Dr. Suzuki is reported to have said that he could tell the quality of player you are by how well they play Twinkle.
Playing Twinkle is the first major milestone in Suzuki. But the goal is not to play it one time and forget it. Repetition builds stamina, muscle memory, and practice discipline.
The purpose of the 100s Chart is to play Twinkle one hundred times. I got this idea from Edmund Sprunger and have used it with every student who starts from scratch.
Specifically, this is how it works for playing violin:
Student learns to play Twinkle and Variations. (It is recommended to start with the Twinkle Variation rhythms on open strings first (see the Twinkle Cards).
Once the student can play Twinkle satisfactorily, I hand out the 100s Chart.
Each time the student plays Twinkle in any rhythm, they get to put a sticker, smiley face, or mark into a box.
Students take the 100s Chart home and bring it back to each lesson. (I usually write “100s Chart” on their Practice Sheet, or ask the practice parent to write this down when taking notes.)
Check back in each lesson to the progress. Play through the variations again in a lesson, fill out more of the chart together, and encourage the student that it won’t take long to get to 100.
As they are filling out the chart I begin asking them to play two rhythms in a row (two complete Twinkle Variations), then do three in a row, and so on. To graduate Twinkle, I have students fill out the 100s Chart and be able to play all the rhythms plus theme back-to-back without stopping.
Students often ask for another chart after they complete one.
Playing Twinkle over and over helps with memorization, ease and fluency of technique, and it serves as basic repertoire to build on. The sense of accomplishment they have at the end of this process is profound, and guarantees a new level of dedication as you move into the next pieces in Book One.