Parent Education

Janet said: Aug 31, 2016
Janet Toomes
Suzuki Association Member
San Antonio, TX
5 posts

I would be interested to hear how other teachers conduct parent education. Do you require separate parent education sessions before you start the beginner? If so, how many sessions and how long is each session? What amount and how do you charge for your parent education? (your 30-minute rate or longer?)
In the past I required 1 month of parent education time in the format of 1-hour sessions with 2-3 parents per/session where I present the Suzuki method, have required reading, teach them how to create an effective home environment and teach them basically the hand position and technic via the Twinkles.
I would love to hear from you!

Joyce McGlaun said: Aug 31, 2016
Joyce McGlaun
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
39 posts

In my rather small town it works best to include parent education in the body of each lesson. I do ask them to read “Nurtured by Love”. I use the first pages of “I Can Read Music” as a note finder for parents while allowing them to find the notes on their student violin. Some parents rent a violin and we learn together. I put the violin and bow in their hands often to illustrate a teaching point. I make it really clear that listening opportunities are the parent’s responsibility, no matter how old the learner is. Even my students who drive themselves to lessons have “parent assignments.” I try to get creative with this depending on the family. I ask one student to play duets with his mom who plays flute. Another with her mom on violin, and another with a family band. I think public schools sometimes make this concept more difficult because some schools want the parents to be more hands-off at the upper grade levels. Suzuki is so unique in that area and promotes so much more family interaction.

Joyce McGlaun
Strings Unlimited Violin Studio & Quartet
Baby Music of Abilene,
325-677-5766; 325-829-4440

Karen said: Sep 1, 2016
Karen Huffman
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Portland, OR
28 posts

I require parents to come for 4 weeks before their children begin lessons, all the while listening to the recording at home. If I can do multiple parents at once, I do that, but sometimes it’s just one on one. We read Nurtured by Love, talk about the method and I teach them the basics with the Twinkles. This also gives them time to get their piano and bench and footstools set up at home. I charge a flat monthly tuition of $165 for all families. The parent training is $150.

Janet said: Sep 2, 2016
Janet Toomes
Suzuki Association Member
San Antonio, TX
5 posts

Karen, thank you, so helpful. It sounds like you don’t use a specific method but just discuss the material in Nurtured by Love, etc. or do use any specific materials or outline? I invented my own in the past, based on training, but feel the need to do a shorter course this time and didn’t want to re-invent the wheel.

Christine said: Sep 2, 2016
Christine Goodner
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Viola
Hillsboro, OR
68 posts

I also use the first 4 weeks of lessons for parent education. I ask parents to have read Nurtured by Love and to have observed already and we spend those first 4 weeks really talking about how the Suzuki Method might look and work well as a part of their lives (philosophy + practical).

I have made up my own and tweak it a bit from year to year. It looks a bit like this:

Week One: Keys to Success in the Suzuki Method/My Studio
Week Two: Practicing (ideas, mindset needed, why daily is important etc)
Week Three: Based off Quotes by Suzuki and how they affect us/how we put that philosophy into practice
Week Four: Looking Forward: how to prioritize what to practice, how it will feel like nothing is happening sometimes—but the brain is making connections and it will pay off to keep at it (especially very young students), when to reach out for help etc.

4 weeks seems like a good balance and then I do Parent Talks/Meetings 1-2 times a year and parent conferences once a year. Right now it is striking a good balance in my studio.

Christine Goodner

Studio Website: Brookside Suzuki Strings

Blog: The Suzuki Triangle

“When Love is Deep, Much can be Accomplished” ~ Suzuki

Mengwei said: Sep 2, 2016
Mengwei Shen
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello
Jersey City, NJ
120 posts

I’m no longer doing separate, preliminary parent education. I didn’t find they were necessarily retaining information and/or applying knowledge more or better, and in any case, they still need (should have) ongoing parent education even after the initial stage.

For younger beginners, I do require a Pre-Twinkle group, where we cover many of the typical “parent education” topics, but I have the children involved immediately. If the families are slow to get up to speed on listening and setting up home practice, then at least they are getting it during class, and their “graduation” will depend on how much and how well they are putting in their own effort. The new beginners also learn and get support from more experienced parents/children that are involved in the class.

Edward said: Sep 9, 2016
Edward Obermueller
Suzuki Association Member
Morris Plains, NJ
17 posts

I wrote a short article on how I get started with educating parents, it’s intended for my website in an upcoming teacher resource section :

You can access the article here.

I would love to hear feedback as I continue to learn how to educate and interact with parents.

P.S. Christine, love your 4-module course idea. Would you share your course outline in more detail?

Happy practicing,

11 Holloway Place
Morris Plains, NJ 07950

EMAIL: [javascript protected email address]

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