Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Suzuki Lessons in Parenting

I've blogged previously about Annika and her Suzuki violin lessons. She started in kindergarten and we're still going strong two years later. She would rather chat than practice. She frustrates me with her fidgeting during the lessons. Her teacher comments how she somehow moves from one spot to another.

Inspite of all the scolding, she does "get" it. She hears a song and knows where she needs to be. She has a strong musical ear, but needs the body to work with it. Like anything, you have to practice.

So we were alternating between new song and an old song. Watching her learn the new song is tough. So, when she pauses between notes, I tell her the next note.

She says, "Mommy, don't tell me." However, I know she doesn't know this part, so I tell her.

"No, don't tell me!" she says emphatically. She places her bow on the string and tries a few notes on her own. But it's not right. She pauses.

"Ok, what is it?"

I start to tell her and she says, "No, no! I know it now."

But she still doesn't. So I show her the book and point it out since what I say is not valid. She acknowledges it and picks up her violin to try again.

She asked me not to tell her the notes, but to wait til the end of the song. However, I reminded her I need to stop her in the middle because she'll forget by the end of the song where she was.

She finally agreed to pause after ever measure and I would say aye or nay to it.

It was a frustrating lesson. My patience was short and her will was strong. We needed to come to that happy middle ground, but it took time to get there. We had further struggles with lesson as she tried to negotiate with me how much to play.
During this battle, I started thinking about the role of parent in life. I want to correct her, help her play the right "notes." On the other hand, she needs to exercise her own independence. By trying to remember the notes on her own, she'll improve her own skills and memory. However, I need to be there to catch her when she needs it. So, I had to really hold myself back and let her do it her way.

This is just a glimpse of the future, isn't it?

1 comment:

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Yep, my wife and I struggle as well with trying to find that balance of letting our children fail so that they can learn. It does take wisdom to know when to step in and help and when to allow them their wings- and we are not always wise. :)