Transtioning to Suzuki Method

Ken Hiebert said: Jan 16, 2012
 Guitar
8 posts

I’ve been teaching guitar pretty much full time for about 6 years now, but a more contemporary program (electric, acoustic, fingerstyle, etc). I’ll be taking the Guitar Level 1 in Beaver Creek in July and hope to start some Suzuki students in September. Just wondering if anyone (especially guitar people but really anyone) has any insights on how to make that kind of transtion. The vast majority of guitar teachers (in my area at least) teach out of the same contemporary method books and there are very few that offer any kind of a classical approach at all. I’ve had some training but have spent most of my life playing acoustic fingerstyle. After 30 years of playing I now find myself back in guitar lessons again to brush up on the technique! Really I’m just wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience and what they did with it.

Lori Bolt said: Jan 16, 2012
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

It’s great that you’ll take the Suzuki Level 1 Teacher Training before making the transition. That will help you tremendously, along with the observation of students at the Institute. You’ll be so excited and motivated to begin students! You sound like you’re on the right track where your classical skills are concerned (taking lessons), the Teacher Training will help you transition to a Suzuki mindset as a teacher and give you ideas on teaching the method. You will also be able to connect with other guitar teachers at Institute who may be able to mentor you—even if they don’t live near you. I think you will be bringing a valuable alternative to your area as you will offer something that the other teachers in your community do not. You can even think about transitioning some of your current students to Suzuki by preparing a short presentation on the benefits of Suzuki to give their parents at a parent meeting….perhaps give them a choice so they don’t feel pressured to change. Welcome to the journey and best wishes to you!

Lori

Lori Bolt

Rigo Murillo said: Jan 17, 2012
Rigo Murillo
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Rowlett, TX
16 posts

Hi Ken,

I think that highlighting the benefits of the Suzuki Method well to parents will be one of your most important tasks when getting Suzuki guitar students. Suzuki guitar teachers are very scarce and it is for one main reason: Most people want popular guitar lessons for their children. There are other reasons, and you probably know them already. Therefore, Suzuki guitar teachers sometimes get discouraged to keep teaching the Suzuki Method. I would like to see more teachers like you around to let families in the community know how marvelous Suzuki guitar is. It is mainly about exposing parents and prospecting students to the method.

At our Suzuki school in Dallas, we had a guitar teacher for a while, and he is really a good teacher. However, he struggled getting new students into his studio, since, basically, no one would inquire about Suzuki guitar. However, there are some very successful Suzuki guitar teachers in some areas of the country.

I agree with Lori on the idea that you can ask someone to mentor you. This may be the best you can do as far as getting all your transition-related questions answered. I’m sure you will learn tons from your teacher trainer and classmates at the course, as well.

I wish you all the best and I will be around to hear about your success when you share with us.

Rigo

Rigo Murillo
Suzuki Strings Specialist

Ken Hiebert said: Jan 17, 2012
 Guitar
8 posts

Thanks for the encouragement guys. I’m really looking forward to ECC in Madison this weekend. This is the first step in what I think will be a very long journey. I’m also a little uneasy though from a business standpoint knowing that I’m going to need to make all this money back that I’m going to be spending. Education is always that way, but still is really invaluable.
Is there any help or ideas in promoting this method in the community? If I didn’t already think there were significant advantages of the Suzuki method over others I wouldn’t even be willing to spend the money, but I’d also like to think that it’s going to give me some kind of “competitive edge” if you like because as much as I love doing this when it’s all said and done I still have to pay the mortgage. That said, I sure wouldn’t mind some resources that would help in convincing parents and students of these advantages!

Lori Bolt said: Jan 22, 2012
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Ken ~ to promote Suzuki you might see if some kind of Community Fair is upcoming in your area. You could look into setting up a display there with a video re: Suzuki playing, the guitar CD playing (or even yourself playing the repertoire), Nurtured by Love and other books to view and an invitation for parents to attend a short meeting re: Suzuki vs contemporary guitar. You might do something similar at a preschool or elementary school open house. The home school community is another great place to make contacts with a similar approach as those parents are usually wanting Classical music instruction for their children. Even as I write this I’m thinking I need to do something like it! Good luck ~

Lori Bolt

Ken Hiebert said: Jan 23, 2012
 Guitar
8 posts

Great ideas Lori. I’ve been thinking somewhat along these lines myself. We just came back from an ECC workshop in Madison, WI this weekend so we’re really excited to get working on this. What is the name of the video or videos that are used? We were also thinking we might be able to rent some counter space at music stores in the area to play the video.

Lori Bolt said: Jan 24, 2012
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

I don’t know of Suzuki guitar videos (maybe Youtube?), but there is Nurtured by Love video sold by SAA—something to catch the eye and ear as people come by. I own a video produced yrs. ago by our local Suzuki Music Assoc.of CA chapter….it focuses on piano since most members were piano teachers at that time.

Can any guitar teachers help Ken out w/ ideas?
ECC is great isn’t it? It was not offered when I began my training, took it last summer and I gained some much needed motivation and refreshing of viewpoint.

Lori Bolt

Lori Bolt said: Jan 24, 2012
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Did you look at “Video” discussions here? I glanced at one or two—maybe ideas there?
This is a tremendous resource for our questions….love it SAA!

Lori Bolt

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