frequency of group classes

Amy said: Aug 29, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
50 posts

This past week, my studio began fall group lessons. The energy from the kids in the older group was thrilling, even in the private lessons leading up to the first group class. In the younger class, however, some grandparents and parents have expressed concern about having the group class scheduled weekly. (Currently, I’m doing the younger kids with a weekly half-hr group class, and the older kids do a biweekly hour-long class.) The major concern is that 4-yr-olds can’t focus and behave through both a private lesson and group class on the same day (all my younger students have scheduled private lessons on the same day as the group class.) Has this been an issue in anyone else’s studio, and how have you dealt with it?

Thanks

MaryLou Roberts said: Aug 31, 2013
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
244 posts

It could be the commute….drive 20 minutes for a 30 minute class, drive 20 minutes….the car time/class time ratio is important more and more for parents and grand parents….maybe bi-weekly 45 minute classes? This was suggested to me when I first began Suzuki teaching. It keeps my schedule the same each week, since I can alternate groups. I have 4 groups, 2 per week in the same time slot. The 5th week in a month can be a play-in, if there are only 3 weeks, combine both groups for one week. Lots of ways to handle it, based on your studio. Good Luck!

Mary said: Aug 31, 2013
 39 posts

My 6 year old had his private and group class on a Saturday last year and will again this year. We had about a 75 minute break in between that allowed us to get lunch and take a break so it wasn’t difficult for my son to do both in one day. I actually found it easier to have both occur on a Saturday rather than trying to squeeze either the private or group class into our busy weekday. I would say you need to make sure to give kids enough of a gap to make sure that they will have time to eat and take a break. And it would also help if where you have the lesson has an area for families to eat so that they can feed their kids if they need to without having to drive to another location and back.

In terms of the group class, I would say that you should try to make the group classes as different from the private classes as possible so that the students and parents will see them as different and necessary. I recall that at that age in the pre-twinkle classes there were a lot of fun group games that gave group class a very different feeling. So if you do load it up with a lot of fun games for the kids it will feel very different. Having an accompanist present also allowed students to play pieces like the “E String Concerto” that made it feel very much like a recital especially with all the parents present. My kids really loved their group classes because of the games and seeing their friends and my younger son even prefers his group class over his private.

Sue Hunt said: Sep 1, 2013
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
389 posts

There’s nothing so much fun as a good group lesson! Games, performance opportunities, incredibly deep focus and exposure to other highly motivated families, what more could you want for your child.

20 years ago, we used to spend over 2 hours in travel for for each weekly group and private lesson. Everyone in the group did it, but the kids weren’t overloaded with other extracurricular activities. The spinoffs from learning an instrument are so valuable, that it’s worth every moment.

We always stocked up on delicious healthy goodies, so that the kids could have an extra special feast en route. We also used travel time to listen to the Suzuki recordings and to enjoy each other’s company. As the kids grew older, sometimes we carpooled with their Suzuki friends.

Jennifer Visick said: Sep 2, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

I make it point not to schedule private lessons for the younger students on the same day as group class.

Benefits—you see the family twice a week, easier to correct any “baby” bad habits that might have crept into the technique—easier to check/remind about homework assignments due “at the lesson” or “at the group class”.

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