Violin/Viola studio set-up

Leslie said: Nov 6, 2012
Leslie ThackerayInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Taylorsville, UT
26 posts

I’m curious how different teachers set up their studios effectively. The reason I ask is that I have always had the parent behind the student so that the child doesn’t always look to the parent for guidance and it also conceals the “faces” parents make when a student plays something wrong.

However, in a recent class I had it was advised that the parent sit to the right of the student by their bow (to the left of me) so I’ve tried that. The problem is I’ve always had my music stand on my left so I moved it now to my right. This makes it easier for the student to just look over to the stand without adjusting their body much, but I find that my scroll gets in the way if I turn to face the stand. Also, all my teaching do-dads are on my right and now the music stand is in the way. My piano is behind me.

Ok—if you followed all of that—I’d like to know where your parents sit, where your music stand is, and where you put your violin when you’re not using it, where you put all your teaching stuff so it’s easily accessibly during your lessons, and if you have a piano, where that is.

Leslie Thackeray
Make Practicing Fun!

Sue Hunt said: Nov 7, 2012
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
390 posts

This summer, I was told to sit at the scroll so that the child’s head would be turned towards me, when playing. Since the parent always sat to my left, I will have had to move the parent so that they are facing me, still to the child’s left. They can always come round to have a look or try something out when they need to.

The stand lives by the keyboard, about a yard to my right and I move it as needed.

On my right is a low table for useful stuff—games, writing materials etc.

The only fly in the ointment is a bookshelf behind me, which can be highly distracting to the more unfocussed. This however, does present scope for focussing games.

Alissa said: Nov 7, 2012
Alissa Rieb
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
61 posts

I’m across from the door so that the student is rarely facing the door.
I sit with the child pointing their scroll at me during anything that is memorized or ear training (much of the lesson).
The parent is across from their belly button about 5 feet away.
When reading, the student turns their body to point the scroll at the stand which is to my right. Now their back is to the parent, but if needed, parent can come up behind the child and watch the music over their head.
My stuff is in a basket next to the base of the stand.
The piano is across from me. When we are using it, the parent is now seeing the other side of the child.
I have a blank wall directly behind me with my instruments hanging on it.

Hope that makes sense :-)

Emily said: Sep 22, 2013
 59 posts

Do the parents always come to the lessons?

Emily Christensen
Music Teacher & Writer

Mary Kay O'Neill said: Sep 23, 2013
Suzuki Association Member
3 posts

Yes. I am a piano teacher and require the parents to attend the lessons, take assignment notes, and assist with the home practice. When the child can work & practice independently, usually in their teens, the parent does not have to attend. It’s important to have parent orientation and go over these policies.Mary Kay

Lori Bolt said: Sep 24, 2013
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Parents attending lessons and guiding practice at home is a fundamental part of the Suzuki Method. This child/parent/teacher “team” is referred to as the Suzuki Triangle. I agree with Mary Kay that this aspect must be explained to the parent at the start of lessons, and guidance given to the parent as to how to be effective in their role as lessons continue and home issues are addressed.

Lori Bolt

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