How to practise at home

In the Suzuki Method, which we use as a basis for our programme, there are a few elements of practice which we need to incorporate at home and in rehearsals.

Listening – It is a requirement of the programme that students listen to the recordings which accompany the books daily. When you buy the book, please ensure that it has the CD with it. Please get in touch with Hugo if you do not have access to the recordings.

There are two types of listening; active and passive. When we listen actively, we listen closely to the music, doing nothing else, often with one finger on the rewind button so that we can listen to the same figure over and over again. Passive listening is when we have the music on in the car or over dinner or during homework. It really is important that this happens because without having the pieces really internalised, it becomes hard to learn new repertoire and keep up with the course.

Practising – we recommend practising at least five times a week for the programme. This will mean that your child has enough time to learn new pieces and really explore the violin, viola or cello. We have space at school to practise if it you want to practise at lunchtime. There are a few elements to practice which can break the time up and make it more structured; tonalization, review, working piece and preview. These elements should be practised in this order.

Tonalization – this is where we work on our tone production. A warm, strong, supported and compact tone needs to be practised and it should be reviewed every single practice session first. A stringed instrument can sound so fantastic that this should be the number one priority.

Review – This is where we play through all of the pieces we can play already. In this course, it is recommended that students practise every piece they know until the get near the end of Book 1. After that, every second day.

Working piece – this is where we work on new pieces which the teacher has just taught. Boxes (difficult spots) can be worked on using repetition and listening.

Preview/fun – this section is a little less prescribed…students can just play. They may wish to try to work out new pieces that they haven’t learnt yet, or just play through pieces they want to.

We follow the same structure in the morning and afternoon rehearsals too so this rhythm should become really well ingrained.