To Teach or Not to teach your own child??

Michelle Quinn said: Oct 17, 2011
Jackson, WY
1 posts

I have been teaching Suzuki violin for three years. I became certified in order to learn how to teach my young daughter who started at age 5 who is now 8. I now have a studio of 16 students and am still “trying” to teach my daughter, do daily practices and twice monthly group. So far this semester she has refused to attend group. I have struggled on a daily basis to work with her to practice, have involved my husband to help, and or the occasional babysitter. There are no other Suzuki teachers in my area or in my state. I am thinking about doing a weekly Skype lesson with a Master teacher in another state who is a personal friend in Suzuki. I would love to get some feedback from anyone who has instructed their child, who currently instructs their child, or any ideas to help.

Lori Bolt said: Oct 18, 2011
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Michelle—I have been where you are with your daughter. I taught piano to our daughter, as well as home schooling her and our son. She and I worked together fairly well—not always on a good schedule—for probably 3-4 yrs. (about until age 9, she’s 21 now). I understand your challenges. We kind of hung in there, but she did stop after Book 2. I could have taken her to someone else nearby, but she was on to other interests and I had enough to deal with in home schooling her and brother. However, she is now a music major in college—so all was not lost! Through it all I remained an active Suzuki teacher.

I think the Skype idea may be worth a try in your case. Having your daughter be accountable to another teacher would take some of the pressure off you. View your time practicing with her as a unique chance to see what your violin parents experience in their practices—I gained a lot of insights and ideas which I could pass on. Try to evaluate why your daughter resists group lesson and practicing. Reread anything you have on the Suzuki triangle—but from the parent’s perspective, not the teacher’s. Have you thought of letting her choose a different instrument—maybe after she reaches an agreed upon level with voilin?

Maybe I should move to WY—I’m struggling to grow my studio here in CA!!
Good luck!

Lori Bolt

Ruth Brons said: Oct 19, 2011
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

I can definitely speak to this subject, having been both the daughter and the mother in this scenario. I am a Suzuki violin teacher who is the daughter of a Suzuki cello teacher, and also the mother of a Suzuki violin teacher.

Just by running a music studio you are indeed providing a rich musical environment.
Your child absolutely knows and understands music, as well as its value.
Hundreds, maybe thousands, of lessons/classes have been overheard and absorbed.

But, while the knowledge base is there,
actually taking a lesson/classes with you may very difficult because the relationship between the two of you is so much more complex than the typical student-teacher relationship.
Girls often emulate their mothers—which means your daughter may well rather skip right to being the teacher, rather than put the time in being the student.
There may be resentment that you spend all this time working with other children.
There may be frustration from either or both of you because it may be hard/impossible to achieve the courtesies/manners/efforts you both have seen occur in a typical lesson with your other students.

So, be assured that you are nurturing your daughter’s heart with music through the environment you are providing, and do what you can to leave the lesson part to a third party.
Try the SKYPE option, if it is your only or best bet, for private lessons.
And perhaps find opportunities for your daughter to be your valued helper, or teaching assistant, for the youngest members of your group class.

Best Wishes,

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