Listen, Listen and Listen Some More!
Updated: Oct 13, 2019
Listening to the recordings is a key element in the Suzuki Method, as this is how we all learn to speak our native tongue- by hearing it, often, daily! Without hearing our language spoken repetitiously, our ability to speak well will be diminished.
Besides practising daily, listening is just as important- and can sometimes be the most difficult to fit into the day! Here are the benefits and “why” of listening, as well as some practical tips to make it work in your daily schedule!
Benefits of listening to the Suzuki recording:
Learning for you and your child is easier AND quicker! If you can hear it in your head, you can play it! If you haven't heard it enough, learning the pieces can become quite difficult- and frustrating!
The student is able to learn on their own- they can hear it in their heads, and then want to try it- great for motivation to practise and get ahead in their music!
Listening increases sensory input to the brain. We must be able to hear, see and do music. This is one of the most powerful ways to gain a skill, through multi-sensory approach- listen (aural and oral), play (kinesthetic), then learn to read the music (visual).
By hearing a recording BEFORE learning a piece, the child is able to internalize the entire concept of the piece without having had to learn and play it first. Learning is then a LOT easier!
The recordings are a model of how a piece should sound, setting a foundation in the ear of how to play and imitate, eliminating the need to explain what is very difficult to get across in language- it is much more easily learned by hearing and imitating.
A few ways I (and you!) can know if you are not playing the recordings enough: wrong notes, wrong rhythms, wrong tempo or uneven tempo (speed), student has a hard time remembering the pieces, or they need your help ALL. THE. TIME. If any of these are showing up, the only remedy is abundant listening!
Now for ways to get that recording playing as much as possible!
Passive listening: in the car; while in bed; while in the bathtub; every morning at breakfast; while playing in their room; while baking cookies- your imagination is the limit!
Active listening (also important!): singing with the recording (words are in your Parent Ed packet); dancing with scarves; keeping a beat with the music; listening and drawing a picture for the recording; making up a story for the music; dancing to a music story- again, use your imagination for this!
Your job as home teacher: to have the recording on daily; to help your child control/corral the frustration that occurs when they have a difficult time getting the tune from their head to the piano; NOT TO TEACH THEM BY ROTE (if this is happening, I will know, as the child always turns to the parent to see if they are “doing it right” and have a very difficult time with me in lessons with the playbacks); to learn a piece at home exactly how it was taught in the lesson. I will always have a check box for this on the assignment sheets.
And when your partner or child is tired of hearing the recordings, you can acknowledge they are tired of it-but it continues to be listened to daily. Just don’t try to control any attitude that may accompany this and let it go! :)
So here is to an abundance of joyful music listening and learning- cheers!