The fall semester has been going for about a month now, and I have had a wonderful time hearing about all the summer adventures from my returning students, and getting to know my new students. Several of my students were not able to take lessons over the summer, and so I have been coming up with creative ways to help them access their long term memories. I know from learning about the brain that nothing we learn is ever truly forgotten, but the information may be stored in a way that makes it difficult to access. So, I have pulled out rhythm games, note naming games, chord identifying games, and the half and whole step cards to review pentascales, major scales and minor scales. I am thrilled to report that the review games have worked, and my students have not only remembered what they learned last year, but they are excited about moving forward and learning new concepts.
What is the connection with review games and the title of this blog post? It is simply this: every child moves at their own pace. This is one of the Suzuki philosophy points, and it is important to constantly remind others (and myself) of this idea. I may play a game twice with one student before they understand the concept and we move on. With a different student, we may revisit the concept (through the game) 10 or 15 times before they understand the concept. Each child is a unique person with a different learning style and there is no magic number of repetitions that guarantees understanding.
Our culture is obsessed with competition, and not all competition is unhealthy. But in the realm of private music lessons, we all need to remember that learning music is not a competition or a race. Studying music is an incredibly personal and individual journey. And each person gets to set their own pace and move as slow or as fast as they are comfortable. My job as a teacher and your job as a parent is to walk alongside them, encouraging, leading, guiding, and sometimes just enjoying the view.
I am a piano teacher who loves teaching music and discussing personality styles. I also enjoy playing music with others, whether that is chamber music, piano duets, or singing in a choir. My favorite composers are Bach and Haydn.