The Compass Blog

2018 Suzuki Conference - Minneapolis, MN


May 27, 2018


I've been waiting for 2 years to attend this conference.  In that 2 years, I worked with the International Suzuki Association for rights to use the trademark, I refined the books after input from parents, students and teachers, and I waited.  I waited to meet all the wonderful and dedicated teachers who have a passion for Dr. Suzuki's mission and method.  It was worth the wait. 


I had a booth in the exhibit hall, and enjoyed talking with mostly teachers and some parents about the Suzuki triangle.  Many teachers who have sat on all sides said that the parent side was the most difficult, and the one that they (even as teachers by trade) struggled with the most.  It affirmed what I've felt.  It's hard.  


Reflecting on that triangle made me think about the unique opportunity for all three sides to be equal, supportive, and important.  While each triangle is unique, I'm sure that Dr. Suzuki would believe that each can be successful - and I think that the Lesson Compass books can help with that. 


Teachers can help parents by teaching them what they need to know.  What notes to take - when to take part, and when to let go and let their child take the lead.  Parents can "lean in" - put down the cell phones, listen, write, and participate.  Even if they don't know how to play the instrument, they can learn along with their child.  Students can help by keeping their end of the deal.  Practice, take initiative, try to enjoy their self, learn and have fun.   These are all things we can capture in our Lesson Compass practice books. 


When all three sides engage, the triangle is most effective.  


After the conference, my triangle is ready to re-engage!  I'm going to make more of an effort to help my kids with more purposeful practice, and my kids are going to keep their eye on their goals, and our teachers have already had a bit of a conference to make a game plan moving forward.  It's exciting for not only these new books, but also for me as a parent.  


Summer Goals


July 18, 2017

Are your children or students motivated to achieve goals they set for themselves?  Learning the consequences of getting out only what you put in is one of the greatest life lessons.  Seems like the weekly check-in at lessons is a great way to manage that lesson.  Did you practice and are you proud of your accomplishments (no matter how big or small)? Or are you worried about what your teacher will say?


If you haven't set any summer goals yet - do it today!  


What's the point of learning an instrument?


March 21, 2017

One of my first experiences of observing Suzuki classes was a mother on the verge of yelling at her daughter who was no older than 6 in the hall after a group class.  This mother had taken notes in the group class and went on to go note-by-note on what her daughter did or did not do well.  This 6 year old just looked off into the distance with a vacant look.  I decided at that moment that this wasn't going to be me.  My daughter had asked ME to learn the cello.  SHE pushed the topic, and the passion was in her heart to play.  I wanted to cultivate that passion - not squelch it.  


So what's the point of lessons?  For some, I think they have goals of 1st chair, a recording contract, and world tours. For others it is just "what we do." For me? For us? It's about feeding the soul, being a good person, learning a life skill, and enjoying ourselves.  We've had moments of tears when we get stuck - but the smiles, the laughter, and the pride far out way the moments of defeat.  


So, whatever your reason, be true to it and do it the best way you know how.  


The best advice ever: ALWAYS say this ____ and never this____ on the car ride home after a lesson.... Read now >>


Here is a great TED talk about how music is good for your brain.

From a note to a book - Thank You!


March 1, 2017

Wow, it's been a long time coming.  I want to thank all of those who have helped to encourage, and inspire me to put this all together.  I want to thank the International Suzuki Association for grating me the rights to use the Suzuki Method terminology.  Mostly, I want to thank those who choose to educate their children an instrument.  The beauty in the hearts of children playing music is the most complex mix of talent, knowledge, feeling, and unity.  Music is forever a universal language.  

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This work represents the view of its author, and does not necessarily represent the view of the International Suzuki Association or its

regional associations. These materials are not intended to replace authorized Suzuki® Method™ teacher training, study with a

qualified Suzuki teacher, or Suzuki® Method™ core material, print or recorded. Permission to use  Suzuki® Method™ granted by the ISA on March 3, 2017.