It's August and institute season is winding down. We just returned from another great week at the American Suzuki Institute where we've attended for the last five years. I've come to think of summer institutes as an essential part of the Suzuki experience. Here's why:
I've been reading Alison Gopnik's recent book "The Gardener and the Carpenter" and wondering how it all fits with our role as Suzuki parents.
Of all the virtues that a Suzuki parent can bring to the practice room, patience may be the most important because without patience, it's hard to have a creative, fun, productive practice session. Impatience leads to tension, frustration, and unhappiness. And it casts an unhappy shadow on what should be an enjoyable process. Personally, I struggle mightily against impatience.
Practically every Suzuki parent must have experienced a meltdown during practice. When students begin so young, we are bound to bump up against their undeveloped emotional control. Although there are many ways that children can go off the rails during practice, many of these stem from low frustration tolerance. Understanding and dealing with low frustration tolerance is an important skill for us as parents and our kids. I confess that I'm still working on it.
One of my favorite blogs, Plucky Violin Teacher, is hosting a book club for teachers. I'm not a teacher, but I don't mind eavesdropping a bit for some tips for home practice.
After reading the review of Faber and Mazlish's book on parent-child communication, I wondered if one of the hidden keys to strengthening our side of the Suzuki triangle is the misunderstood act of empathy.