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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 are things going at home."

Most importantly, develop the parent's musicality from listening.  Give the parent the tools to appreciate the larger musical world outside of the immediate private lesson.


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