Shinichi Suzuki

The Suzuki Experience

From one Suzuki parent to another

How slow can you go

Of the hundreds of practice techniques at our disposal, one rules them all.

Alan Duncan

3 minutes read

When I was a teenager, I learned the Prelude and Fugue in C# from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier. It’s a brisk, joyful work, though the fugue is incredibly tricky because of the key. As usual, I flew through it at breakneck speed heedless of my teacher’s pleas to take in all the details. Flash forward decades and the pandemic finds me sitting at the keyboard relearning a lot of these works from my youth. It has been fascinating rediscovering overlooked details, considering…

Marking up music for focus and clarity

Marking up directions on the music - fingerings, bowing, phrasing and other instructions - is a staple of learning the music. But what do you do when there are too many markings? Here's a simply solution using plastic sheet protectors and dry erase markers.

Alan Duncan

3 minutes read

One of the challenges of working with a piece is that you accumulate markings on the music. Sometimes a lot of markings. Like a piece that my child has been working on for a while:

App review: 'Dice by PCalc'

We're always looking for ways to keep practice interesting. This iPhone app is a new take on the old idea of using dice to pick review pieces, choose repetitions, and more.

Alan Duncan

2 minutes read

In our home practice, we’re always looking for novel ways to make it interesting. A newly-discovered app “Dice by PCalc” fits the bill.

Quarantine practice: making the most of it.

While most of the world is (or should be) under stay-at-home orders in the wake of a viral pandemic, there's no need for practice to suffer

Alan Duncan

6 minutes read

Where we live, everyone is under stay-at-home orders - a prudent measure to slow the spread of a highly contageous virus. Children haven’t attended school for weeks. Concerts, recitals and festivals have all been canceled. The immediate future is uncertain.

No instrument? No problem!

One of the most frequent questions that comes up online is what to do if you cannot practice with your instrument. Here's a handful of tips about practicing without an instrument.

Alan Duncan

3 minutes read

Suzuki said to only practice on the days you eat. It must have been his wry way to say: “Practice every day.” That is sound advice; and in reality, there is so much progress to be made by practicing every day. But life intervenes. We’ve been practicing for many many days now. But twice during that stretch, my daughter had to practice without an instrument because it was simply not safe to bring her instrument into the back-country where she was on a school trip.

Sectional listening in small segments

We often think of listening as a way of building memory and reinforcing tone. It's also possible to listen intently in smaller segments. Here's how.

Alan Duncan

2 minutes read

When someone asks me - what’s the most important part of Suzuki talent education? I always answer the same way.

So you want to solo with orchestra: 10 tips for a successful performance

A solo appearance with orchestra is regarded as a highlight in the life of a young artist. Here are a handful of tips to prepare for a great experience.

Alan Duncan

11 minutes read

As kids begin playing longer and more complex works, opportunities to perform with orchestra emerge. When my daughter had such an opportunity last year, it was a chance for us to reflect on how we prepared and what we learned from the experience. What follows is a description of what we experienced along with lessons that we learned in the form of 10 tips for a great performance with orchestra. (Feel free to jump to the tips!)

Suzuki parenting as a form of deliberate practice

In part 3 of a series on deliberate practice, we look at the work of Suzuki parents as a form of deliberate practice and how thinking about it in this way can lead to more mindful high-quality practice sessions.

Alan Duncan

8 minutes read

In Part I of our series on deliberate practice, we introduced the concept. In Part II we began to apply the idea of mental representations as a key component of expert performance and one of the goals of deliberate practice.

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The Suzuki Experience is a weblog focused on helping parents practice more effectively and joyfully with their children. It traces the progress of our experience from beginner to budding young artist.