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Showing posts from May, 2014

The Role of the Suzuki Student

The role of the Suzuki student is challenging because more often than not the student does not realize he even has a role.  Children, especially young children, are aware that they have private lessons and that they must practice.  Anything beyond that is not part of how they think.

Whether or not a child is aware of his role, he does have one.  It is the job of the student to work with the parent and the teacher.  A good but extreme example is if the teacher helps the child to play a note.  The child is shown where a finger must be placed and how to pull the bow across the string.  The child can be shown but eventually he just has to do it.  It is not the job of the parent or the teacher to pull the bow across the string for the child.  The student must be willing to contribute to this learning process.

As I said, this is an extreme example and the student's contributions to the lesson environment or highly dependent on age.  A four-year-old does not have the same set of expectat…

The Role of the Suzuki Parent

Of the three parts of the Suzuki triangle (teacher, parent and child), the parent has the power to create the most change.  It is also the most difficult of the three roles as the parent must assume the role of both student and teacher.

The role of the Suzuki parent is complex, especially if the parent does not know how to play the musical instrument.  In the private lesson the parent must be the student.  The parent's job is to observe and take notes so the lesson may be recreated at home.

In order to have a young child to succeed at such a complicated task, a Suzuki parent must completely internalize the concept that he or she is the at-home teacher.  What's more, the child will be having lessons with his or her at-home teacher more often than lessons with a private instructor.  Again, heady stuff if the parent does not personally know how to play.

A Suzuki parent must approach the lesson with an open mind and be willing to accept that the child will not be the only one lea…

Parent, Teacher and Child Triangle

The parent, teacher and child triangle comes up a lot in Suzuki education.  The reason why this image is discussed ad nauseum is because there's really a lot of layers to the concept, all of which need to be in place in order for learning to take place.
The first thing to notice is that in a triangle all sides are equal.  Successful music lessons are not about the teacher being all-powerful and bestowing the gift of knowledge upon the lowly minions.  Every part of the triangle has a job.  If any part is missing, the triangle collapses.
The second thing to understand is that music lessons are a give and take experience.  Everyone needs to be on the same page.  The student will struggle.  Struggling is necessary for growth to occur.  But it is important that the student knows what is expected of him.  It cannot be the parent or teacher doing all the work.  The student must contribute as well, even if it is only a grudging contribution.
Finally, the key element that holds all sides …