Piecing Together a Tricky Section with Puzzle Erasers

Whenever I come across an adult who learned to play music as a child through the Suzuki method, I would ask them what they remembered most about their lessons or practice sessions.

"Oh, the REPETITIONS!", most would say, sometimes followed by... "I really hated doing them. They were so boring." Yet, doing repetitions is a necessary step to gaining mastery. I wished my music teacher had been specific in setting a goal of the number of repetitions to do for each tricky spot, back when I was learning to play the piano. I might have had fewer unfixed 'leaks' or 'bad guys' constantly hiding in my pieces.

Also, we automate many aspects of our day-to-day through repetition, many of which aren't always boring. For example, travelling a particular route on our daily commute, making our morning coffee or tea, tying our shoelaces. Sometimes, carrying out a repetition correctly is hugely satisfying. Like repeating a series of dance moves, bouncing a basketball, tapping a beat or executing a series of stunning moves on a video game. It's hard at first but you get into the flow, everything just 'clicks' - it feels good, it sounds good, it looks good. There's just this "oomph" in carrying out an action correctly with ease over and over again.

Doing repetitions does NOT have to be boring. It does NOT have to be a dreaded memory for your child from his Suzuki journey. It can instead be a treasured one of how you stuck around to help him find fun ways to achieve the required number of repetitions and see progress in learning.

Here's an idea to help us in getting in enough repetitions until the section that we are learning or improving feels easy for our child. Have your child earn a puzzle piece or Lego piece for every correct repetition done. At the end of it, not only does he feel the satisfaction of playing correctly AND the satisfaction of completing the required number of repetitions, he gets to revel in the awesome feeling of piecing together a puzzle or Lego creation.

3D puzzles also provide good exercise for building up fine motor skills in small hands!

Haha, not as easy as it looks!

MINIM members who received their Positive Practice Toolkit for 2 continuous months of subscription can give this a go with the puzzle eraser included in the kit. If your puzzle eraser has fewer than 4 pieces, give us a shout and we'll get an additional eraser to you for more effective repetitions.

Members of Parents Can Coach may download the full poster from the Members Studio here.

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