Hi! My name is Janet and I'm a Suzuki teacher. I'm also a mom of three little kiddos, ages 3 1/2, 2, and 6 months. They play piano and violin, which seems like a given considering the fact that they have been sitting in my studio during lessons every day since they were 8 weeks old, and now attend their own music class with me three times a week.
When a musician's child plays an instrument at a young age, people often say that it must be genetic. There may be a fascinating genetic component, but since we have limited control over that as parents and educators, let's stop talking about innate talent and focus on environment.
My children speak English because I speak English, so their relationships are dependent on it. Japanese children speak Japanese because their families speak Japanese. I used to talk about this to parents and end with the conclusion that they should try to listen to their Suzuki CD as close 16 hours a day as possible. I still advocate for all-day background listening, but as I watched my own children's language skills develop, I realized that language has to be spoken and heard in context of social need. So this year, I am developing a series of Experience Music classes that teach families how to prepare an environment that leads to automatic learning.
The first quarter of this class was a huge success. Students are already gaining enough physical knowledge to handle a violin safely and play around on a piano without banging. They are accustomed to the lesson environment and know what the roles of teachers, parents, and students are in the class. I look forward to spring quarter as we explore the next layer of learning!