From Judith Somers Heslam (mother of Benjamin age 9)
A warm welcome to new Suzuki families from the CSYM committee.
Cambridge Suzuki Young Musicians is a group of parents steered by a volunteer committee which meets every 2 months to support Stephen and Betty in organizing musical activities and events. This Summer 2009 we are discussing events and projects like: CSYM summer concert in July, commissioning of compositions for pianos duos. Summer workshop 2010, fund-raising projects etc.
Our youngest son Benjamin (9) has been a CSYM student for the past 5 years. He has piano lessons with Stephen on Mondays. Like all CSYM students, each Saturday he attends musicianship classes (Benjamin in Group C), and also participates in Betty's chamber choir.
The decision to start Suzuki piano and Kodaly musicianship is a big but very worthwhile commitment. All Suzuki parents will probably agree that undertaking Suzuki education is challenging, as the child's musical success depends upon daily practice through regular parental involvement. We have over the years experienced the huge benefits of the approach: the emphasis on musical quality and the beautiful tone, developing the habit of daily (or twice daily)practice and listening. And the obvious progress the children make in terms of playing beautifully and musically. We feel that this sense of quality in music pervades and also benefits other parts of Benjamin's life.
From Karen Sylvester(mother of Sarah age 8)
I have definitely come to appreciate Stephen's advice for setting good practice habits at a young age. Making practice fun while still working on corrections and improvements has been a challenge, but Sarah is fairly good at this and I've been able to use some helpful tips from Betty, Stephen and other Mums.
Practice isn't always "perfect"; it's particularly difficult when either one of us is tired and has less patience than usual. But I found that an enthusaistic compliment can really turn things around. Also, the content of the practice and nature of parental involvement changes as the child continues to change and develop.
I have also come to appreciate the advice and importance for learning through listening. It is obvious to me that the more Sarah hears the pieces she studies, the better quality is her practice and performance. So I try to get listening in whenever and where-ever I can and through out the house, e.g. in the morning before school, after school, when she goes to bed (but not all night) and in the car.
In the end, the Suzuki experience is definitely worthwhile for all of us. Suzuki piano has not only helped Sarah to play pieces but to play musically and with heart. I can see and hear in her playing that she is happy even when she doesn't always enjoy practiciing. And I believe this has spilled over into other things that she does. She is more focused, attentive, confident and happy at school (she is the yougest in the class and was suffering a bit academically and socially). And of course she is ver proud of the kudos she gets from her peers and teachers when she performs in public.
All Suzuki parents seem to experience a variety of emotional highs and lows. As you begin your Suzuki journey, you may find it helpful at times to share your experiences or questions not only with your teacher, but with other Suzuki parents. Any of the committee members would be happy to be contacted.
Judith Somers-Heslam, Karen Sylvester, Jacqui Wynn, Karen Barnes, Ericka Jacobs