Parent training class

Elise Winters said: Sep 20, 2013
Elise Winters
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Austin, TX
37 posts

I will be teaching a large-group Suzuki class at a nearby elementary school (first grade kids). I would like to do a parent training component, and have never done this before!!

Those of you who do parent courses, what topics do you include? Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Suzuki philosophy:
- “Any Child Can.” If you knew your child could be an amazing violinist, what would you be willing to do to support them?
- Role of the parents: establishing & maintaining a practice routine. Being firm & loving
- “Top 12″ mistakes parents make around practicing
- Value of music study: Becoming a human being who is attentive, attuned, disciplined, and loving.
- Daily practice, excellence, value of small details
- Taking notes; create a lesson notebook

Violin-Oriented Content:
- Making a bowhold
- Teaching the bowhold (to another person)
- Fingering the violin; playing the first few songs
- Care of the violin & bow

Also … does anyone have materials that they might be willing to share … even just their own notes for what they discuss & mention?

I’m nervous b/c this is bilingual English / Spanish, so I really need to prepare my comments extra-well ahead of time, so I know how to say everything I want to say, in Spanish!!!

Sue Hunt said: Sep 21, 2013
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
389 posts

There is a useful book, by Susan Kempter, called Between Parent and Teacher. I found it enormously helpful when I was a beginner teacher, setting up my first parent classes. It is currently out of print but perhaps you can get it from a library.

I like parents to have First Class Tips for Suzuki Parents. This book, available from the SAA, contains a collection of wonderful articles, from the American Suzuki Journal. It covers a wide range of topics, including Parent Roles & Responsibilities and Practice Motivation.

Edmund Sprunger said: Sep 21, 2013
Edmund SprungerTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Saint Louis, MO
99 posts

I think that one of the most important things you can do is listen to the parents’ responses to questions such as “Why did you enroll your child?” “What are you hoping to get out of this?” “What questions do you have?” “What were YOUR experiences of music lessons like?”—anything that lets you know about the concerns and backgrounds of the parents. Get them talking to you and to each other.

And then respond to their concerns either instantly—the issues that can’t wait—or over time.

That said, your list of points to cover with the parents is a useful one—it’s quite extensive. How much time do you have with the parents? I would likely not have “Fingering the violin; playing the first few songs” as a high priority on the list. If it were me, I would add—as a high priority—teaching the parents how to “soap” their arms using the Variation A rhythm (”Pepperoni Pizza,” for the population you describe).

One way I have sometimes worked at institutes is to collect the parent questions/concerns, print them out—one topic per sheet, and then have the parents pass the sheets around during group class to read and write comments on. It’s a low-tech version of the electronic thing we’re engaging in right now. The parents love this—it’s a way for them to silently “talk” to one another during group class. You could do these sheets in English and Spanish and parents could read and write in the language of their choice. You, of course, later read all the sheets to find out what the parents are telling one another. Then, in your subsequent work with parents, you can debunk misconceptions as well as clarify vaguely understood concepts and highlight important points.

Edmund Sprunger
sprungerstudio.com
yespublishing.com

Sue Hunt said: Sep 22, 2013
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
389 posts

Thanks Ed. I learnt an enormous amount watching you teach at Steven’s Point where you did just this.

Much is made about the benefits of teaching a child one point at a time, BUT in my experience as a mum and teacher trainee, this privilege is seldom extended to adults.

Teresa said: Sep 22, 2013
Teresa Skinner
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
69 posts

Wonderful Ideas, Ed!

…if you listen to the music, it tells you what to do…

Elise Winters said: Sep 26, 2013
Elise Winters
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Austin, TX
37 posts

Thank you, Ed, for the great reframing. And to Sue for the book suggestions. This gives me the necessary perspectives to ground the training in what the parents need!!

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