The most difficult thing about listening is probably just remembering to hit play! But even when that challenge has been overcome, listening to the same pieces in exactly the same way can begin to feel stale. If we can find a way to make listening fresh and exciting, it will be easier for your child to want to listen! Here's some thoughts on how to spice up your listening routine:
Ambient listening! Play the CD while doing other activities. Make sure the volume is loud enough to be heard clearly, but not loud enough to disrupt conversation. This creates an immersive environment for the whole family, and when the family listens together, it is easier for you to be an effective practice partner.
Follow along with the sheet music! This is a really good one for students who are at the age where they are beginning to work on note reading. They can trace the page with a finger at first to help them follow the notes. Listening in this way also helps children have a more focused and detailed listening experience. Make sure to check with your teacher before utilizing this idea, to make sure your child is ready for this more visual approach.
Listen, then discuss! Talk about how the song makes you feel. Is it happy or sad? What speed is it? Is it loud or soft? It can also be fun to make up a story to go with each song! Helping your child engage with the recording on a more personal level makes them feel more connected to the music. Some teachers and families even like to make up lyrics to the repertoire songs so they can sing along!
Listening is a hugely important aspect of the Suzuki Method! It is necessary to create the immersive environment that Dr. Suzuki valued so highly. Hopefully these new ideas will help your family listen in new and interesting ways!
- Shannon Jansma, published in the March 2017 issue of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute newsletter