Music Practice Time Turns into Playtime

Article excerpt

I have absolutely no knowledge of music, short of a deep love for it. But when our daughters were born, we decided to give them the gift of music. We listened to classical music at mealtime, in the car, and as background music while reading.

When they were 3 and 5, the girls started music lessons. We chose the Suzuki method. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for.

I had to learn each piece of music with them. The first songs were easy, but only as far as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Soon, the entire family was involved. My husband wrote the names of the notes above each note, then I would learn the piece and we would practice together.

Soon it became evident that I was slowing my daughters down!

Gradually, my role became less and less. The girls took off on their own, but not without encouragement and a high degree of creative imagination on my part. I became adept at keeping the practices fun and their love of music alive.

We turned practice time into play time.

At a handicraft shop, we bought an unfinished floral picture with ready-cut felt shapes. For every section of their music that they learned to play correctly, they would choose one part of the picture to make. Our walls are still adorned with many of these pictures.

If they had a difficult piece to learn, they would choose a small gift from a favorite shop and it was put on a high shelf. On the day they learned the music, it was their prize. We have many soft cuddly toys named after composers that commemorate their successes. …