Mostly For Parents: Suzuki, Types of Lessons, Philosophy, Expectations

Students under age 18 have three options for lessons: the traditional, come-to-my-studio format, webcam via your school, or remote lessons in another location in my geographic area (with sufficient enrollment to justify the trip).

Suzuki and Webcams

I have found through several years of trial and error that Suzuki and webcams do not work well together when small children are involved. The critical importance of parent involvement in Suzuki learning cannot be overstated, and when it is missing or not fully engaged, lessons no longer have the Suzuki purpose, which is to create beautiful hearts. In order to do that, I absolutely must have the trust, support and active participation of the parents. Somehow, the webcam ends up creating an environment where the teacher isn't really "real" to the parents (even if she's met them live and in person!), and lessons and practicing end up becoming something similar to a computer game. And so after much reflection, I have concluded that Suzuki pre-twinklers and beginners should be prepared to do traditional hands-on lessons. Webcam remains an option for Suzuki students studying past Book 2 who are transferring from another studio. If you have your heart set on Suzuki lessons and cannot come to my home, I'll be happy to refer you to an SAA-registered teacher in your local area.

Webcam Lessons for Elementary, Middle and High School Students

Webcam lessons are offered to public and private schools, home schools and home school associations as a courtesy. The school must set up an institutional account and provide any district-required purchase order number for billing. Electronic payments are appreciated.

Lessons will originate at the school, and be conducted in accordance with the school district's internet usage policies, as well as my studio policy on web security.

Remote Lessons

Remote lessons, or lessons in another physical location, are possible within a limited geographic area. A minimum of three students must commit to lessons for the remainder of the school year in which they enroll. Students are considered local for billing purposes. It would be helpful for parents to work together as a team and have someone familiar with the area who would be willing to be responsible for securing teaching and performance space. Conflicting school calendar dates will be removed from the lesson schedule. As of September 2012, remote lessons will be available on Tuesdays, with other days to be added based on enrollment.

Teaching Philosophy and Studio Expectations

"Suzuki" is more than simply picking up repertoire books at a local music store. As an active member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas since 1993, I have an intimate working knowledge of Suzuki philosophy, repertoire and teaching points. I participate in professional development, just like your child's classroom teachers. I follow the SAA's Code of Ethics. I believe in Talent Education. It is a spirit, a way of life devoted to action, rooted in the core belief that Every Child Can. I think it goes even further: Every One Can. It is a trusting, positive, goal-oriented partnership that transcends age, race, creed, economic status, gender and orientation. Talent Education is Equal Opportunity Education in its purest form.

Every student has the same potential to succeed. We may come from different places, grow up in different homes, and learn in different educational systems but the one thing that we share is talent. Talent is. It exists in every person. It's not something that gets doled out proportionally, or a few Really Smart People get most of it and the rest of us are left to fight over the scraps. Talent becomes what you choose to do with it. It can be wasted, or it can be developed to a very high level. Talent is what we use to make the lives of other people better. Excellence means not only playing beautifully but also having a beautiful heart, a noble yet humble spirit, being a better person. At Violinnovation, we become better people by playing little wooden boxes with strings.

Environment is the crucial factor in developing talent. It matters not a whit if you are 6 or 86, if you played piano or saxophone or the radio, or if your parents were musical or not. If you are loved, comfortable and unconditionally accepted for who you are, and the pursuit of excellence of heart, spirit and violin playing is emphasized and expected in your home, you will be successful in my studio and in your life.

I expect commitment, effort, progress, results and involvement. I expect you to play the violin or viola to the best of your ability. I expect you to become a better person.