Lesson breakdown and time management

Nora Friedman said: Sep 4, 2012
Nora Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools
Brooklyn, NY
34 posts

Hi! Lately I’ve become very curious about how different teachers format their lessons. How do you break up your lessons? what do you do first, second, etc.? How much time do you alot to each piece of the lesson pie? What has become critical, and what pieces do you only touch upon occasionally? Lastly, how does your format change from pre-twinkle to book 1, to book 2, etc.

Thanks for your help!

Phyllis Calderon said: Sep 4, 2012
Phyllis CalderonViolin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Piano
Chicago, IL
22 posts

Hi Nora!

For a Pre-Twinkle student, I review posture/bow with games, then rhythm exercises speaking, singing, clapping, moving…, then when they are ready, playing rhythm patterns (twinkles) on violin, focusing on good tone. When students are in higher books, advanced scales, etudes, a technique exercise like vibrato or shifting. I would say about 5-15 min per activity, depending on if 30, 45-minute lesson. And the bulk of the time focus on the piece. Of course, tailor the time for skill set/learning style of student and depending on what they are working on (I have one 60-minute student, a 9th grader, who is working on advanced scales, Bach Preludes, Mozart Concerti, 2nd Mvmt from the Still Suite and the Rode Caprices).

For a book 1 and 2 student, I have the student begin with A, D or G Major scale or one of the minor scales introduced in book 2, and arpeggio depending. Then I have them play the scale in various rhythm patterns and especially if that rhythm or a bowing pattern (slurs, stopped slurs, etc) is evident in the piece. All the while we focus on making the best tone possible. We look at a challenging section in the working piece first before playing the whole piece. I end with review pieces. If student has completed a book, I”ll ask if he wants to review up or down in the book and I accompany on piano.

If a piece or section of a piece isn’t mastered from a previous lesson, I won’t move ahead and won’t spend more time on it, only enough time to make sure he understands how he is to practice it for mastery.

I always have my students go back to review “old” pieces, even when they are in the higher books because my students are often asked to perform at church functions, weddings, and so forth, and it is so important that they consistently review. I do this is groups more but do end private lessons with a review piece just to make sure they are being consistent. Hope this helps.

Phyllis Calderon
Director, String Instructor
A Touch of Classical Plus, Inc.—Calderon Music Studio
www.atouchofclassicalplus.musicteachershelper.com

Nora Friedman said: Sep 10, 2012
Nora Friedman
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools
Brooklyn, NY
34 posts

Thanks so much Phyllis! This is very interesting and helpful!

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