Skip to main content

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 expectations as an eight-year-old.  The point being that the student understand that there are expectations.

Expectations are not the same thing as frustrations.  All students become frustrated with their studies.  It is a natural part of the learning process.  Therefore it is crucial for a student to understand that he is expected to keep up with his musical studies no matter what.  The moment that belief is questioned, the parent, teacher, student triangle breaks down.



Popular posts from this blog

Principles of Sowing and Reaping for the Suzuki Parent: 5 Steps to Beginning Suzuki Success by Preparing the Soil

Last school year, I started a group of 4-5 year old students in a pre-twinkle cello class. One mother actively ignited her daughter Ella’s interest in the cello before enrolling in the program. Over the course of a few months, she helped Ella prepare to engage in a new learning process. They observed lessons, listened to cello music, talked about the cello, and actively built Ella’s excitement - all before starting lessons.

This experience allowed me to see how much a parent can cultivate their child’s interest, motivation, and readiness. It gave me a new appreciation for the parents’ role in preparing young children for a positive Suzuki experience.

Here are five ways to prepare the soil to help your child succeed in a Suzuki experience.

1. Build Your Knowledge

Parents are integral to the success of the Suzuki process. If you start a young child in a Suzuki program, your role as a parent will be very active. Your knowledge and education about the Suzuki method and philosophy helps y…

The Private Teaching Business Model

Over my years of teaching I've come across a wide variety of interpretations about the private teaching business model.  I feel that this is a natural result of the type of society we live in.  Many services these days are either "subscriptions" or "appointments."  For example, a gym membership is a subscription.  You pay a monthly fee to use the facility at any time during their hours of operation.  A doctor's visit or a haircut is an "appointment."  You call ahead to set up a time, you show up and then pay after the services have concluded.

With most services falling into one of these two categories, most people try to rationalize music lessons as one or the other.  However, music lessons are neither subscriptions or appointments.  They are actually a combination of both if the business entity is going to be successful.

The reasons why this hybrid business model occurs are:

1)  The service itself is centered around personal attention (appointmen…

Martial Arts and Music

I remember a few years ago I was having a conversation with one of my adult students about martial arts and music.  I always looked forward to my conversations with this student because she happened to be a fabulous Montessori teacher and founded what ended up being one of the biggest Montessori schools here in San Diego.  So she was this wealth of knowledge and it was such a privilege for me to be able to "pick her brain" from time to time.

Going back to the conversation, she observed that music and martial arts work really well together because they both required the same type of focus.  I have practiced martial arts for almost ten years so this is an opinion I have had for a long time but it surprised me to hear it coming from someone else.

Both music and martial arts revolve around the idea of a focused body and mind.  Teaching an extremely young student how to keep their instrument in place for one Twinkle is more mental training rather than physical.  Holding a light …