Just a Few Things I Learned (Or Was Reminded Of) – Conference Recap

It’s been just about a week since the 2014 Suzuki Conference ended last week in Minneapolis and this is the first I’ve written about it. May seem like a long time, but really, I needed that time to decompress and think about all the wonderful information that was dispensed in those sessions. It was truly an amazing experience and I plan on going to as many in the future as I am able. I learned so much about being a violin teacher and a Suzuki parent that it would be impossible to include everything in this post. Here are just a few of the things I learned at conference, and also what I learned about traveling with a little one in tow.

1) Car naps are essential.

I don’t think Otto really took a nap anywhere but his car seat for the six days that we were there. He woke up really early every day because I had to and we were in the same bedroom, but then usually went back to sleep an hour or so later, so I really consider that a continuation of nighttime sleep. What I do know is after that, he just took naps in the car while he and Kyle explored the city. They went to so many parks and spent so much time outside. My kid is way blonder now. 🙂

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(first time on a swing – so not impressed)

2) The passage of time really doesn’t matter much when it comes to great friends (and colleagues.)

I saw many people I hadn’t seen for a really long time. People from college (including my violin professor), colleagues I’ve gotten to know recently, and a couple of old friends. I also met a ton of great new people. What I can say for certain is that it doesn’t matter how long ago I saw any of these people. We pick up right where we left off. And I know that will happen again when I see them in the future (probably at the next conference.) It’s such a wonderful thing knowing that you can get along just as well with people as you used to even if you haven’t been able to see them for a long time!

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3) You need smarter people than you to tell you things you already know.

I can’t tell you how many times I was sitting in a session listening to a teacher (most of the time one who knows way more than I do) say something extremely wise that made me think to myself, “DUH!” As in, “I knew that, but why have I never thought of it that way before?” Like I said before, those no way I could include all of those moments in this post. Just a few of those gems were, “Listening is 10X as important as practicing” and “Anyone who needs the Suzuki Method in a hurry, doesn’t need the Suzuki Method.” Just getting some of these wise words into my brain and remembering to put them into practice will help so much to improve my teaching.

4) It never gets old hearing children play, or even just enjoy, music.

I cannot get over the way I feel when I watch young ones play music. And the feeling is even more intense when I see my own little one enjoy and recognize music. We attempted to take Otto to the benefit concert during the conference and that was pretty much a failure. It was late, he was antsy, and concert halls make your whining child seem 1000X louder than is probably actually being. So we left at intermission. However, the next day we attended the final concert, which was much less formal. Otto could walk around and even dance to the familiar Suzuki tunes he hears so often in our home. It was great! And I am so looking forward to seeing him develop musically in the years to come.

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5) No matter how great a trip is, getting home is better.

I had such a wonderful time at conference, and in Minneapolis in general. I’m really looking forward to the next one in two years. But really, being away makes me appreciate home. Traveling with a little one is hard work and getting back into a normal routine feels amazing. And what good is learning new stuff if you can’t use it? I’ve only taught one day since returning from conference and I already felt myself using the things I learned in my teaching. I’m back my normal summer schedule this week and I am so excited to be back home, using the things I learned to improve my teaching!