Teacher training for parent?

L. Sullivan said: Mar 4, 2017
3 posts

In about a year’s time, I hope to start my child on Suzuki violin. Some of the local programs suggest that one or both of the child’s parents take Every Child Can! prior to starting their child on lessons. I’m wondering about the value of a Suzuki parent getting further Suzuki training in order to better help their child practice at home. There are local classes near me for the first few books of the repertoire.

Do you think that’s helpful? Or does having a more knowledgeable parent backfire, and get in the way of the actual teacher teaching the child?

For a parent interested in being more helpful to their child, and maybe doing some volunteer teaching in the future: Is it better to do the comprehensive audition if you can, or the basic or intermediate auditions instead? How much higher is the expected playing standard in order to pass the intermediate or comprehensive auditions?

I was a Suzuki student as a child, up through book 6. I took conventional violin lessons after that. I play casually as an adult amateur. I do know both the Mozart 4 and 5 concertos.

Kurt Meisenbach said: Mar 5, 2017
Kurt Meisenbach
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
Plano, TX
45 posts

You ask some very good questions. In my experience there are no absolute answers. In your case you have a very solid Suzuki and general music background, so your instincts will guide you in the right direction.

I taught viola using the traditional method for many years. I had world class teachers, so the training I provided my students would be considered mainstream traditional teaching.

I embraced the Suzuki method because I want to teach young children. To do this you need a methodology and Suzuki is the best. I have not been disappointed. I recently visited Austin Texas, where I attended every concert that was given by the students at the their summer training seminar. It was edifying to see so many young people doing something so positive and having such a good time doing it.

With regard to your question about parent training, additional knowledge will not hurt, provided that you don’t contradict what the Suzuki teacher is saying in class. The issue is not that the teacher is always right or that your perspective is incorrect, but that conflicting guidance confuses the child. By the way I am developing a methodology that will include both written and video training for Suzuki parents in Uruguay, where I live and teach. The better educated the parent is, the better they will teach and the faster and more accurately their child will learn.

If you plan to teach Suzuki in the future, then it makes good sense to get training. It is of excellent quality and well with the time and effort. With regard to the audition, if you are in reasonable playing shape, go for the comprehensive audition. That way you can focus on learning and teaching. Otherwise, an intermediate audition will qualify you for the first three levels of training, which will keep you busy for some time.

It would be great if every parent could attend the ECC course, but this is not practical, although I recommend it to anyone who has the time. I have read two books that I found to be very helpful; The first is the Nurtured by Love, Revised Edition (2012), which you have probably already read. Read it slowly and at least twice. It is more than a biography. It is a rich insight into a great humanitarian who chose music as his road to personal betterment and the betterment of others. The second is To Learn With Love: A Companion for Suzuki Parents (1983, Summy-Birchard Music). Although this book is directed at Suzuki parents, it contains sage advice for Suzuki teachers who seek to expand their world of teaching knowledge.

I think your approach and attitude are laudable. Your child will do well. Good luck and best wishes.

L. Sullivan said: Mar 6, 2017
3 posts

Thank you.

How hard is to pass the comprehensive audition? What level of playing quality are the adjudicators looking for?

Audition information seems to be in the teacher’s forum, which I can’t read—is it SAA members only?—so I am asking here.

Barbara Castellvi Gomes said: Mar 6, 2017
Barbara Castellvi Gomes
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Voice
Pickering, ON
2 posts

Can you play pieces very well from Book 4? To pass the audition for teacher training in books 1-4,you need to play the Beethoven Sonata and the first movement of the Bach piece in the book. If you want to take training up to book 7 you need to audition with one of the more difficult Mozart pieces from book 6 or 7. They specify it on the SAA site.

L. Sullivan said: Mar 7, 2017
3 posts

My instrument is violin, not piano, but I did read the audition repertoire requirements. What I’m wondering about, though, is how good of an audition is expected—what it means to play “very well”, as you say. I did read how the auditions would be judged, also, but that only covers the categories of evaluation, not how high the expectations are.

I have watched YouTube videos of Suzuki teacher auditions, but most of the audition videos do not say whether or not the poster passed the audition, and the videos span a very wide range of skill. So it’s hard to tell how high the adjudicator expectations are.

Barbara Castellvi Gomes said: Mar 7, 2017
Barbara Castellvi Gomes
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Voice
Pickering, ON
2 posts

They are looking for good tone, generally good technique, comfort level with your instrument, fluidity etc. As a teacher you are the model so they are looking for capable musicians. All the other teachers I have trained with were very good players so far.

Cathy Hargrave said: Mar 8, 2017
 Teacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Rowlett, TX
51 posts

I am a teacher trainer for SAA and ESA in piano. What I would expect to see from an audition for being accepted into the teacher training program is someone who is competent and can fluently play the required pieces (assuming that means they are fluent on their instrument generally). I would not expect perfection (which does not exist) but would expect no struggling with the piece, appropriate tempo, tasteful dynamics and phrasing. I personally would reject any audition exhibiting rhythm problems, inappropriate tempos, obvious sight-reading, wrong notes from being unprepared, etc. I mention this because I have encountered this over the years. These days, I do not know who reviews the audition recordings but this is what I would hope is some of the criteria being used.

Rafael Videira said: Apr 21, 2017
Rafael Videira
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Violin
West Haven, CT
26 posts

I suspect auditions are judged with the SAA Performance Descriptors in mind. Again, this is what I suspect—I have no information on how it is actually done. This is a link for these descriptors.

Good luck!

Dr. Rafael Videira, DMA
Violist—Violin and Viola Instructor—Conductor

You must log in to post comments.

A note about the discussion forum: Public discussion forum posts are viewable by anyone. Anyone can read the forums, but you must create an account with your email address to post. Private forums are viewable by anyone that is a part of that private forum's group. Discussion forum posts are the opinion of the poster and do not constitute endorsement by or official position of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Please do not use the discussion forums to advertise products or services