Should we get a temporary teacher for this summer?

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Toni said: Apr 25, 2013
 Violin, Viola
Mclean, VA
2 posts

My 5-yr-old daughter has been taking Suzuki violin for over half a year and she likes it!! Currently, she is working on book 1’s Allegretto. Unfortunately, our teacher will move out of State soon. The last lesson is at the end of May. We are very lucky to get a new Suzuki teacher nearby to continue the lesson. The new teacher can offer weekly lesson in the fall, but she can only offer 3 lessons in July for the entire summer. That means my daughter wont have any lesson in June and August. Do you think we should get a temporary violin teacher to continue book 1 or just review the old pieces by ourselves for two months? My daughter does want to continue the lessons. Do these two months matter?


Community Youth Orchestra Of S CA said: Apr 26, 2013
 Violin, Viola
70 posts

Can your current departing teacher or your new teacher scheduled for the Fall recommend a colleague of theirs to work with your daughter during the summer?

At least in my personal network of instructors, we don’t leave students and parents hanging, left to their own devices to find assistance if we aren’t available.

Mary said: Apr 30, 2013
 39 posts

In our experience, summers are the best times for music for my kids. Their schedules are much more loose and they have a lot more time for practice. This is especially the case for my older son who now has a pretty full schedule during the school year with homework and sports along with music. My little one’s school schedule isn’t too intense yet. Even so I just find music lessons over the summer really enjoyable. During the summer their teachers have a looser schedule because some children are not taking lessons over the summer so it isn’t the usual mad rush from student to student and watching the clock tightly. There’s just overall a more relaxed feeling and their teachers are able to take an extra 5 minutes here and there if they want to work on a skill a little more. So if you are able to get a good recommendation for a sub, I would go for it.

Kiyoko said: Apr 30, 2013
 95 posts

Yes, yes, yes—the two months matter. The key here is that without any teacher or lessons for such a period of time especially so early on, your daughter may stall and may otherwise have to go back and re-learn parts. If she were my child, I would continue lessons throughout the summer even though it might seem like it is a lot the process two different teachers. It’s not much different then what your daughter might experience if she attended an “extended” summer workshop or institute that includes private lessons. Not only will she be able to progress under the guidance of a teacher, she will gain varying perspectives on what she is covering.

You could ask the two continuing teachers to communicate with each other about your daughter’s progress over the summer. Likewise, ask the teacher who is leaving to fill in both of the new teachers. Something else to consider is to have a temporary teacher through the summer and then start with the new permanent teacher in the fall.

Toni said: May 1, 2013
 Violin, Viola
Mclean, VA
2 posts

Thanks for the inputs, pianolinmom and Kiyoko! Really appreciated! Our current teacher also suggests to get a sub teacher for the summer yesterday. I will look for the new teacher right away!

Merietta Oviatt said: May 2, 2013
Merietta OviattViolin, Suzuki in the Schools, Cello, Viola
Stevens Point, WI
107 posts

Please, just a note—be sure to return to your teacher after the break. There are times when it seems the grass is greener, but always return to be certain you make any decisions in an educated manner.

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

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 8, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1076 posts

In addition to getting a summer teacher for June and August (by the way, make sure your ’sub’ teacher knows that they are subbing and that you have another teacher lined up for July and for the Fall), you can also try applying for a summer suzuki institute, especially if you are willing and able to travel for a special “music week” experience with your child!

Although it is a bit late to be applying for a June institute, there are several good institutes in August that may still be accepting new applications—try looking on

Laura said: Jun 11, 2013
Laura Mozena
Suzuki Association Member
Mancos, CO
107 posts

Yes, I would get a teacher for the summer. It is much preferable to having the downtime without a teacher. And sometimes a different view from a new face is not bad. It should not hurt.


Kim said: Jun 14, 2013
 39 posts

I would definitely get a teacher for the summer. In fact, if you had options for other teachers that would be available for the summer and beyond, I might consider just staying with the summer teacher. Especially if your new teacher takes off every summer. My first child has had 3 teachers and my 2nd has had 2, and never by choice. Transitions are just difficult and different teachers prioritize skills differently. Every time we switched teachers we were taken back in the repertoire. Those were very difficult transitions that I wasn’t sure we’d make it through.

Deena said: Jul 14, 2013
 9 posts

A few summers ago I had this dilemma also. Our permanent teacher was going to be out for several weeks over the summer due to various engagements across the country. I was concerned about this, so I used this website to find a summer teacher. I cleared it by his permanent teacher and she was happy about the arrangement. My son’s permanent teacher leaves at the end of every May and returns at the end of August. He works with the same summer teacher June-August every year and this works great. It is a wonderful combination and we both always look forward to working with the summer teacher and vice versa. He has taken violin lessons for 5 years now and we have done this for 4 summers. The summer is a great time for making progress with new skills and reinforcing skills learned during the year fall and winter. Before taking the summer off with our permanent teacher I ask her if there is anything in particular she would like for us to work on with the summer teacher. This keeps her engaged in the experience also. If your permanent teacher is going to be out of town every summer I would look for someone who you can return to for a least a couple of summers in a row. She even recommended two more of her students to our summer teacher so now there are three students from her studio that take lessons with her every summer now also.

I’ve noticed music teachers are a lot like school teachers. Some take the summer off and some keep working with students throughout the summer. The summer is a nice time too because you don’t have the pressure of preparing for recitals, concerts, events, etc. We also attend the summer institute in our area as well.

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