The 2017-18 lesson calendar begins next week. Below are a few things to help prepare for a great year!
Instruments: If you our your child are just starting out, I advise students to wait a few weeks before renting a violin. During the first few lessons we will work on violin posture and attention and work on developing a basic bow hold.
Practice: If you are a returning student, please prepare for your first lesson by reviewing the pieces we’ve worked on — I advise starting with Twinkles if the violin has been in the case quite a bit this summer. Dust off and listen to your Suzuki CDs or download the repertoire from iTunes to your listening devices. iTunes links:
- Volume 1 violin: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/suzuki-violin-school-vol-1/id862413173
- Volume 2 violin: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/suzuki-violin-school-vol-2/id859300303
- Volume 3 violin: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/suzuki-violin-school-vol-3/id859306032
Parent Partner Practice Tips:
- Choose a practice time that is near another activity you do daily such as making coffee in the morning, after pouring a drink after work or after snack when your child gets home from school. Linking tasks helps create a routine.
- Spend time thinking about why you or your child are learning to play the violin. Share these goals with family members and try to keep them in mind when the going seems tough. Goal setting gives practical reasons for wanting to do the work of practice.
- Spend 2 minutes at the start of practice defining what needs to be accomplished.
- Include watching short videos or listening to repertoire as part of the practice.
- Positive attitude. Make it clear that you enjoy supporting your child’s practicing.
- Begin practice with easier material. Confident learners continue to keep trying.
- Recognize and praise effort.
- Offer encouraging, focused feedback as well as general praise to encourage students to work with purpose.
- Offer ways for students to self monitor work — now and then record a piece and have student evaluate some aspect while watching the playback.
- Provide models, samples and examples. Listen to lots of music featuring the student’s instrument and make plans to attend lots of concerts!
- Tell your child how much you value their hard work and ability to play their instrument. Remind them it is a source of pleasure for you to hear them play.
- Enter the teaching studio 3-5 minutes before your lesson time to observe the last few minutes of the prior lesson and get instruments and bows out of cases before your lesson starts.
- Bring a notebook to lessons in which you or I will write practice assignments.
- I encourage parents to attend lessons. Parents are encouraged to take notes at lessons so you can offer clear written and verbal directions during practice. Students who know how to do their work well will be less apt to check out during practice than those who don’t know what to do.
- Siblings are welcome to watch lessons. Bring drawing paper and markers or another another quiet (but not screen dependent) lesson activity. I may ask siblings to help monitor certain aspects of playing. I will let parents know if a sibling is too distracting.
- Please do use electronic devices into the studio. Screens tend to distract me and the students. I will make an exception if the parent would like to video lessons or take pictures of great bow holds, etc.
- I will recognize parents as the home teacher, however during lessons please try to refrain from co-teaching or coaching from the side line.
Group Class: The Suzuki Method is based on the combination of a weekly private lesson and group classes. The group classes serve to motivate and inspire students of all levels and ages. The class curriculum focuses on development and review of violin techniques relevant to students of all levels. In the group classes beginning students can play along with and model the more advanced players, inspiring them to work towards a more advanced level of playing. Meanwhile, the more advanced students work on leadership skills and ensemble playing. The Goals of the Suzuki Group Class include:
- The development of good listening skills when performing in a group setting
- Creating a nurturing, supportive and encouraging community of students and their families
- Generating a strong incentive to practice and improve without relying on competitiveness
Group class usually follows one of the following formats:
- Playdowns (Rep Class)… A pianist is on hand and students play through the common repertoire or songs in the Suzuki books. Generally the most experienced students begin playing, and students join in to play the songs they know as they are played.
- Master Class… Individual students play pieces and the teacher provides feedback to the individual student while the other students observe.
- Regular Class… Regular group class is more free wheeling. The purpose is to help students build confidence, review skills taught in private lessons, provide motivation for practice and playing, and learn how to learn and participate in a group. The work is usually focused on reinforcing the stance of a violinist, developing endurance, reinforcing the bow hold, developing focus and concentration, and working on ensemble listening and playing. We also work on understanding and responding to discipline, boundaries, and expectations in a group classroom setting through cultivation of a special place we come together to share our music.
Register for group class here: http://www.mcmcvt.org/suzuki-method-group-class.html