If you are a Suzuki parent, or any parent who needs to enforce daily instrument practice in your home, you need this book. Even if your children do not take music lessons, as a homeschooling parent, you can benefit from Helping Parents Practice. The author, Edmund Sprunger, has put a lot of psychology into this book and it’s only the first volume.
To be honest, I am not sure I can handle volume 2. Yet. I am still digesting this one. It’s not another book to make parents feel guilty, OK? The subtitle is “Ideas for Making It Easier.” And I tell you, I did not get the subtitle until about page 50.
But that is the whole premise of the book. In short, succint sections, Sprunger shares with parents what is going on in the mind of children, how to communicate, how not to say anything, how to separate feelings from behavior and much, much more.
So I will sit with this book for quite awhile. I will need to. It has taught me so much, my children’s violin teacher says she can tell the difference in me. I have changed, apparently, and this is why she recommends this book to all the parents in her studio.
I started this book thinking that I knew some things about music and practicing. After all, I took eight years of violin lessons and four years of piano. I just needed to know how to motivate my kids to practice so we stay calm and productive.
After reading this book, I now know that I have no idea what musicality is. Here are some other things I have learned:
- I have made some big mistakes in my practices with the kids,
- it is better to acknowledge their feelings than to not allow them to feel scared or nervous,
- bad behavior should not be allowed,
- I should look for one good thing they did and mention it after they finish the piece,
- I should not mention anything bad they did, especially if they fixed the other thing we were working on,
- I am the most important person in my children’s life, so when I get angry they get REALLY scared,
- when I am upset, children think I will not take care of them anymore – it does not make sense to an adult, but children do not think like an adult,
- don’t do anything, just sit there
- it’s better to be quiet than to try to fix too many things at once
- look for progress, not perfection.
I could go on and on. But it would not help you. You need this book, trust me. It will change your practice time from the most stressful time of the day to this special moment in the day you have with your child where you make music and art together. And it will teach you a lot of things.