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Location: TUCSON, Arizona, United States

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Playing and learning

For most of the forty plus years I've lived and taught here I've listened to small children practicing outside in the summer on tiny violins the Mozart melody we know as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". They were students attending "Suzuki Week" (as we locals called the actually two-week summer camp), named for Shinichi Suzuki's method of teaching music. The beginners are known as "Twinklers" and their music constituted my entire knowledge of the work of the American Suzuki Institute, headquartered here on our campus of the University of Wisconsin. Until this year. Last week my granddaughter Addison came to practice and perform on her cello. She's been at it a year, together with her dad, my son Dan, and has reached Book Two. Now I've been to three of her solo and choir recitals. Besides being charmed by her playing and that of her cohort, I discovered that musical training has the admirable side-effect of teaching respect and appreciation. In mixed audiences of parents and numerous children as young as two I saw no fidgeting and heard no whispering during the recitals and concerts. I recalled an occasion during my undergraduate study when my poetry professor declared it a virtue of learning to read and write poems that you could then appreciate the work of others. So I found it, and so it appears, too, to apply to learning to play music. This is clearly a quality missing in those who insist upon classifying the arts as "extra-curricular", and then cutting their funding.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The purpose of children is to move and make noise." John Bailiff, Buddhism lecture, fall 1970.

11:02 AM  

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