Review, Music Making, and Confidence Building

By Valerie Malvinni on Nov 23, 2013 at 09:08 PM in Santa Barbara Violin Tips

Often parents and students think that reviewing previous songs is pointless, and that it hinders progress. This is a common misconception, and the reverse is true. Review helps both to polish technique and to improve musicality.

While learning a particular piece, the student was also encountering new techniques and probably new musical concepts. When the student revisits that same piece after learning more difficult pieces, the student is freer to explore their musical creativity and to achieve a better tone. At a Suzuki Institute, I remember hearing students in an advanced class (book eight and above) perform “Judas Maccabeaus” from book two. Their tone and bow control was incredible, well past what any student in book two is capable of. Thus in this way, review can lead to a more thoughtful, powerful performance, again, as the student is not struggling to learn notes, rhythms, or bowings, and can focus solely on playing music.

Beyond the foundation of correct intonation and rhythm, a great performance tells a story that is filled with emotion and beauty. Playing a piece that is beneath one’s technical and musical level gives the player the opportunity to focus on communicating emotional and other ideas about the piece. In this way a player can also learn how to connect with an audience, which is one of the main goal’s of making music.

There is also another reason to revisit old pieces. By doing this, it allows the student to play in Suzuki group classes and Institutes with confidence. If the pieces are memorized, the student has much more fun in group classes, and again can focus on the joyful experience of making group music.

It is important that through review, we remember that the point is also to cultivate self-esteem and to instill confidence. My goal as a teacher is to make every child feel that they can do it, that they are having fun, and that they realize that they can achieve their musical goals.







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