Posted in Suzuki category on 9th July 2013
A Tennis Lesson
In the wake of Andy Murray's recent victory at Wimbledon, The Times has published an article entitled "How to turn your child into the next Murray," and it begins with the statement "The worst thing you can do if you want your kids to win Wimbledon is to tell them how talented they are."
The article discusses how success is not predetermined in a straightforward way: "Complex skills, like hitting a moving ball, are not encoded in the genes. They are learnt over thousands of hours of high quality practice." Replace 'hitting a moving ball' with 'playing a musical instrument' and the statement would read just the same. Parents are encouraged to praise their children for focus and hard work rather than for raw talent, as demonstrated by the work of the psychologist Professor Carol Dweck. Those who are preoccupied with talent tend to be less motivated and far less resilient.
These sentiments lie at the very heart of the Suzuki philosophy: the belief every child can learn. In the Music at Heart studio, the Carrot Award is given to pupils who demonstrate effort and perseverance in their daily practice.
Reading the article (by Matthew Syed), I immediately called to mind the very wise and helpful thoughts on praise by the Suzuki teacher Sue Hunt, posted on the Suzuki Teaching Ideas blog:
- Praise can Hurt
- Music isn't a Race
- The Right Kind of Praise