LESSONS AND CLASSES

Private Lessons

Private lessons are scheduled once a week. Students are expected to attend regularly and to come prepared with past assignments and all necessary materials. Parents are encouraged to attend and are required to observe the lessons of young or beginning students. Parent participation is vital to the Suzuki triangle created by the student, the teacher, and the parent. Parents are expected to take notes to be used during daily practice at home, essentially enabling the parent to become the “home teacher.”

Lesson content is determined by the student’s preparation, impending performances, and what I see as a student plays for me. I often assign small technical exercises that will prepare students for pieces in the future. Out of context, they may seem silly or insignificant, but they are important and often need to be mastered before I will move a student on.

Group Class

Attendance at group lessons is not optional and after school time slots are not available to those who do not attend. The purpose of group lessons is threefold.

 

1.The experience of playing and associating with other student musicians is not only inspiring but also introduces students to ensemble playing. Performing with peers mandates a certain level of preparedness that goes beyond lesson preparation.

2.A group lesson focuses on review material. This is not treading water. Continuous polishing of review material is necessary to layer in musicality—dynamics, emotion, ebb and flow. Musicality cannot be added to pieces until notes are mastered and it is most effectively accomplished in a group setting. Dr. Suzuki said that practicing actually begins after you know the notes. This is what we do at group lesson.

3.Playing at group lessons prepares students to participate in orchestra. Focus shifts when playing in a group. Instead of concentrating on posture, technique, and form, one focuses on being in the right place in the music at the right time. In the beginning it is a scramble to keep up and hopefully play the right notes. Nothing else matters. By being introduced to group playing before entering an orchestra program, attention can be directed to the things that really do matter. Bad habits are avoided and can be kept in check. Students often do not feel as picked on when an entire class is corrected instead of when they are corrected individually at a private lesson.

Again, group lessons are not optional. Parent attendance at group lessons is encouraged so this process can be observed and/or monitored. For group lesson times, please refer to the Studio Calendar.

Studio Class

Studio Class provides a performance opportunity for those preparing for recitals to perform in front of a small group of students—generally those also performing on the recital. Studio Class will be held once a month. Those performing on recitals are expected to attend. In these sessions, final touches will be made to prepared pieces and concert etiquette will be reviewed. Attendance is not required if your child is not performing on the recital. They are welcome to come and participate as an audience member, but they will not be required to play unless they want to.