Some Thoughts on My Teaching and My Life

Being a Suzuki Violin teacher does shape my life path and my teaching path. I like to hang on to what works best for most kids. Lately I’ve been thinking through why singing through the folk tunes which make up the first half of the Suzuki Violin School Vol. 1 make it easier for the youngsters to memorize the tunes. I find two reasons.

No. 1 We can break up the tune into its underlying form, ABA, ABCB etc. as we sing. This helps fix the whole tune in the youngster’s mind before he/she starts to learn the notes, one part at a time. Then when all the parts are mastered they can be strung together to form the whole.

No. 2 The youngster has learned to sing the scale to the words, “The little train goes up the hill. The little train comes down again.” So he/she has a notion of notes going up or coming down. This helps him/her follow the melody in his/her head and recognize the next notes as going up, coming down or skipping up or down.

So there is the mental concept of the form of the tune. There is also the melody we follow in our head, which contains the pitch movements and the rhythm. It forms the path through the tune. I believe these two concepts come together to make memorizing the tunes easy.

I have found kindred spirits in ideas about teaching in other blog sites.
In the blog Young Human’s Music Teacher, I love that blog author Sara Buller says,

“Never stop learning to do what you love better. That is what keeps us interested and enthusiastic.”

That fits in with the Suzuki approach to teaching. We keep taking in summer Institute courses, local workshops, chances to watch each other and learn. We try new things, like my projects using improvisation to teach music theory.

Another quote I like, found on the blog A Music Student’s Thoughts, is:

“A painter paints his picture on a canvas, but musicians paint their pictures on silence. We provide the music and you provide the silence.” Leopold Stokowski.

Truly, music from the heart can be welcomed into the silence.