Review is good for a lot of things! Children enjoy playing something they know that they can do well, it warms up muscles and minds, and it helps us prepare for recitals. However, mindful review is most helpful; simply playing the notes isn’t useful if the student doesn’t remember what was introduced in each piece. Whatever new technique the piece introduced, going back and recreating the steps used to learn it will solidify it in your child’s mind. It also shows children the progress they’ve made in lessons‐pieces that used to be a struggle become normal, and then easy!
It can be really fun for a student to think back to when they first learned Variation A. How far have they come since then? Remembering how it felt to first learn a piece helps children put their current technical struggles in perspective. Have your child think about learning each technique for the first time, and recreate the steps their teacher used to teach it. Now, when they play the piece, their focus is on its purpose, and they can see how far they’ve come!
Review is also a great time to work on musicality and refine phrasing techniques. It’s simple to add vibrato to Lightly Row, or refine crescendos by adding them to Song of the Wind. When your child doesn’t need to focus their full attention on fingerings and other basics, there is more room for phrasing experiments!
- Shannon Jansma, published in the March 2016 issue of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute newsletter