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Taking the Lesson Home

The parent plays a critical role in the Suzuki lesson environment.  Of the three people involved -- teacher, student, parent -- the parent by far has the most difficult job.  But they also have the most power to change a student.  The teacher may be an excellent teacher but if the lesson concepts are not reinforced at home a child will not learn them.

The teacher has something of an advantage in that they are usually not the child's parent.  So even if the student is comfortable with their teacher, they will almost always be more attentive in the lesson compared to their at-home practice.

Which leads us to the classic scenario that unfolds something like this:

Student has a good lesson, assignments for the week are given.  Parent tries to have the student do the assignment at home.  Apocalyptic tantrum begins, World War III follows.  Student attends next lesson not having practiced.

Which is why I joke that being a private music teacher is just shy of being a full-fledged therapist.

The most difficult part of this situation is viewing the scenario in a detached manner.  Consider: the main advantage the teacher has is the child knows their relationship is straight business.  The lines become blurred at home.  For one thing, there an emotional bond between parent and child.  For another, the practicing is taking place at home and not in the business-only studio.

Which means that the parent must learn how to take the lesson home.  Do not just write down what the assignment is for the week.  Write down the assignment and how the teacher is delivering the lesson.  Is the teacher calm?  Is there a particular word that seems to make the concept click?  How did the teacher get the child to do something?

Teaching isn't magic.  It takes years to figure out how to phrase something or how to introduce a concept in a way that children will understand.  It is part of the parent's job to imitate this.  The lesson must be taken home.

If the teacher was calm, the parent must be calm.  If the parent is getting flustered or angry, they've already lost.  If the teacher used a particular word, the parent should use the same word.  The student should imitate the teacher's playing.  The parent should imitate the teacher's teaching.


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