Reprinted from the “Nurture” Journal published by the Atlanta Suzuki Piano Association

This article was written a few months after the 9/11/2001 attacks on the US. It was an attempt at that time to help families and teachers get back into the habit of listening to classical music in the house not only for their piano lessons, but also for their family wellness. The article has relevance now because the recent events although minor by comparison are still captivating.

On the morning of September 11, my husband called me from his cell phone: “You’ve got to turn on the TV!” I watched as the second plane flew into the World Trade Center. In that moment, I became a captive to the television. In the following three months, my morning routine was to check the news for the latest updates.

Recently, I turned on the disc player to listen to a piece I was teaching. In the same suddenness in which I had become captive to the TV, a feeling of deep calm and peacefulness came over me. I realized how easily and thoughtlessly that I had replaced a good habit with a bad one. In lessons that week, I asked parents: “Have you been listening?” The reply from many parents: “Not as much as usual.”

In one sense, everyone has been captive to recent events. It was interesting to me however, that as I listened to recordings less, I forgot to remind parents about listening as well. Because I was uninspired, there were no stories to tell about listening, certain pianist, or new discs to listen to.

As a child, while my parents played and respected music as an important part of life, the TV was king of the house. This was the habit learned from my childhood. As an adult, I have rebelled against this way of life to such an extent that I miss even really good programs. Still, what we learn as children is so strong that these habits can take over without us even knowing it!

Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Kataoka teach us that each day is like a life. The morning is a new beginning and a very important time to have music on in the house. This creates the habit of listening for that day. With music in the morning, the whole day can evolve from that center of calmness.

As adults, it is so difficult to get rid of bad habits! For the sake of humanity, let’s work hard to help children acquire good habits!