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. 

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