Do you have parents learn to play the instrument?

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Amanda Marie said: Feb 1, 2013
Amanda Marie TewViolin
Saint Joseph, MI
14 posts

In regard to parent education for new students, do you require or encourage your parents to get their own instruments? If so, what is your goal? How many songs do the parents learn and about how long do you envision this taking? If they have violins do they participate in group class, recitals? Do they play with the child or do each play solos? Just wondering what your personal experiences have been- what you have found is a workable plan that brings the most success. Thanks!

Merietta Oviatt said: Feb 2, 2013
Merietta Oviatt
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Cello, Viola
Stevens Point, WI
104 posts

I always have the parents of younger children learn to play during their parent ed classes. I think it is best that they have a properly fitting instrument so that they can fully understand what their child feels when they learn to play. It’s very hard for adults to play appropriately, in tune, and with good tone on their child’s instrument—so I want them in a full size. My parents have to learn all of the twinkles and participate in their twinkle graduation at a concert. Their group class is the parent ed class, and this parent class performs on its own. The purpose to all of this is so that they understand the basics of playing and understand the experience of performing—just as their children will be doing in the near future. By knowing the basics of playing the parents are MUCH better home teachers/practice partners. After many different versions, this is by far the best and most successful. I’ve actually had quite a few parents continue with lessons and those who don’t continue with lessons are encouraged to participate in the parent ensemble that I established because so many wanted to continue playing even though they couldn’t continue with lessons.

Hope this helps!

Dr. Merietta Oviatt
Suzuki Specialist
Viola/Violin Instructor
Aber Suzuki Center, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
www.uwsp.edu/suzuki
www.merietta.com
[javascript protected email address]

Sophia said: Feb 15, 2013
Sophia Kim
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Vancouver, BC
16 posts

Learning together during the lesson is an effective way to support the child and their process. It also demonstrates that the parent does more than just making sure they practise! Try giving them small homework assigments and then have it peformance ready for the lesson (a mini performance—setting a small goal). Take turns playing solos or melodies/themes—playing games and rewarding them along. Parents—also alternate their repetition practise at home to model and demonstrate the practise (quality not quantity). Students need to know what exactly is expected by the teacher so that it is supported throughout the week within a nurturing environment.

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