Success Breeds Success

“Success Breeds Success” is a well know Suzuki concept that many people have heard before. On the surface it makes logical sense, but what does it look like in practice?

It’s easy to nod our heads, say: “yes that is so true” and totally forget about it when we are teaching our students or practicing with our children.

I see this concept in action in the most obvious of ways when I teach Suzuki Early Childhood classes (SECE). New students who are old enough to play an instrument with the teacher’s help, may not want to at first. Instead they often choose (and need) to observe for a number of classes.

Eventually the come up for a turn, sometimes bringing a parent up with them for reassurance.

After a time (which varies depending on the child) they start to come up for a turn, maybe quite tentatively at first.

Lots of praise is given at each of these stages. Success with observing closely leads to success on being able to do the task with help. Success at this step leads to success with independent turns.

An instrumental student goes through a similar process but sometimes it happens more slowly, and is harder to see as clearly.

success breeds success

I may have a young violin student who is learning to hold the bow. At first their fingers struggle to form the shape of a bow hold at all and we just notice the effort they put into trying it.

Over time they make a bow hold with parent help and then eventually independently (sometimes with varied success at first).

Again we praise each level of development.

Success at the effort to make a bow hold leads to success of making bow holds with the parents help. All the repetitions of that process equal success at independent bow holds down the line.

“Wow your muscles are more relaxed today!” is much more motivating for future effort and future success than pointing out the 5 things that (in fact) may still need work.

Criticism breeds insecurity and fear of failure.

Success (and celebration of that success) breeds more success.

How have you noticed this concept at work when working with your own children or students?

Have you purchased your copy of Beyond the Music Lesson: Habits of Successful Suzuki Families? Purchase and email your receipt before August 1st 2017 to Christine@Suzukitriangle.com to get bonuses including parent discussion questions, a printable PDF, and access to a facebook community where we’ll discuss topics from the book and go through a book club this coming fall. 

Dispelling a Myth about Suzuki ECE

Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) is a big passion of mine. I am always excited to talk to other teachers and new parents about why I love it so much.

My background is in Early Childhood Education and I consider teaching young students my specialty. I have taught in other ECE music programs before and there are lots of great things about them. I don’t have anything negative to say about them and I think that having a young child in any Early Childhood Music class is a wonderful thing.

However,  I think there is an idea out there that Suzuki ECE classes are the same as all those other classes and that there is no reason to teach it over any other program.

Having experience teaching both, I have to say from the teacher’s perspective this couldn’t be further from the truth. When I first watched a Suzuki ECE class I was so excited to see what was happening (and how different it was) that I knew someday this was something I needed to do.

I noticed that the parts of teaching other ECE music classes that I found frustrating or counter- productive (like the chaotic environment that I felt didn’t prepare students well for the environment of music lessons) were not happening in this class – and that everything flowed in such a natural way. I just had to find out more about it.

Now that I have taken training and started teaching SECE classes I have been thinking about how to explain what it is that makes SECE so unique. Here are five things that stand out to me that set it apart from other programs:

1. Mastery : Unlike other programs where the music (both in class & listened to at home) rotates often: in SECE we always rotate between 2 set weeks of curriculum. The repertoire we use is built upon in layers and made more advanced for the students as they master it (much like instrumental playing and review pieces) but we keep coming back to the same curriculum we know in order to build mastery.

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