandering fashion. We might reach our goal, but we may visit a lot of unnecessary places along the way. There may be appropriate times when we want to do this kind of practice, but in general, I think we are much more productive if we have a map of where we want to go already in place before we set out on our journey.

      Start your week by organizing your thoughts, your equipment, and your practice plan.

      Start today     -----     Start now

      Monday Morning Check In: Today Matters!

      One day is worth two tomorrows; what I am to be I am now becoming. -- Benjamin Franklin

      In our previous discussions about teacher character traits, I have discussed specific desirable and undesirable traits and ways to identify them and strengthen or eliminate them. Today I want to discuss how to structure a game plan to cultivate the kinds of habits, values, or traits that will positively serve us teachers for the rest of our lives.

      I am a big reader. Now that I have an iPad and a Kindle app, I read constantly because of the convenience of syncing my place in my reading material between my iPad and my iPhone. I can read anywhere at anytime and pick up exactly where I left off on all of my electronic devices, and I am giddy as a result of the possibilities.

      Lately I have been reading material written by John C. Maxwell. In his book "Today Matters," John Maxwell writes about 12 daily practices that are important to include and develop in our lives. I would like to summarize the 12 practices here and add briefly the importance of each practice as I have read of them in Maxwell's book.
      • Attitude: choose and display the right attitudes daily because the proper attitude gives you possibilities.
      • Priorities: determine and act on important priorities daily because priorities give you focus.
      • Health: know and follow healthy guidelines daily because good health decisions give you strength.
      • Family: communicate and care for your family daily because good family relationships give you stability.
      • Thinking: practice and develop good thinking daily because right thinking gives you an advantage.
      • Commitment: make and keep proper commitments daily because making commitments gives you tenacity.
      • Finances: earn and properly manage finances daily because good financial management gives you options.
      • Faith: deepen and live out your faith daily because the growth and exercise of your faith give you peace.
      • Relationships: initiate and invest in solid relationships daily because good relationships in your life give you fulfillment.
      • Generosity: plan for and model generosity daily because generosity gives you significance.
      • Values: embrace and practice good values daily because good values give you direction.
      • Growth: desire and experience improvements daily because continued growth gives you potential.
      Maxwell discusses each daily practice in more depth with personal stories from others and lessons that Maxwell  personally learned during his life. At the end of each chapter are a series of workbook questions to guide the reader to identify his or her own decisions concerning the 12 daily practices.

      Maxwell talks about the importance of having a game plan in our life, and I agree with the importance of this step. By game plan, I am referring to a plan for our own personal growth as teachers and individuals to strengthen our roles in a family, a network, and a community. As teachers we have the great potential to influence (or leverage if you will) our knowledge and expertise with students, parents, colleagues, and audience. Our personal growth is a crucial ingredient to what and how we choose to offer our influence and expertise gifts to others.This book is an excellent resource to help guide us to form our own concrete game plan.

      If you have little time to include a more in-depth reading of the book "Today Matters," might I suggest that you get your feet wet with a John C. Maxwell book called "The Maxwell Daily Reader." This book sets out short daily readings about various topics that include many of the same topics addressed in the book I have reviewed here. I have enjoyed the daily reader and am fascinated that I can still be surprised each day when I open up to the assigned reading for that day and find that the topic is one that I sorely need at that very moment! The daily readings have certainly helped me to redirect my focus in much healthier and more positive ways, and the book "Today Matters" has guided me to focus on a concrete game plan to shore up my weak character areas.

      Every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and . . . therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has some day to cry aloud on the housetop. -- Oscar Wilde

      Saturday, August 20, 2011

      Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

      Never is there a good time for a teacher-student relationship to end, but right now there is a new school year beginning for many of the Western world, and folks may be contemplating a change in teachers. Now might be a good time to discuss this important issue and ways to minimize the emotional damage for the parent, the student, and especially the teacher. I may focus on the parent's perspective more than the teacher's here because in my experience the parent is usually the quickest to end the teaching-learning relationship. Sometimes a parent is unaware of the teacher's emotional connection; teachers often hang onto a teaching relationship longer than they should because of the tremendous amount of emotional investment the teacher has made.

      Teachers will share with you that the relationship with a student is a very personal one. In order to be an effective and influential teacher, the teacher must give something of him- or herself. A good teacher does not just give instructions, advice, and directions. A good teacher addresses the whole personality of the student and mentally prepares a program that will encourage, strengthen, and nurture the student to reach his or her greatest potential. There may be some teachers who fall short of that mark or who may not be the best fit in a particular student situation, but I believe that most teachers would agree with me about our purpose as good teachers.

      How does one break up this teacher-student relationship and in many cases the teacher-parent relationship? There are several perspectives to consider since there are three persons involved in the relationship (sometimes more than three if other family members are involved). The typical teaching-learning relationship will include the teacher, the student, and the parent. In the Suzuki world this is referred to as the Suzuki Triangle. Each point of the triangle is important to the growth and potential of the learning situation. If one person along the point of the triangle is not doing his or her "job," the shape of the triangle will be "altered" in a way that is detrimental to the student's continued learning success. The most optimum teaching-learning environment is one in which each point of the triangle is at its strongest.

      Each part of the triangle is important:
      • The teacher's responsibility is to teach the parent how to be an effective teacher or coach on the home front during the student's home practices. The teacher also teaches the student all the technical aspects of making a good sound on the instrument and of effectively expressing a musical idea or emotion. The teacher has typically attended many institutions of higher learning and taken many different levels of teacher training in order to be effective in this aspect of teaching.
      • The parent's job is to teach the child at home in the teacher's stead. The parent is responsible for playing the listening assignments and for practicing the assigned homework material. In addition, the parent assists the child in learning a new piece (fingerings and bowing) and in practicing effectively.
      • The child's job is to simply be a child. We allow the child to attend to his or her learning through the child's senses, at the child's optimum pace, within the framework of the child's ability to concentrate, and helping the child achieve skill development through effective review and repetition as the child focuses on one thing at a time. [Thank you, Jeanne Luedke for your excellent teaching on this subject!]
      At some point in the process, the distinctions between the various triangle roles disappear and the parties take on added or different roles. The teacher strives to guide the student to be his or her teacher in many respects as the student reaches the advanced stages of musical development. The parent fulfills the role of a coach and fan and functions more in the realm of waving flags and shouting hoorays from the balcony. And the student assumes more and more responsibility for making and implementing his or her own decisions about expressing musical ideas and what technical means to use to accomplish the best expression of those musical ideas.

      All of my discussion to this point is to help others understand how involved everyone becomes in the process. The longer the relationship has gone on, the deeper the relationships and emotional connections. When a parent, teacher, or student makes the decision to break the connection, there will be emotional upheaval and hurt, and sometimes anger as a way to express the hurt. In many situations, the teacher will emotionally grieve the loss of the relationship, and the student will feel abandoned, even if the teacher is not the reason for the breakup. The student will be watching the adults and how they handle the situation, so be aware of the role you choose to play in the scenario. Remember, as teachers and parents, we are always role modeling for the child how the child should behave as an adult. Please be responsible in your behavior and show the child what is the mature way to handle this type of situation.

      Here are some of my suggestions for ending the relationship in a positive way:

      Acknowledge the past history in a positive way.  Avoid complaining. Avoid blaming. Avoid any negativity. Recount the history of your relationship together with gratitude and joy. There is no benefit to  giving criticism and making judgments other than to puff yourself up, even if you are correct in your assessment. Your child is watching to see how you handle this situation, so please consider the kind of behavior and message that you wish to reveal and have your child learn from observing you.

      Avoid pointing fingers of blame for your decision. If the parent is ending the relationship, please avoid accusing the teacher of falling short in some way. Just stay focused and positive. Nothing good gets accomplished by being negative or even making nasty remarks. Remember, most new teachers will call the former teacher to get the "whole story." I never enjoyed being put on the spot in that way. I understand that for many people, if there is a nasty breakup, the former teacher may find it difficult to cast the historical information in a positive light. So, take personal responsibility for your choice and state your reasons in a positive, logical (unemotional), and nonaccusatory way. As a teacher, I spend several months and several conversations or emails trying to fortify the relationship and bring everyone back to the same positive teaching-learning environment. When I finally give up, it is because I have finally concluded that I am the only one left in the relationship who cares how it turns out.

      Avoid complaining. Stay upbeat. Do not use the breakup as an opportunity to air your stored grievances. Expressing your complaints now will not change anything or improve the situation for any of the parties in the future. Remember your child is watching to see how you handle this situation, so act well. Pulling out all the kitchen-sink grievances is not an effective demonstration to your child or student of how to handle conflict.

      Allow the other person to "save face." The other person may become upset, but nothing useful will come from an argument. Since it takes two people to make an argument successful, take the higher road and refuse to argue. Just accept the other person's anger and agree with them. The argument will eventually fizzle.

      Apologies are worth extra points. If you can find it in your heart to do this, you can walk away from the situation with a well deserved pat on the back. Accept responsibility for the problem and sprinkle your apologies liberally throughout the conversation. In the words of the famous cinema star Clark Gable, apologize for your shortcomings.

      Thank the teacher for the experience that you had with them. Whether you deem the relationship with the teacher to be worthy of continuing or not, the fact of the matter is that the teacher did invest his or time in the teaching-learning relationship and deserves to be thanked for the time and effort that he or she put forth.

      Next time, do your homework. Choosing a teacher should not be a quick decision. Speak to the teacher, ask the teaching community for recommendations about the teacher, observe the teacher in the teaching-learning environment, and provide your child with an opportunity to interact with the teacher before entering into the new relationship. Many new parents call me and expect me to provide little more than glorified babysitting services. That is not what I do and it certainly is not my purpose in life. I spend a great deal of time honing my teaching skills so that I can provide the greatest service to my students and their parents and families. I expect that my parents and students will enter into the true spirit of the teaching-learning relationship and will not accept them into the studio if I think that I cannot help them to progress along the learning road. Some parents may contact me without doing their homework first, but I make sure that they do it before they embark in a relationship with me and my studio.

      Whatever you do, do it with class. I got this advice when I was a youngster about to quit my first major job in a fit of anger. I heard this advice two hours before I was about to stage a royal blowup. I considered the wisdom of the advice and instead completely reconstructed my resignation plan. I followed all the steps I outlined above. I acknowledged all the persons in the organization by name and listed their contributions to my personal growth in the workplace. I thanked everyone for all that they did to help me on the job or in my growth. I stayed positive and avoided complaining. I did not work up a frothy blame game but instead focused on what I had learned and what value I would take from my work experience and put into my future endeavors. I chose my positive and grateful attitude and expressed it liberally and in a public manner via a memo addressed to all the partner-directors of the organization.

      Let me tell you the benefits I received from taking this "high road" of ending the relationship. My employers and fellow workers made their good-byes with big smiles on their faces (and tears in their eyes in a few cases). I got big bear hugs from some of the top dogs. I got acknowledgment in return for all that I had contributed to the firm. The firm actually sent me a sizable amount of outsource work in the month that followed, which really helped me out financially. And because I showed that I had class, I was included in their recommendations to others.

      Most of all, I felt good about what I had done and the way I had handled it. I felt like a grownup.

      Please show consideration and thoughtful reflection in your relationships, whether it is with your students, your children, the studio parents, or the teacher. Please show some class and professionalism in the manner in which you end a teaching-learning relationship.

      Sunday, August 14, 2011

      Monday Morning Check In: Are You a C, W, or E?

      We have been discussing character traits in teachers the past few weeks. Last week's discussion focused on anger, the after shocks of expressing it, and how we might eliminate anger from our make up. Today, I want to focus on three other character traits.

      I ask my incoming or new university students to identify whether they are a C, a W, or an E. Most people can relate to one of these three character traits. Occasionally I will run into someone who claims all three. These traits are: Complaining, Whining, or Excuse Making.

      C - Complaining

      I think complaining is the second most common character trait after the trait of anger. There may be several reasons why someone complains. We might complain because we have a sense of superiority and a desire to show that we are better than another or know more about how things should be done. We might complain to express dissatisfaction, resentment, or annoyance. We might complain because we have a legitimate grievance. We might be venting a little to get things "off our chest."

      Have you noticed that people generally do not complain to anyone who has the power to change the problem the person is complaining about? I find this absolutely fascinating, which leads me to think that the need to express our superiority or to vent are the reasons why we complain. Whatever our reasons for doing so, let me suggest that others do not enjoy listening to complaints. If you pay close attention, you will notice how folks begin to edge away from the complaining person inch by inch.

      It does not really matter why or how we got to the state of being a complainer, it just matters that we work to eliminate this unpleasant character trait. I offer two suggestions:

      • Make your complaints to the person who has the power to address the complaints. If you are uncomfortable taking this step, then you might as well just give up the complaint entirely. "If you have the time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it." -- Anthony J. D'Angelo.
      • Develop an attitude of gratitude. It is difficult to complain about something when you are steering your focus in another direction. Look at things with an eye toward expressing appreciation and thankfulness. Find opportunities to offer encouragement and gratitude to others for their contributions or efforts. By looking for ways to bolster and support others, you will be turning your thoughts away from yourself and your need to wallow in unpleasantness and focusing instead on someone other than yourself. You will be involved in making the world a better place rather than expressing ways of tearing the world down.

      What should you do when someone complains to you? I find that the easiest solution is to edge away by inches yourself and then be careful about associating with that person in the future. I do not spend time arguing with a complainer or offering a more positive perspective. I find that when I try to do so, I just encourage the complainer to entrench more deeply in their complaining position. I save my breath, my energy, and my optimism by smiling, finding a graceful way to excuse myself from the complaining conversation, and seeking to follow a more productive pursuit. I find it helpful to plan in advance and have a list of possible activities to offer as a reasonable escape, such as a visit to the restroom, returning a phone call, or getting to an appointment on time.

      "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving." -- Dale Carnegie (American lecturer and author, 1888-1955)

      W - Whining

      Most of us have experienced whining from the receiving end. For those of you who have not, imagine putting a car into neutral gear and then stepping on the gas pedal. The sustained high pitch noise you would hear is what whining sounds like to those of us who have to hear it from a child or another person. Parents can relate to feelings of exasperation and annoyance that come from hearing a whining child.

      What is whining anyway? As my car example shows, whining is a lot of unproductive noise. The engine whines but the car does not move. People whine and make noise but do not necessarily do anything. However, whining may annoy others to the point that THEY do something. Remember the old adage about the squeaky wheel getting the grease?

      Our society today seems not to frown on whining as much as I think should be the case. To me, whining is a form of rebellion. The whining child or adult is actually saying "No!" Whenever I hear whining, I remind myself that if words were to replace the whining, how I would respond? My answer is that I would usually respond quickly to address the rebellion problem. I believe that parents and teachers or others with authority over the child should not permit a child to respond in a rebellious way to instructions or directions, just as I believe that we should not respond inappropriately to each other as adults. [Remind me to tell you sometime about my name tag theory].

      I understand that there are folks who believe that children do not have the cognitive reasoning to actually design their whining and other behavior traits to accomplish such negative purposes. However, I remember one young student of about 6 or 7 years old who was using a whiny voice about something. I looked her in the eye and said, "You're using your whiny voice. Do you find that works for you?" I was being sarcastic, of course, but the child's answer was, "It doesn't work on my mom, but it sure works great on my dad!" The mother's look at her child's comment was very entertaining!



      One parent told her child that the parent had something wrong with her ears, and when her child spoke in a "baby voice" (whiny voice), the parent could not hear what the child said. Another parent blended a special "whine medicine," which consisted of several nasty tastes all mixed together (e.g., ketchup, grapefruit juice, Tabasco drops). An older child in the family helped by "confiding" in the younger child how awful tasting the whine medicine was. When the parent said they would have to get the whine medicine to cure the child's whine, the older child would quickly chime in, "Yuck! You don't want to take the whine medicine!"

      A child may whine because whining puts the child in charge of the parents and because whining produces results from the child's point of view. If you have ever given a child what the child whined about, then you have reinforced the child's understanding that whining produces results. Dr. Kevin Leman says that you should never, ever, pay off whining with any kind of reward or benefit. Never, ever.

      Dr. Leman states that a child's behavior problems generally relate to the child's need for one of two things: the parent's attention and to get what the child wants. If you ignore the whining and never, ever, reward it, then you will have removed both of the child's purposes. The child will need to look for another way to get what he or she wants, and the child can be guided to do so in a more appropriate and acceptable way. In my household and studio, whining will net the immediate response of "no." Whatever it is that is being whined about will not happen. I guarantee it. That is my "punishment" for having to suffer through the whining. This may sound harsh to some, but I will tell you that whining does not happen in my studio. Ever.  At least it does not happen to me. It may happen to a parent, but we work on that as part of the teaching and learning process. Remember, I teach the parents as much as I teach the student. Teaching the Suzuki Method is more than just teaching music.

      What if you are the whiner? Is it possible for an adult to whine? Of course it is. Remember, whining is a way that many folks have learned to use in order to get something. Unfortunately, the kind of attention whining generates is negative, and whining is not a very mature (or attractive) behavior. Whining is certainly not a seemly behavior in an adult.

      If you are a whiner, pay attention to how much noise you make with talk that is unproductive. Focus on what it is you want or need and learn how to ask for it in a mature way. If it is your child who whines, then teach the child how to ask for things appropriately. Do not reward any inappropriate behavior. Nip this obnoxious whining habit right away at every opportunity. Learn to say "please, may I?" and to accept the word "no." Teach your child to do the same.

      "While others may argue about whether the world ends with a bang or a whimper, I just want to make sure mine doesn't end with a whine." -- Barbara Gordon

      E - Excuse Maker

      If you are an excuse maker, then you have the habit of making excuses to avoid blame or being held responsible for some act or other. I find this to be a disturbing character trait, because a person who makes excuses as a way of life is also someone who avoids taking personal responsibility for their actions and who tends to blame others for the personal failings of the excuse maker.

      "Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses." -- George Washington

      This is a tricky character trait, because we have all done this at some point or another. One way to really learn something about yourself is to avoid making excuses and to say instead, "I'm sorry." The expression of these simple words rather than some lengthy excuse or other will reveal so much more depth to our thinking and way of living.

      The next time you are late somewhere, do not be so quick to excuse yourself. Start out with "I'm sorry," and then see where that leads you. Instead of saying, "I had a flat tire," or "traffic was terrible," apologize first and then give the REAL reason why you are late, e.g., "I did not leave enough time for travel holdups."

      The new habit of not making excuses will also reveal something else of yourself that you might have been hiding from your view. I recall a colleague of mine once telling me that he made a commitment to stop making excuses. Later when he was asked whether he had given a recital during the previous year, he began his explanation with an excuse to explain why he had failed to give a recital. He stopped himself and found that by not allowing himself to give an excuse, he felt compelled instead to look inward and deal with the true reason why he had not given a recital.

      "It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses." -- William Arthur Ward

      To summarize: complaining, whining, and making excuses are not attractive or productive character traits in a teacher or anyone else. To build a new habit to avoid these behaviors will take practice. Look for ways to recognize and express gratitude and appreciation. If you make complaints, make sure you make them to someone who has the power to do something about the complaints. Make sure you know how to express yourself appropriately and maturely when you ask for something that you want or when you are told "no." Lastly, make sure you forego excuse making. Instead, begin with an apology ("I'm sorry") and follow that with the real reason behind your actions.

      Let me know which of these three character traits you identify with and some of your experiences. Personally, I struggle with the C issue. I work fervently to find ways to be positive, thankful, and gracious. I look for ways to weed out any issues of pride or arrogance. I am not a whiner, so that issue was a nonstarter. I did consider excuse making, but I found it easy to start with "I'm sorry" and acknowledge my actual reasons. I focus most of my attention on the complaining issue.

      What about you? What do you struggle with? How do you handle these issues?

      Monday, August 8, 2011

      Monday Morning Check In: And the Winner Is Anger

      Today’s topic is my favorite character trait. I say “favorite” because I seem to spend so much time thinking about it, and does it not mean “favorite” if we think more about something to the exclusion of other things? Well, anyway, my topic today is about anger.

      In my opinion, anger is a fairly common character trait, if not the most common. Anger is also the most destructive and negative, not only because it can hurt the individual who is angry and unthinkingly expresses it, but also because anger hurts other people at the same time. Many people do go about in the world pretending that their anger causes no destruction, but for those of us who have been on the receiving end of this emotion, we know better about the destruction and hurt that ill-expressed anger can cause. Let us look a little closer at what anger is and can do and then discuss ways to eliminate anger or its destructive expression from our makeup, our behavior, and our personality.

      Anger is a strong emotion that expresses hostility, annoyance, or displeasure about something or someone. I find it interesting to learn that the word stems from the Old Norse meaning grief and is related to the Old German word angst, which referred to fear. Nowadays we are all pretty clear about the meaning of the word. Like a bull provoked by a red flag, we “see red” and snort and charge. Anger is never gentle; we have a “burst” of anger when we are outraged.

      We all experience anger about various frustrations in life. Anger is a natural emotion, but when we allow our anger to consume, destroy, or cause harm to others or ourselves, then anger becomes dangerous. I believe that it is important to understand where our anger comes from and what causes it, as well as to know what methods we can use to manage it or perhaps eventually eliminate it.

      I have been known to be very thrifty (i.e., “cheap”). Once upon a time, I had an old upright vacuum cleaner for well over 20 years that I had bought used in the first place. The vacuum showed signs of its advanced age, but I kept replacing worn belts and other broken pieces. As time went on, the vacuum kept melting the belts, and the melted rubber smelled terrible and would get stuck all over my light beige carpet. One day I reached my limit. I picked up the vacuum and hurled it about 20 feet into the next room and called it a very satisfying name (probably “piece of junk”). Then I shouted, “why am I so cheap I can’t even buy a decent vacuum cleaner?” You should have been there. It was hilarious, even to me, but I was furious!

      In a phone conversation later with my mother, I told her the story about what had happened. Her response was, “Don’t you remember the time your father threw the vacuum cleaner out into the middle of the street? I was horrified that your neighbors heard what he called it let alone saw him do that!” And that’s when my mental light bulb went off.

      No, I had not remembered my father doing that until my mother reminded me. At that moment, I started to remember a lot of other times when my father was pretty upset at something and the entire neighborhood heard about it. Now, in all fairness to my dad, he is a terrific man. He just gets very angry and frustrated at inanimate objects when they don’t do what they are supposed to do. I hate to use the word “inherit” in this discussion, but there have been many times since my vacuum epiphany when I caught myself getting very angry at a “thing” that was not working as it should be and was holding me up on completing a task or getting out the door in time. I think I have “inherited” my father’s same behavior.

      This particular manifestation of angry behavior really doesn’t hurt anyone else per se, but let me point out that the negative expression of anger vocally and with taut body language and physical expression really does poison the atmosphere around us and causes others to feel quite uncomfortable, and rightly so. Think of anger as a red, poisonous gas. When we express our anger, even by allowing ourselves to give in to the experience of it, we are basically allowing the poisonous gas to leak out and affect others and the atmosphere they breathe. It is one thing to allow your anger to affect another adult, but just think how anger can hurt your child or another living creature that depends on you and has no power to walk away from you or the situation.

      I propose that we take the time to get a handle on this destructive emotion and find ways to eliminate it or minimize it down to something that is not even noticed or experienced by others. Here are my suggestions.

      Find the Sources: Think back to the sources of your anger or behavior. For me, it was my father’s role modeling in this area. Of course, it was my own fault that I chose to mimic this behavior as well as I did. What are your past role models for this behavior?

      Uncover Your Triggers: What are your triggers? This is going to take some time to discover. Pay attention to the things that set you off and make a list of them. For me it is anything that wastes my time, or inanimate objects (like printers and vacuum cleaners) that do not work correctly, or disrespect (I do not like being interrupted or patronized).

      Break the State: Note what you body does during your anger, and then break that physical state. If you are tight in your shoulders or neck, then force your muscles to relax. Find a quick yoga pose or other physical stretch that will help you to eliminate this tension. If you find yourself holding your breath, then start breathing. There is a reason for the old adage: Count to 10. We cannot count to 10 without breathing somewhere in there, and the breathing will help you to relax and break the state.

      Substitute a new Behavior: Plan in advance to substitute more acceptable reactions to your anger triggers when the need arises. I have already suggested a yoga pose or breathing exercise. If your kids constantly make you angry in a particular situation, figure out in advance how you will handle this situation in a different way the next time. Come up with several ideas. Ask your friends, neighbors, or relatives for suggestions. We have all been in the same place, and we are willing to share what we have learned. Instead of constantly yelling at my six pack of doxies to "come" back into the house, I started using the clicker and giving a small treat as they came in the door. Now I just click and they instantly run to the door. I am no longer angry at them for not obeying me because I have found a way to change their behavior by changing mine.

      Keep a Record: Keep a record of your anger and efforts to work through it. Keep a journal. It is back to school time, and composition books are on sale. Get one and start keeping an anger log or chart. Make these kinds of notes:
      • When you got angry
      • Who or what caused it
      • Why you were angry
      • Where you were at the time
      • How you handled it
      • What you could do the next time instead
      Record your reasons or motivation for taming the anger problem, whether it is the benefit to your children or your spouse, or the goodwill towards to your neighbors or co-workers. I believe I read in Dr. Suzuki’s “Ability Development from Age Zero” that he kept an anger chart of the number of times he got angry in a day. Eventually he was able to whittle down the number of angry times to zero. You could keep an anger chart and log on the chart each time you were angry during the day. Just the act of writing this down might cause you to stop in your tracks and try something different.

      Widen Your Response Time: We are more than creatures that just react to things without thought. We are able to choose our reactions to things. Dr. Stephen Covey of the 7 Habits fame writes that within a stimulus and response there is a period of time in which we can choose our response. Granted, in the beginning our window of time might be quite small. Our goal then would be to widen this period of time so that it allows us the necessary time to thoughtfully respond.

      Consider Other Options: Here are some other suggestions, and note that these suggestions will apply to just about any negative emotion we might experience or deal with. By following some of the following suggestions, we may find that we experience negative emotions less.
      • Cultivate good health habits:
        • Get enough sleep
        • Eat healthy food
        • Exercise regularly
        • Eliminate unhealthy habits
      • Schedule regular down time
      • Reflect regularly about things in your life; keep a journal
      • Avoid stress by being appropriately prepared for your life's activities
        • Anticipate the next day's meals, clothes, belongings, and set them out in advance of the time they are needed
        • Be prepared with lesson plans or errands
      • Stay in good practice so that you are ready for opportunities
      • Keep a calendar and maintain it regularly
      • Schedule free time for yourself
      • Take a bubble bath or go for a long walk
      • Find an accountability buddy with whom you can check in regularly and offer suggestions

      Anger is a common emotion but can leave a lot of destruction in its wake if allowed to be “out of control.” Learn how to control it, how to express it, and in what way you can experience it without its being destructive to others.

      Anger is not a good example of leadership, which always requires calm and assertive energy and expression, and therefore is not the best quality in a teacher or parent. Learn how to control it in an appropriate manner. Try the ideas above and make a commitment to re-experience the joy of life that comes from the freedom of anger.

      Saturday, August 6, 2011

      NEW! Fingerboard Workbook Series! (Interview)

      Diane Allen
      http://www.myviolinvideos.com
      In this post, I would like to introduce you to my friend and Suzuki colleague Diane Allen from Central Oregon. Diane has recently published a series of fingerboard workbooks, which she has developed and successfully used in her studio for over 20 years. I am excited about the possibilities of this new series. I was fortunate to get an advance copy of all the workbooks, and I know exactly which students I want to begin working on this series. I wanted to give Diane a chance to discuss her new workbook series in more depth. First, let me introduce Diane to you.

      PBird: Diane, welcome to "Teaching Suzuki." You are a regular reader of the blog, I know, from the frequent comments that you make. Tell us a little about your experience as a Suzuki teacher. How long have you been teaching?

      Diane: Yes Paula! I love your blog. You are such a prolific writer. You make blogging look easy! (I know it’s not.)

      workbook 1 for violin
      I’ve been teaching for 25 years. Life as a Suzuki Violin teacher has been an amazingly rich and rewarding experience. When a student gets through the beginning steps of just learning how to hold the violin and bow as well as play some songs, it’s just short of miraculous. Around the time Minuet 1 comes along I start looking for the magic -- the moment when a student connects with their violin music and their musicality shines through. It always brings a tear to my eye! And that’s just the beginning.

      PBird: You mentioned to me that you had been using your workbook series in your studio for over 20 years. Something that I really relate to is that the workbooks approach the fingerboard mapping issue by using all the learning styles: visual, aural, and kinesthetic. Please tell us how you came to develop your workbook system.

      Diane: Two profound experiences that occurred during my college years were the impetus of writing the Fingerboard Workbook for the First Position. The first stemmed from my studies with Burton Kaplan. He introduced me to fingerboard visualization through his book The Complete Music Sight-Reader Series. Until that time I was a “blind” violinist. I could imagine how the notes sounded and had great muscle memory. Learning to visualize the notes on the fingerboard completed what I had been missing. It truly enhanced my violin playing in a BIG way. The charts that you’ll find in The Fingerboard Workbook Series are not that much different than his.

      The second experience came from attending a weekend workshop about neurolinguistic programming. In the middle of the workshop I had an epiphonal moment. We had been working with different learning channels: visual, aural, and kinesthetic (eyes, ears, touch). I suddenly had a complete flashback of my entire school career and everything fell into place. Why I played the violin. Why in grade school I felt dumb. Why in high school I would always chew on the crunchiest foods possible when reading. Why Burton Kaplan’s fingerboard visualizations filled the gap. I’m predominantly an aural and kinesthetic learner. My visuals were quite weak.


      PBird: How are your visual skills now?

      Diane: My visuals now? Fantastic! I’ve since done some specific therapies. But let’s save that for another blog post. I co-mingled my neurolinguistic programming information with Burton Kaplan’s charts. While Burton Kaplan introduced me to using fingerboard charts, he only used them as a visual reference. In the fingerboard workbooks you will use the charts to aid you visually, aurally, and kinesthetically.

      PBird: Would you describe what the fingerboard workbook series is? How are the workbooks organized?

      DianeThe Fingerboard Workbook Series: Map the Violin for Good Map the Viola for Good is exactly what the title implies. It’s a workbook series that teaches where the notes are on the fingerboard in a way that really sticks. First position all the way through eleventh position is covered. Think of the workbooks as a catalog of all the possible combinations within an octave hand frame. Students will first identify notes, plot them on a fingerboard map, and then experience them by singing and playing.

      The most common reaction students have with filling out a workbook is that of making many connections. Instead of having the light bulbs go off over your head, plan for fireworks!

      PBird: How would you incorporate the workbook in your teaching situation? Do you have a system for when you introduce the workbook series or a particular position workbook? How long does it take a student to typically finish a particular workbook?

      Diane: Most beginning violin books begin with teaching a specific finger pattern: 0 1 23 4. That would translate to mean:

      • a whole step from the open string to the first finger
      • a whole step from the 1st to 2nd fingers
      • a half step from the 2nd to 3rd fingers
      • a whole step from the  3rd to 4th fingers
      Workbook 1 for viola
      As soon as students lower the 2nd finger to C natural on the A string, I start them with The Fingerboard Workbook for the First Position Map the Violin for Good. In the Suzuki literature that would be Etude [song #12 in violin book 1]. My experience is that students typically finish the workbook by the time they get to Gavotte by Lully in Suzuki Volume 2 [#10]. Just in time to learn 3rd position! Learning all the new notes introduced in Suzuki Violin Volume 2 is pretty smooth sailing with the background my workbooks provide.

      Although I’ve used The Fingerboard Workbook for the First Position: Map the Violin for Good for 20 years, all the other workbooks in all the other positions are brand new. Therefore I haven’t incorporated the new books into my teaching style yet. I do have some ideas though.

      PBird:   I hope you will share your ideas with us in future posts. Who can use the workbooks now?

      Diane:

      • violin students
      • viola students
      • violin students learning viola
      • viola students learning violin
      • parents
      • music education majors
      I have had students age 5 – 65 effectively use the workbooks. Parents love the workbooks because it gives them an enormous amount of background. It keeps them out of the dark and in touch with their child’s violin playing. When they hear a note that sounds “off,” they will now have the tools to help troubleshoot.

      PBird: What kind of student or parent reaction do you typically have about the workbooks?

      Diane: I’ve had a mixed reaction with students and always a positive reaction with parents. Some students sail through and thoroughly enjoy the workbooks. Some drag their feet but I stick to my guns because I know the results are well worth the effort.

      PBird: I notice that your website for the fingerboard workbook series is quite resourceful. Tell us more about the site.

      Diane: The website has a few functions:

      • to introduce folks to the books and act as a storefront to make purchases
      • to provide free information in the form of videos and charts
      • to offer a subscription to 10 mini fingerboard lessons and a monthly newsletter
      I very much want to meet your readers! I will be doing a live streaming video event where they can either watch and/or participate. All they have to do is watch and type in their questions. I’ll then answer the questions, offer a demonstration, or find some fun way to help the learning. Part of the session will include a drawing to win a workbook! Your readers will want to become email subscribers to stay informed about the events and become eligible for the drawing.


      PBird: Thanks, Diane, for visiting with us. I really look forward to using these workbooks in my studio and at the university. Thanks so much for taking the time to put all this material together. These workbooks look terrific!

      Diane: Thank you Paula! For hundreds of years people have been trying to find where the notes exist on the fingerboard. It’s time to put an end to this problem!


      PBird: Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog today and talk to my readers and me about your new workbook series. I'm excited about the teaching possibilities. I am sure that my readers will want to find out more about this.


      Visit the Teach Suzuki Resource Store to purchase the workbooks. Click here.

      I am also looking forward to seeing you next week in Bend, Oregon, at my masterclass on Wednesday, August 10 at 1:00 p.m. at the Cascade School of Music, 200 NW Pacific Park Lane. See you then!