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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Help! I Can't Do it All!!!

Everyone gets so busy about this time, and things get out of hand with the slippery, illusory sense of control and being on top of things. So how can we stay on top of it all? How can we stay connected and engaged with the things that really matter in our Suzuki journey? This month I suggest that we turn our focus in the studio and in home practices on scheduling, priorities, and focus. How?

Shrink Down the Focus and Priority

First, let us shrink down the area of focus and priority and tie ourselves to the familiar. What I mean by that is that we "ground ourselves" with something that we know and can do well. For example, we could use the Twinkle Variations for this purpose, which will work quite well for most of us if we already know them. Let us start with that this week and really shore up the skills contained in them. Let these gems of knowledge about skill and ability really perk us up about our standards and help remind us of how far we have come since the beginning of our Suzuki journey. Here is a previous article about some of the teaching points that we can focus on as we review our Twinkles, and I include tips about helping more advanced students as well as inexperienced students:

I have also begun to add a review of Twinkles for my later book 1 students, where I teach them how to play the variations in G major and using the new "low" second finger pattern found in Etude and the 2-octave G major scale. This new way of reviewing Twinkles is another great way to reinforce the new finger pattern as well as introduce the subject of transposing, which we will then revisit in book 2 with Long, Long Ago and the new Bb pattern in Gavotte from "Mignon."

Pre-Twinkle Ideas

For Pre-Twinklers, why not do a grounding exercise related to the setup steps to be ready to play? Or, why not set an assignment of making a certain number of "perfect" bow holds each week? Here is a link to my previous article about setup steps:

Here is a link to another article I wrote about introducing the bow hold to a beginner. You will find lots of pictures here!

How to Start a Beginner, part 2 (Holding the Bow)

To help you with Pre-Twinkle or beginning students, I made a short (under 4 minutes) recording of how I get ready to play that I am willing to share with you. In this recording I go through the steps from rest position and taking a bow to getting ready to play. The purpose of this recording is to help the parent, practice partner, and student build a practice routine of how to get ready to play. I hope you enjoy:

If you have any comments, suggestions, or ideas about how you like to practice this routine, please comment below. I am always looking for things to add to my teaching repertoire, and I appreciate all the creative ideas that many other parents, students, and teachers discover. Please share if you are willing.

So until next time,

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird

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