January: Renew your Listening Habits!

January: Renew your Listening Habits!

Dr. Suzuki says to start with 6 hours a day…


How are those listening habits going? Are you listening *every day*? Have you figured out HOW your family prefers to listen–spotify? amazon music? itunes? On your child’s device? Your own phone? etc….

If you have fallen off of the Suzuki family listening habit wagon, you’re not alone–it happens to the best of us. But not for long! And we ALWAYS regroup and improve!

Here are 4 things to consider when trying to up your listening game.

  • It is *your* responsibility as the parent of a music student to make the listening happen. Don’t leave it up to the child. Whether your child is a 5-year-old beginner or a 14-year-old learning major violin concertos…turn on the music in the house! It only needs to be in the background and it needs to be on regularly so it becomes a part of their day.


  • Do you hear the music they are studying or are about to study? Make sure *you* hear these pieces as well. It will be enjoyable for you as a music parent to be able to recognize your child’s pieces and to hear whether they are improving and sounding like the recording…or not.  Don’t use headphones for your child for this particular listening. This listening should be done through a Bluetooth speaker of decent quality. Here is the one we use in my house.  We have two–one upstairs and one downstairs.


  • Speaking of technology….HOW do you listen? If we believe that music is a language (and we do!), then we must acknowledge that it needs to be heard and constantly present in our child’s environment regularly in order to be absorbed by their ears and therefore contribute to their learning process. While I have feelings about how the International Suzuki Association chooses to distribute (or rather, NOT distribute) the official recordings (newly recorded by the AMAZING Hilary Hahn!!), we can find ways to make this easy in our modern-day life.
           Here are a few ways:


  • Finding these links and downloading is only the first step in the process of setting up a successful (read: regular and frequent) listening practice for our child. The next step is connecting these downloads to a device that will play to a Bluetooth speaker. In our house, we have Spotify on every device. Anyone can connect their device (a parent’s phone, a sitter’s phone, a child’s iPad or other device) to the upstairs or downstairs Bluetooth speaker and get listening going this way. I come down in the morning and turn it on first thing when the kids come into the kitchen.
Happy Listening!
Give the Gift of Music

Give the Gift of Music


Climate change…

Experience gift…


…many great reasons to give the gift of music lessons this season!


At OPSA, our specialty is beginning children on their musical journey around the age of 5 or 6 years old. If you have a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or other loved one around this age, consider offering music lessons with OPSA as a gift this year. We have a fantastic music program that starts children out in both a private violin lesson as well as a group lesson. The ability and opportunity to make music with friends is truly the gift of a lifetime. Attending concerts where you can see all of the skills that your little one has developed through music will be such a thrill! With our Equitable Tuition Program, music lessons are accessible to all. Contact us today to inquire about our combined program of private lessons and group classes and to learn about class schedules. Now, enjoy this video of some of our current students performing in our annual benefit concert from December of 2019.

Acapella App Fun

Acapella App Fun

What do your OPSA teachers do when they can’t perform with others during a pandemic??

They create their own music… with themselves!

Enjoy this recent fun that Meg Lanfear (OPSA founder, director, and violin teacher) had with the App Acapella.

Parent Class Resources: First and Second Classes

Parent Class Resources: First and Second Classes

Parent Classes at OPSA

As part our program, we hold parent classes for all of our new Suzuki families. These meetings occur during the beginning group class so as to facilitate parent attendance. Having families in our program who are familiar with the Suzuki method and philosophy not only strengthens our Suzuki community, but also increases the joy and success our students experience with their music lessons. We are grateful to parents for partnering with us and creating the time to be present. 

As I was sending out emails to the parents in this class, I thought it might be helpful to simply post these resources here for everyone to benefit. Here are the resources and assignments from our first and second parent classes. I will post the resources discussed after each class. 

Session One: 

The Suzuki Association has a lot of useful information for parents. You can become a member and support the work of the SAA as well as receive the Suzuki Journal which includes lots of helpful articles. Coming up soon is the SAA Parents as Partners event. This is an online event that you can check into when it is convenient for you and watch many videos made by teachers and parents offering advice regarding practice, etc. Here is more information.

Also mentioned in our session with regards to the SAA are the Suzuki summer institutes around the country (and Belize and Canada!). Here is the link to the page about these options.

Here is the Beyond The Music Lesson podcast

There is also this podcast: Building Noble Hearts.

Quick recap of assignments: 1. Read Pages 1-36 in Nurtured By Love, available in many places, including the op public library.  

2. Place post it notes around house/car or set an alarm on your phone to remind you to turn on the Suzuki recording. (Make sure YOU hear the recordings, too, not just the child—not with headphones, for example).

3. Reflect on your ”Why?’ (Simon Sinek: https://youtu.be/2Ss78LfY3nE). Why do Suzuki lessons? What do you hope your child (and you) will learn?

Session Two:

Growth mindset resources:

Knowing about and/or believing in growth mindset is a good start, but living it and making it part of our daily and regular language especially with our kids is another. These resources can help.

1. Book by Carol Dweck: Mindset. And more follow up  info for parents/schools. 

2. Podcast for kids re growth mindset.

3. Podcast re growth mindset pitfalls. (Stefanie, the host, is a brilliant local Oak Parker!). 

4. “Kan“: p.46 in NBL. “Without stopping, without haste, carefully taking a step at a time forward will surely get you there. To commit oneself to untiring patience and strong endurance, what we call kan—intuition or sixth sense—is an absolute necessity in education”. 

5.  Article about Tiger Woods and how his father taught him (a lot of parallels with the Suzuki philosophy). An excerpt: ”For a dad so involved in his son’s sports life, Earl saw golf as merely a vehicle to teach life lessons. ‘My purpose in raising Tiger was not to raise a golfer. I wanted to raise a good person.’ Golf was a way to learn about personal integrity, focus, commitment (it’s the only sport where you have to call penalties on yourself). His greatest thrill was not seeing Tiger win the Masters; it was seeing the Tiger Woods Foundation open the $25M Tiger Woods Learning Center, an institute for inner-city kids. Unlike so many parents, Earl didn’t see sport as a way to earn a good life; he saw it as a way to learn one.“