Obviously students need to listen to their Suzuki Music more than twice as long as their practice time in order for the model in their minds and hearts to be stronger than the “model” of their own playing.
These days, I have become very concerned about the QUALITY of the sound which projects our student’s Suzuki recordings.
I have discovered that most of my students are listening to MP3’s ripped from their purchased CD’s. Many of them listen to their iPhones (or the equivalent) in their homes or wherever they are during the day and in the evenings.
Unfortunately, iPhones have tiny and very inadequate speakers! Recently I have been asking all of my students to bring their listening devices to me during their lessons so that I can ascertain the quality of the sound they are hearing. In each case, students who have been listening primarily on inferior equipment have poor tone and difficulty learning new pieces! Their parents tell me that they themselves simply cannot hear the difference but the students absolutely can!
I think that inferior listening equipment is connected to students not wanting to listen!
We go to such lengths to make certain that the student’s violins can produce a good sound. In order to catch the tone and musical sensitivity of the masters playing on the recordings, I feel strongly that their listening equipment must also play clearly and beautifully! THEN perhaps they will want to listen to the recordings more often!!
I have been on rides with students in their cars and have been impressed with the quality of the sound from the beautiful speakers in the cars. For most students, their cars are also surprisingly quiet inside- almost hermetically sealed! This allows for quality listening over their car speakers and so I have no complaints about their listening in the car in most cases. However, car listening is never enough!
Listening with earbuds is good for “active” listening. Active listening involves activities such as watching the score for notes and dynamics, or ghost bowing in the air along with the music. For this type of listening earbuds are wonderful – especially when one is shared with a parent!
Quiet and consistent listening in the background is key to the Suzuki Method Mother tongue approach! For this reason, passive listening with earbuds seems divisive and unnatural, cutting students away from their parents and families. I do not think that earbuds are the solution to proper listening.
Appropriate Suzuki listening equipment needs to be provided by the parent to ensure that the Suzuki music is heard in a beautiful way thought the home and play areas. The Suzuki music should be quiet yet audible for everyone to hear together. Quality speakers can be purchased for very little money these days, especially compared to the cost of the violin, violin lessons and the progress that can be doubled by correct listening!
Some “docking stations” for ipods, iphones etc. are equipped with proper speakers. I am still researching the best docking speakers to recommend. I would love to hear your suggestions!
As I was growing up learning the Suzuki Method in the 60’s and 70’s, I had no choice but to listen to the large LP records. I listened on my father’s large record player. I remember putting my ear to the large speaker to carefully learn the shifts in the 2nd movement of Vivaldi A minor. In Japan, Dr. Suzuki showed me the proper way to listen. He turned on the large record player and allowed the record player to start itself. He sat down in a comfortable chair with the room dimly lit and simply enjoyed the beautiful music while relaxing together with me.
In order for our students to understand the subtle musical nuances, phrasing, tone color, bowings and intonation of each piece prior to learning the piece, listening MUST occur with the best sound quality possible!
Please help your student’s parents to remedy this situation!
I believe that in this way listening will become more enjoyable for everyone and therefore occur more frequently!