Suzuki Method—Back to Back Private Lessons

Tiya Tekin said: Mar 2, 2013
 Violin
9 posts

Is it beneficial for a child to take back to back lessons in the Suzuki method? Should there not be a gap to allow them to practice the pointers an instructor gives them during the private lesson?

Barb said: Mar 4, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Hi Tiya,

It would be good to have more background on the situation you are referring to. What is the age of the child? What level is he/she working at? What do you mean by back to back? Two 30 minute lessons in one hour? Two lessons in two days? Is this part of the regular schedule or just a temporary work around something?

I have had a child do two lessons close together for several weeks, one lesson in place of her father who was unable to attend. She was about 9, mature, and playing late book 2 level at the time. She was preparing four pieces for performance and I just focused on different things on the different days. It worked well for her.

For beginners, the lesson is part of the practice, and depending on the experience of the parent, I have even asked that they NOT practice a few things between lessons until it has been done under my guidance several times. This is to prevent them from practicing (and thus learning) it incorrectly. There can still be benefit from the practice under the teacher without practice at home.

One lesson shortly after another will not look the same as one lesson after a week of practice, but as long as the expectation isn’t there that it will, I believe it can still be beneficial. However, it may not be beneficial if a young child is expected to be attentive at two lessons in a row if that is beyond his/her capability.

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Tiya Tekin said: Mar 4, 2013
 Violin
9 posts

Hi Barb,

My daughter is 4 and she in Book 1. She only knows Twinkle (The Mississipi stop stop version and the “Twinkle Theme” so far. She had been training for one year.

Her teacher was arranging make up classes for her because we missed 4 classes. I was not comfortable doing make ups back to back with her regular class time ( she does them 2 days in a row not a full one hour). But I was told she would benefit from the practice since she was away for four classes. My concern is that the reason for the back to back , two days in a row was mitigated due to the teachers schedule not due to the benefit my daughter would get from such an arrangement.

Thanks,

Tiya

Tiya Tekin said: Mar 4, 2013
 Violin
9 posts

PS This is the first time I learn that you can ask a parent not to practice certain things in case they are not well versed in them and teach the child the wrong thing at home. That makes sense and I have often felt inadequate in guiding my daughter regarding certain things and only after several lessons did I get the idea and then was able to be more confident to guide her at home. I think it may have saved her a lot of trial and error if we had followed your type of training….

Michelle McManus Welch said: Mar 4, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Lindenhurst, IL
42 posts

WOW! What an understanding teacher! She is making up lessons that you missed; not all programs allow for this. I think that you need to trust her understanding of how to teach your daughter. As mentioned, the extra instruction won’t be done with expectations of lots of practice, but can hone in on weaknesses, or the teacher can re-do things not well understood, or just give her enrichment that will help her learn more completely. As long as it’s not more time-wise than she can handle, I think it will be beneficial.

Michelle Mc Manus Welch

Alissa said: Mar 4, 2013
Alissa Rieb
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
61 posts

Michelle brought up a good point. Many teachers don’t do makeups at all. When that many lessons have been missed, I find two in a week very helpful. If the only schedule that works is back to back days, you go with it! A good teacher will make both lessons count. When I’ve encountered this challenge, it’s always worked out. Like Barb mentioned, the teacher can immediately reinforce techniques. It also gives the teacher great insight in what the students retains from one day to the next. I’ve also gotten the chance to have a rough lesson (because of multiple absences) immediately followed by a more relaxed lesson. With little guys, often the next day lesson feels like something special and different and they come very curious :-) Broken limbs, serious illness, family emergencies or teacher absences and a host of other unexpected issues means this comes up for all teachers at one time or another. We always strive to make the best of the situation with what we have available. If it is unproductive or would interfere with the student’s progress, be confident that the teacher wouldn’t offer this solution.

Barb said: Mar 4, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

Tiya,

I agree with the other answers you’ve got here. I’m sure the teacher is considering your daughter’s benefit, but may have constraints based on her schedule, too. You are fortunate to be able to get make up lessons.

As for instructions for not practicing something… it doesn’t happen a lot, but most often it is when a child wants to jump ahead to a new technique before I can fully teach it. For instance, when they want to use vibrato before they are ready, or when I have introduced something, but they don’t quite “get it” and I don’t think the parent quite does either (I am still learning to teach, too!), I prefer to review it at the next lesson before having them review it at home. The kids get a laugh out of my asking them to vow NOT to practice something.

Let us know how the make up lessons work out!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Phankao said: Mar 5, 2013
Phankao WanPiano, Viola, Violin
128 posts

We have makeup lessons every so often due to whatever reason. We would just practise whatever is possible. Can’t be helped.

Tiya Tekin said: Mar 5, 2013
 Violin
9 posts

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Kathleen Andrews said: Mar 7, 2013
Kathleen AndrewsViolin
Pittsburgh, PA
2 posts

The benefit of lessons two days in a row is that it can often reinforce a technique that the student is struggling with more so than just practicing at home. This is one of the reasons that summer institutes are so great, because the student gets a lesson everyday. Often, a major technical issue that has been dogging the student can be changed in just a few concentrated lessons, rather than being drawn out for months. I’m sure your teacher will make these lessons really count.

Kathleen Andrews
Violin
Pittsburgh, PA

Phankao said: Mar 7, 2013
Phankao WanPiano, Viola, Violin
128 posts

I used to wish my son could have 15min lessons 2x a week instead since he was so young then (just turned 3 at that time). But the thought of travelling just for 15mins… ;P

Laura said: Mar 21, 2013
Laura Mozena
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Palm City, FL
105 posts

First on the back to back lessons: I only have one student who I teach two days in a row on a regular basis. (the reason being her twin sister had the other lesson time and decided to switch to piano, after paying for the whole semester the mom decided to let the sister continuing violin to keep both lessons.) So I teach her a 1/2 hour on Tuesday and another 1/2 hour on Wednesday. Before trying it this semester I would never have recommended it, however it has worked very well indeed. On Tuesday I focus on the new pieces and preview spots, technique etc. and on Wednesday we do Note-Reading and Review. And since your situation is a once (or twice) thing not every week, I would say it is not a problem.

Second on makeups: As a teacher I would be wrong to not point out that giving any make up lessons is very difficult (depending on the teacher’s schedule) And 4 seems to be a lot in my opinion. Our Policy is one makeup per semester and that is even sometimes difficult. I try my very best to fit in more makeups if I can especially if the missed lesson was because of illness, but it gets hard. So I would assume your back to back lessons was the only option. It is GOOD though that you were concerned about not being able to practice in between.

Third: suggesting to NOT practice something at home. I do this sometimes with regard to new techniques (vibrato, shifting, moving the thumb to the inside, learning low 1 or low 2 etc.). Because if it isn’t happening the right way yet in the lesson it is likely be practiced for a whole week incorrectly and then I am doing remedial teaching. And once I was away a whole month in the summer and one of my students learned minuet 3 without me (not only learned it but practiced it A LOT). and when I returned she was not sluring at all. This was next to impossible to correct and to this day she will still revert to the old way if not reminded. So I leave this comment with once saying “Practice does NOT make perfect it make PERMANENT”

Thanks,

Laura,
www.YourMusicSupply.com

Phankao said: Mar 21, 2013
Phankao WanPiano, Viola, Violin
128 posts

To your Point No.3: was the parent not supervising the practice of Minuet 3?

We’re in the midst of a 2-mth break from lessons and we’ve been doing self-learning. Have covered Gossec Gavotte, then on to 5 pieces in vol2.

I usually point out note by note on the score as my boy learns a new piece, even if he’s learnt it in lesson with his teacher. Just to make sure he knows what is required. Until I am sure he is familiar with the requirements of the piece.

You must log in to post comments.

A note about the discussion forum: Public discussion forum posts are viewable by anyone. Anyone can read the forums, but you must create an account with your email address to post. Private forums are viewable by anyone that is a part of that private forum's group. Discussion forum posts are the opinion of the poster and do not constitute endorsement by or official position of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Please do not use the discussion forums to advertise products or services