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Showing posts from January, 2016

Working with the Suzuki Parent

Shinichi Suzuki is famous for his "Every Child Can" saying.  I remember, though, during a teacher training I attended the instructor said the lesser known second half to that phrase was, "...but not every parent."  The gist of the discussion was not meant to be a discouraging one.  It was merely meant to underscore the importance of parental involvement.

The Suzuki triangle is a common image shown at training courses:

If you flip the image upside down, the teacher and parent sides are the ones supporting the student.  Every part needs to be functioning or the triangle is broken.  The parent and teacher are at an equal level in the Suzuki triangle.

While the child is there to learn a musical instrument, the success of that early musical career is entirely based on the motivation and persistence of the parent.  Therefore, praise the parent at every lesson. Affirm them.  Be open to comments from the parents. Be willing to listen and change.  Ask the parent "how …

Defining a Student’s Repertoire

The Suzuki Method gets a lot of bad rap at times.  One issue that I've seen come up is the method's emphasis on the same core material.  If the Suzuki Method is separate from the books then why this devotion to those pieces?  Why not branch out?

Well the simple answer is that a Suzuki teacher could branch out.  A big reason why most of us adhere to the core repertoire is that the Suzuki Method is a worldwide entity.  It allows our students to be unified with others around the globe by giving them that same common ground.  But this doesn't mean that additional pieces cannot be added.

According to the dictionary, repertoire is: a stock of plays, dances, or pieces that a company or a performer knows or is prepared to perform.  This is exactly why reviewing old pieces is a cornerstone for Suzuki philosophy.  A piece cannot be mastered after just having learned the notes.  Just as a stage play is not ready for an audience after only one run-through.  The core pieces teach a stu…