What started out as a 100 day practice challenge has been going on for two years now. The kids have practiced every day for 2 years. To me, its an awe inspiring accomplishment. To them, its just what they do.
We've relaxed a bit. You don't practice when your sick, that just encourages martyrdom. If the violins don't fit in the car with the skis for a ski trip, they get left at home. Reasonable exceptions like that.
That said, the practice challenge died a long time ago. It stopped being a challenge and became a way of life. They just practice every day.
Does that make it easy? Nope.
Does it translate to other instruments, math or Spanish? Nope.
Are all the practices cheerful and fun? Hell no.
What? They aren't cheerful and fun? Isn't it supposed to be easy by now?
The standard Suzuki advice to any challenge is that you need to "build the relationship first." Yup, build that relationship and it will all be easy-peasy. As if building a relationship is like building a stone wall that once built will last forever and will over time be covered by pretty flowers. As if once that relationship is built, the kid will never stomp off furious about the bizarre rhythms in Two Grenadiers, and the other one won't be in tears over the slurs in the Vivaldi Concerto that just don't make sense even though they did 6 months ago, and I won't ever get tired.
The wall may be built and covered with pretty flowers, but there are definitely thorns and they stick us every day. We'll keep on going, because the flowers are worth it.