Provide the Opportunity

It is a beautiful thing to watch someone succeed!  Two lovely ladies had that experience at performances over the summer of 2017.

The first was a child performing for a live radio broadcast.  For the entire school year, we had been working on extending her concentration and developing her ability to focus on the performance despite distractions.  She participated in a weekly performance class.  Although her mother and I had given her spots to gaze upon or points to remember during the performance, she was still making errors each and every time we saw her eyes drawn into the activities of the audience members.  

The second child was preparing for her Suzuki Violin Book 1 Graduation.  This was to be a home concert featuring her with her 2 sisters.  Again, every lesson was spent working on maintaining focus throughout the selections, without consistent success.

Young children are not capable of “bringing their ‘A’ game” at any given moment.  Teachers must provide them with an actual performance opportunity in order for them to put into practice what we cultivate in the lesson.  Sometimes we wait to schedule a child for a performance until we see them demonstrate the desired result in the lesson.  I’m not suggesting that we should push a student to perform when not prepared, but I do encourage you to give the student the actual concert to practice true focus and concentration.

It was a magical moment for each girl at the performance!  The student playing for the radio had a tiny memory slip interrupting her musical line.  She paused for a split second, but never looked away from the violin.  She went on unaffected and played a fine rendition.  The student playing for the Graduation bobbled a bit while letting her eyes wander through the crowd of friends and family.  I saw the moment when she remembered the lesson mantra of “look at what you want to think about.”  From then on, she never faltered and finished strong!

These ladies will always remember their success.  They put into practice what had been taught in the lesson.  Since they each have now had the actual experience, and seen the result of their efforts, I believe they will be able to recreate the concert in their mind’s eye, during the lesson or practice sessions at home.