Over halfway there on our TV-Free project! The kids are doing very well. Little Guy was dedicated today (baby dedication in our church is about publicly stating our intent to raise him in a faith-based household and dedicating him to God). It was a big deal for us – all three of my grandparents made the trek to be there, as well as all of our parents, four of our siblings, and our unofficially adopted aunt and uncle. We had a big party afterward celebrating the dedication and his belated first birthday. It was a lot of fun!
Little Girl has also been having a great time lately. I have been learning more about the Suzuki method of music teaching. I grew up with Suzuki training myself, so I know that it works – but I didn’t really know how it works until I went to the Institute in Pittsburgh last week. Little Girl went to one of the concerts with me and became obsessed with the idea of playing piano when she saw all the little kids dressed up and playing on stage. She was extremely disappointed that she couldn’t go on stage, and begged me to teach her! I couldn’t ask for a better guinea pig.
The haters on the Suzuki method talk about how Suzuki-trained musicians are “robots” because they only imitate and nothing else. Really, if done correctly, it’s not like that at all. The only thing that separates the Suzuki method from traditional piano training is that Suzuki teachers are willing to start students much younger, because they start children as young as 3 training by ear. Suzuki students do read music, just they don’t start until they have a basic understanding of the instrument. I started as an older student (4th grade) and learned to read music from the beginning. A three-year-old just can’t do that.
Little Girl asks me to play piano with her no less than three times a day. After a week, she can identify the groups of three black keys vs. two black keys, she knows which notes sound low and which sound high and which hands play which. She knows that “D” is in the middle of the two black keys. She can play preparatory exercises for the first song.
The great thing is: she thinks this is all a game. Isn’t that what music learning should be? We play games together where she is learning how to play the piano. She has this beautiful smile on her face the whole time as she discovers that she has the power to play music all by herself. Being three, she LOVES all the repetition involved in learning to play. I’m not pushing her to learn; she is pushing me to teach her. I’m thankful that I can, and that she has something special to be proud of.