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Patricia Baser

My Week at Camp

June 23, 2007 at 1:20 PM

This week, I am attending Suzuki training at the Atlanta Suzuki institute. As a matter of review, and in the hopes that this would be helpful to someone, I thought I would blog as I go. My school is paying for the training, but I am footing the bill for the hotel. The drawback is that this institute is not being offered by a college, so I cannot also receive college credit. Yesterday, I took the Every Child Can course. It's a broad introduction to the Suzuki approach to teaching and it is the first class required when seeking Suzuki training. There were 11 students in my class. 3 were former Suzuki students, 5 had young children themselves, one was a non-musician parent of a Suzuki student, one had never taught before, some were returning to teaching, and some were making their Suzuki teacher-ness more official. I was the only one who teaches at a Suzuki program in the public schools. Our trainer was Carrie Reuning-Hummel. She was one of the first Suzuki students in the U.S. Here are some notes about the areas we discussed:

Language Acquisition- belief that this will happen as a matter of course; repetition; imitation; reinforcement; sound to source; community of learning

Talent vs. Ability/Gifts vs. Talents-look for "readiness" in the child; parent needs to understand why they themsleves love something

Listening-listen until you can't forget; gives a structure so the student can hear what is wrong and refine; use passive & active; "sing" in head (may have to teach that)

Vision vs. Expectation-Vision is the big picture & expectation is more of the moment; think out all the steps you must use to successfully learn a piece; work out "preview" spots in fututre pices so problems are worked out ahead of time.

Established Repertoire-teacher is freed from deciding what piece to do next (at the early levels); Each piece leads to the next; group class is about refining what you already know; teacher must model & educate parents & students about non-competition/not worrying about who is on what piece.

Reason for Review-keep all pieces ready to play; teacher must model this by reviweing in clas; old pieces can be used to address a new technical problem; if short on practice time-listen and review.

Reading-addressed issue of starting it too late; good time is mid-book 1 on non-Suzuki materials; time is right if postural foundation is set and is beginning to read words; must not hear the reading material first. Our trainer dealt with problem herself, as she did not read notes until age 12.

Tonalization-for deep analysis of sound; develop resonance; to settle mind for learning

Characteristics of a Suzuki Teacher-include aiming for excellence and communicating well with children of all ages

Life Learned Skills-learn how to self-teach by breaking a problem into its smallest parts; develop a spirit of community outreach

Recommended Reading:Punished by Rewards, What it Means to be Educated &Unconditional Parenting-all by Alfie Kohn; Teaching from the Balance Point by Ed Kreitman; A Soprano on Her Head.

Miscellaneous teaching tidbits:
twinkle variation A- "everybody down-up"

for review-jar 1: cards with the name of each review pice; jar 2-cards with ways to play each piece

for repetition-let the child decide how many times something should be repeated and analyze the result; roll dice to determine the number of repetitions.

for parent training:
Our trainer works with the parents for 6 weeks-1 2 hr session per week. They discuss practice tips, read assigned materials, and try to establish an understanding of the approach before lessons begin to avoid problems later. Students observe other lessons during this time.

Today, I have the first five hours of book 1 training. We have been told that we will spend 14 hours on what to do before Twinkle.

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