The Carrot Seed
"A little boy planted a carrot seed... every day he pulled up the weeds around the seed and sprinkled the ground with water."
So unfolds the story of The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss, a book well loved by Music at Heart pupils. It tells of a little boy who nurtures a seed he has planted in the ground, looking after it despite his mother, father and brother telling him it will not grow. In the fullness of time, trusting his instincts, his daily repetitive care and persistance are rewarded when he harvests a prize specimen, so big it will hardly fit in his wheelbarrow!
read more: Benefits of Reading to Young Children
The Carrot Award
In the Music at Heart studio, the Carrot Award is presented to a recorder pupil who has demonstrated the qualities of character, either in musical or personal development, we see in the little boy. The recipient gets to take home Mr Carrot, a loveable soft toy variety, for a week, and is asked to play his / her favourite piece to him every day.
Caryl, a Suzuki mum, writes in an email: “Wow! What a motivating effect this has had Heather! Freya is thrilled - we have had to phone lots of family members to tell them! Thank you Heather. The girls are learning so much from you and so am I!"
Self-belief and perseverance
The little boy demonstrated a strong self-belief, that what he is doing will bring success in the end - even though his early efforts seem futile, and in spite of the negative remarks of others.
In Japanese culture this quality of character is known as kan, or intuition, and it is possible to learn kan just like any other ability. Suzuki says, “There is a positive difference in the state of kan between a person trained from infancy and a person not so trained. Kan will grow."
With Music at Heart, I will help your child own a ‘kan do’ (!) mentality and develop a strength of character to accept delayed gratification. This will help him/her face every challenge of life, not just the musical ones.
Repetition and commitment
The little boy demonstrates the importance of repetition – he pulls up the weeds and sprinkles the ground with water every day. His repetition is not just mindless, however: his actions are performed again and again with careful thought and a view to improvement – he pulls up the weeds to stop the plant from choking and waters it every day, doing his best to help it grow well.
Suzuki says, “If we cannot be patient but stop a project half way through - then later start again, drop it, start again, and so on - this will not bring good results. A person who works like that will never rise over difficulties.”
With Music at Heart I hope to develop in your child a healthy attitude of mind that will see him/her approaching any task undertaken, not just the learning of a musical instrument, with 100% effort – a whole-hearted, not a half-hearted outlook on life.
Parents and The Carrot Seed
The parents in this story are not portrayed in a good light! Their attitude is one of discouragement, and we see how the big brother picks up on this poor model and puts a damper on things, too, copying their unkind words. Moreover, the little boy is left to complete the project alone, none of his family showing a willingness to share in it.
Through Music at Heart I will help you to create a learning environment for your child that is one of mutual participation, support and encouragement, the kind of growing conditions provided by the little boy for his carrot seed, which produced such impressive results!