Competition Among Students


Katherine said: Oct 14, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
75 posts

Hi All

This is a minor problem but I am curious how other teachers deal with the issue of competition that might arise between two or more students in your studio. Obviously with sequenced repertoire there is the innate issue of students knowing “where they are” compared to other students in the same studio. When they also all work together in group, there is awareness of what each other’s current working piece is. For the most part, in my group, the kids who have studied longer are further “ahead”, and even with kids where this is not the case, this has not seemed to be a focus for anyone, or cause conflict or discouragement. Among other things, I always emphasize continued improvement of our review pieces.

I have a transfer student who recently asked me in her individual lesson for confirmation about where another student is in the repertoire. Obviously this was not her business but I told her she was correct, but I also stated something along the lines of each of us is where we are, we each have our own unique pace and it’s important to me that we maintain a cooperative atmosphere. After I said that, I thought maybe I overreacted and my response may have sounded like criticism. Maybe there was a better way to respond or more I need to do at the outset when I start new students to minimize any focus on comparing each other.

Sera Jane Smolen said: Oct 15, 2014
Sera Jane Smolen
Suzuki Association Member
Ithaca, NY
24 posts

I love Ed Kreitman’s answer to this question:
“What are you working on?”
“I’m working on posture, tone and intonation. What are you working on?”

When we learn to truly hear the music of children,
we learn to hear the music of the future.
—Michael Deeson Barrow

Carrie said: Oct 15, 2014
Suzuki Association Member
58 posts

Responding to your concern that maybe you overreacted, second chances are awesome. You can tell your student that you are concerned about how you came across, then clarify that your intent was not to be critical, but to foster a cooperative atmosphere. You can give her an opportunity to tell you how it felt to her, and how it feels now that you have talked more about it. It seems to me that then you would have demonstrated a cooperative atmosphere.


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