Hive Mind: Spring 2021

Every newsletter, a question will be posed to be answered by our excellent Suzuki community (trainers, teachers, parents, students), finding inspiration in our shared ideas around successful outcomes in all kinds of circumstances related to music education.

This newsletter’s question is: It is common to use reward and punishment systems to extrinsically motivate students. However, the development of *intrinsic* motivation to create the desire to practise and play an instrument is the ultimate goal. Understanding that the development of intrinsic motivation can take time, and that every child and family is unique, what methods do you use to develop intrinsic motivation in students?

From Lenni Jabour

The success I’ve had with this stems from parent education, and prioritizing listening/practicing at the same time each day. Creating a listening/practice schedule that happens at the same time becomes an ingrained part of a child’s day – proper parent education would also ensure this time of day is a happy one for their child!  When a young student has a daily “non-negotiable” task cheerily led by a parent, the task (no matter whether it is brushing teeth or practicing an instrument) becomes an expected part of the day, and not an extra burden necessitating rewards or remorse.  I help my parents implement regular listening/practice time by suggesting phone notifications/reminders, or visible on a family calendar – alongside fun practice tips and tricks to make sure their children view practice as a pleasure. 

I gave a 5-minute Parents As Partners video talk for the SAA on this last year – which can be viewed here.

From Jean Grieve

I have found that several things have to be in place in a child’s musical life before intrinsic motivation starts to develop. 

First they have to have found success in playing at least one or two pieces both the player and the audience recognize as good.This has been helped by the present need for recitals to be videoed, though live performances are much missed.

Younger children want to please their parents.The attention of fathers as well as mothers is a great motivation especially when music is heard in the home and parents play or try to play too. 

We have encouraged listening by sending out suggestions to parents with links toYoutube performances. An emphasis on Beethoven’s music is culminating on a “Special” by Michelle Coon on Sunday at 3 p.m. which we hope will be watched by everyone.

I have sent out videos of some of our finest senior players to parents of younger ones. They report the children are excited by watching these and picking out pieces they particularly enjoy.

In the past, few younger students except siblings attended our senior recitals. In future I shall suggest videoing these regularly to send out to everyone.

Every year we have an informal ensemble concert where families and/or friends play duets,trios and quartets. Everyone loves these both social and musical occasions and hopefully they build towards lifelong enjoyment of music together.

Senior players are very much missing attending Youth orchestra . We are trying to promote videos of their playing to take to Seniors Residences

Hive Mind Question for Summer 2021 Newsletter

How has teaching online for the past year or so changed your outlook about online teaching? Once we can teach in person again, will you still teach a portion of students online or return exclusively to in person lessons?