*Please read “The Four Principles of the Suzuki Method” before reading this post. Also please read the next post in the previous Twinkle Lessons Blog #4.

Dear parents,
Together we are nurturing the children to be comfortable and responsive in the environment.  Children learn naturally and directly from the environment and are absorbing everything around them.  As much as possible, we are providing a calm supportive and structured environment for optimal learning.  Having the parents as role  models for sitting criss cross, singing and clapping, and having lessons is providing a way for the children to learn naturally without too much direct instruction.

Dr. suzuki called his philosophy the mother-tongue approach, which simply means learning music the same way a child learns to speak.  We can see this happening in class as the children are listening to the songs we are singing, and the sounds we are playing and are beginning to sing along, and also to imitate their mothers lessons when it is their turn.

We are repeating the same singing and finger game activities. Through this repetition the students are developing ability.  Each time we are adding to the same activity.  For example this week we added clapping a steady beat to the name game.  On the Twinkle A rhythm we first used the rhythm sticks to copy Twinkle A as in the previous weeks, and this week we added clapping the rhythm and also clapping the steady beat for Twinkle A while I was playing. Ability Development involves repetition that builds skill through repeating what one can do, and layering gradually on top of that sturdy foundation.

The first ability is to be able to stand up and take a bow.  This develops body balance, and also shows the readiness for the lesson. It is fine if the child can bow but does not want to go to the piano.  This probably means the child is not sure what they are supposed to do, and do not want to do the wrong thing.  If the child goes to the piano without bowing it is an indication that the child wants to play the piano but is not yet ready take any instruction. Therefore the child needs more time to observe other students bowing and then having a lesson.

Dr. Suzuki named his school “Talent Education Institute” to indicate that talent can be developed in the same way children become talented at speaking.  Children learn to speak from their parents, and also from the other children around them. The twinkle class is an ideal little Talent Education Institute.  Learning each others names and observing each other have lessons is creating a community and vital center for developing motivation.

Please continue to play the Book 1 recording as many hours a day as possible for your child. Also, please play a Mozart piano concerto every day for your child as well.  This is the absolute best way to develop talent at the piano.
Thanks so much for your wonderful nurturing!
Leah Brammer

*On the finger games: They are all doing well making a ball and matching up their fingers.Have them tap their fingers together while saying the finger poem. Also try petting a stuffed animal with each finger. This is a great way to get good finger motion going. Also when you play piano explore this motion yourself, and you can ask your child to “use your fingers” when they are making sounds on the piano. The finger pads are full of neurons and are much more sensitive than the palm of the hand. By using the finger pads to produce the sounds the students are beginning to feel the connection between the finger movement and the quality of the sound.

*These are the body motions we used to sing the solfeggio for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

Do-Touch toes
Re-Touch knees
Mi-Hands on waist
Fa-Hands on shoulders
So-Hands on Head
La-hands in the air

We will also sing the beginning pieces in Book 1 using these same motions with the solfeggio.

*For the note names:
Standing up with the seat out of the way, have your child start at the lowest Do and tell them that they can play the do’s and then you will play the other notes. Use only the second finger to do this. They play Do, and then you play Re, Mi, Fa, So, la, ti, and then stop and have them play the next do. Do this up the whole piano. You could go back down if this is fun or them.

*Ready:  It is fine to have them watch you practice ready and count for you, but please wait to have them do it at home until it is introduced to your child in the lesson.

Here is a recommended Mozart Piano Concerto Recording performed by Frederick Gulda: