how many students?


Nobuaki said: Feb 25, 2006
Nobuaki Tanaka
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Mount Prospect, IL
115 posts

i have a question.

I wonder how many students you can teach every week? do you teach four, five, or six days a week? How many students do you think you can teach every week? Please let me know. so I can figure out how other suzuki teachers are doing.

thank you

said: Feb 25, 2006
 32 posts

Well, there is a difference between how many students you “can” teach and how many you “should” teach. I know of a teacher who teaches 6 days a week and has 70 students, and she is completely stressed out—I also wonder at the quality of her teaching. I have 52 students and teach about 38 hours a week (5 days a week)—I find it very managable as long as I take off spring break, Christmas break and a break in the summer. I enjoy teaching and am also supporting my husband through grad school. I don’t think it’s something you can just quantify—it depends on your family situation, endurance, enjoyment of teaching, and also the families that you work with!

Connie Sunday said: Feb 28, 2006
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I’ve wondered about this myself, and from what I gather from other teachers, 50 is about the max. You could aim for 50 but be satisfied with 40. I think 60 is a stretch and 70 is too many.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

said: Feb 28, 2006
 122 posts

For me I’d rather teach 25-30 hours a week filled with 45 minute and 60 minute private lessons, plus group classes too. I find it MUCH harder to have all beginners with 30 minute lessons-to me it feels like a revolving door and takes much more energy. I’m most happy with about 35 students of mixed levels. 50 students for me would be a lot, especially since in order to teach this many I’d either have a studio full of kids on 30 minute lessons, be teaching 6-7 days a week, or 8 hours a day!

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

Janelle said: Mar 2, 2006
Janelle Severson
Suzuki Association Member
9 posts

I currently have 28 students in my violin studio ranging from Pre-Twinkle through Book 6 (30minute -1 hour lessons) I have a 2 year old son and a baby on the way. I find that this number of students allows me to feel successful at being a teacher and being a mom. Everyone has their balance that works for them. Take your time and add to your studio slowly. Beginning/Young students will eventually require more lesson time to accomplish all of their lesson goals. Good luck.

Jennifer Visick said: Mar 5, 2006
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

50 students? 70 students? (!?!)

I once went to a seminar where John Kendall was speaking; he advised no more than 30 students per week, MAX. After gaining a few years of teaching experience, I agree: after 5 lessons in one day, I’m quite ready to quit for the evening! However, I am not an extroverted person; being around people drains my energy, and I NEED time alone. I’m actually quite happy teaching only 10 students a week, (plus group classes). I also spend time preparing student’s lessons beforehand, so that adds to the amount of time I spend “working” for each student each week.

that said, I’d be willing to take up to 25 students a week. Perhaps when I’ve been teaching for 20 years, I’ll be savvy enough to be able to cut down my “preparation” time for each student, thus giving me more time for teaching.

said: Mar 5, 2006
 122 posts

For me it’s highly dependent on how long the vast majority of the students have been with me. It’s MUCH harder for me to have a lot of students who have recently started with me as beginners or recent transfers. Right now I have 30 students that have been with me for one year or longer (just 1 current beginner) and I feel my teaching load is pretty easy. I teach about 25 hours a week of group and private lessons.

I hate bringing this up, but there is the financial reality of needing a certain number of students to pay the bills. I’d like 3-5 more hours of teaching a week to feel truly comfortable and be able to take a vacation every now and then. Right now I’m making enough to pay the bills, save a little, and put a little away for retirement. 70 students sounds like a nightmare to me, but I do have a couple of friends who are doing it well. I know for me I’d be a burnt out, tired, unorganized mess if I taught this many kids!

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

said: Mar 6, 2006
 1 posts

I once heard from Mr Yasuki Nakamura, our teacher trainor, who, when asked by Dr. Suzuki how many students is he teaching, proudly said “I have 60 students” to which Dr. Suzuki replied ” 60 ONLY? we have to teach more, so we can help more children.” I also know of some teachers from Japan and Korea who have over a hundred students (most of them give 20 minute lessons and an hour a week of group lessons) and perhaps this is why they can have this much number of students. I think if a person gets stressed out in teaching about 30 to 40 students, there mught be something that needs to be adjusted in his/her approach to teaching. Dr. Suzuki said that he doesnt get tired teaching because he finds energy in meeting and teaching children. Its enjoyable and doesnt make him stressed out.

I myself have ONLY about 40 students in four different studios around the Philippines (three in Manila, one in a city 2 hours away from Manila and another in Cebu City, an hour by plane from Manila but which I visit only once a month.) I also have another day job of working as an assistant conductor of a professional orchestra in Manila. But I find teaching an immense joy although at times I feel like I am not able to give a hundred percent for each student all the time. But Dr. Suzuki’s urgent message for the world and for children keeps me looking for that extra energy to keep me going.

Diana said: Mar 7, 2006
Diana Umile
Suzuki Association Member
Coatesville, PA
36 posts

But let’s remember that Dr. Suzuki did not have children of his own…many of us need to keep some of our after-school time for our own kids.

As a side note, many 3 and 4 year olds have very short lessons (until the first yawn)…one can teach more of these in an hour than 30—45 minute lessons.

Angie said: Mar 7, 2006
Angie Tung
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
3 posts

I agree with pianolover, also another thing to consider is the cultural differences between the countries. I grew up in the East and the society has an entirely different attitude toward learning music, and as a result the students are very different (usually easier to teach) from students that you would find here. Having over a hundred students in Korea or Japan is likely a very different experience than having over a hundred students in the States. Plus, it isn’t just the students—we’re talking about teaching the parents, too. Teaching a student with a conscientious parent gives you more energy afterwards, instead of draining you, ’cause the parent is working with you, instead of against you.

said: Mar 7, 2006
 5 posts

How is the attitude towards learning music different in the East? Sounds interesting to compare.

Mother of twins (11/16/00)
Son began cello at 3 1/2 years
Daughter began violin at 4 1/2 years

said: Mar 7, 2006
 122 posts


I think if a person gets stressed out in teaching about 30 to 40 students, there mught be something that needs to be adjusted in his/her approach to teaching. Dr. Suzuki said that he doesnt get tired teaching because he finds energy in meeting and teaching children. Its enjoyable and doesnt make him stressed out.

I wholeheartedly disagree and find this statement naive. For a person who is an extrovert and feeds off of other people’s energy to rejuvinate, I believe your statement is true. For those of us that are introverts and need down time alone to rejuvinate, your statement is false. This is one of the main things that separate introverts from extrovets.And not all of us have a Mrs Suzuki to do the cooking, cleaning, bill paying, etc while we focus soley on our teaching. I teach my 30 students (most of 45 or hours, plus 4 hours of grou!), take classes, run my program, help out the local association, AND do all the houework, shopping, and bill paying. I can’t even imagine having my own kids on top of this! I’m still having a hard time finding time to exercise, learn how to cook gourmet, reading the whole paper every day, and taking up ceramics.

Music is not everything in life. As a conservatory grad that spent easily 15 hours a day on my studies for years, I am now finding a balance between work and life. I do not feel I need to save every child out there! There are 80 other Suzuki teachers in my town to help me out.

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

said: Mar 7, 2006
 122 posts


I agree with pianolover, also another thing to consider is the cultural differences between the countries. Teaching a student with a conscientious parent gives you more energy afterwards, instead of draining you, ’cause the parent is working with you, instead of against you.

I’ve heard this too. My Asian students (especially the Japanese families) are SO easy to teach, the parents are super respectful to me and don’t demand more time than the lesson (my American parents feel they have a right to call me late at night and on weekends despite me telling them not to do so!), their children fight with the parent less and always listen to me, and assignments are always done. Desipte parent education before lessons start and continuing parent ed, my American families aren’t quite like this.

“When love is deep, much can be accomplished.”
-Shinichi Suzuki

Angie said: Mar 15, 2006
Angie Tung
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
3 posts

Before I possibly offend anybody, I want to mention that I’m only speaking from my own personal experience, and I don’t wish to generalize any Eastern culture.

I grew up in Taiwan, and the society places a different value on arts and music as compared to the States. For after school activities, more often parents place in their children in music/art related classes, and less often in sports. So think about how we feel about sports teams in the States and how supportive the stereotypical ’soccer moms’ are. Now, picture that kind of dedication, instead, from a music mom, and that’s pretty much how it was. When I was growing up, missing a lesson was never an option, and being late to a lesson was unacceptable. Parents are very proud of children who do well in music, comparable to a parent whose child is the star of their minor league team here in the States. Piano teachers are treated as school teachers, and there’s a difference sense of repsect for school teachers in Taiwan (a small example is that we have a Teacher’s Day, which I believe is Confucious’ birthday). Their job is to educate, NOT babysit. The parents are responsible for raising well behaved children, and if the child throw a fit in a piano studio, it is their job to remove the student and often they are horribly embarassed to have wasted the teacher’s time. And on this topic of teachers—there’s also other cultural difference, such as punishment in schools. Teachers are allowed to physically punish students and not have to worry about consequences such as being sued by an irate parent, and having this option creates an entirely different teacher/student/parent relationship.

So, this can go on a while, but I think the majority of the reason boils down to respect for one another. I find that in the Taiwanese culture, there is simply more repsect: The children respect both the parents/teachers and trust their judgement so they’re less fussy/arguementative, and the parents respect the teachers’ time and energy to be sure that their children are well behaved and focused during lessons. Teachers are very well repsected in Taiwan, and I think it really shows, by the level of education that we see coming out of the little island.

There are many other things that factor into this, and unfortunately my conclusion is simply that the main stream American culture does not support the studying of music and art, and the acdemic system of this country is a mess. It has kept me from wanting to teach in the public school system, because I just don’t believe the system works. Kind of a bummer, but that’s the cultural difference!

Connie Sunday said: Mar 15, 2006
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

There is also a powerful strain of anti-intellectualism in this country (and in the UK). In the US we like to pretend we don’t have social classes when in fact we do, but because these differences are not supposed to exist, anyone with the chutzpah to exhibit a well-disciplined mentality is apt to encounter accusation of “snobby” and “who do you think you are.”

This I have encountered nowhere nearly as much as in the good ‘ole US of A.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

Redding Farlow said: Mar 26, 2006
Redding Farlow Soderberg
Suzuki Association Member
Myrtle Beach, SC
20 posts

I am single w/ no children of my own…just a dog. I have 37 students and their lessons range from 20 minutes (for some of my 3 and 4 year olds) to 1 hour. I teach Monday through Thursday from home and then my colleagues and I teach group lessons two Fridays a month. My studio is still growing although I don’t want to teach any later at night. I already teach until around 7:30 each weeknight (except Fridays). I have several students that are homeschooled so it’s nice that they can have their lessons during the day when my other students are in school.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” -Sir Winston Churchill

said: Mar 29, 2006
 1 posts


I find your comments very interesting, and enlightening.

Our family treats music with a very similar dedication to how you described the way you grew up in Taiwan. We have much respect for all our music teachers, so much so that they seem a little surprised (at times) by the extent of it. I thought we might be over the top, and didn’t really think about how other families may treat the teacher. ( They always appreciate the respect that is shown)

My children look to their teachers as role models and educators and best behaviour is expected at all times. Our children have enjoyed great success in their instruments and neither my husband nor I have much of a musical background at all.

Their other “keeper activity is karate” which is the Japanese form shotokan. Here the Sensei has quite a lot of freedom in teaching respect an using discipline (sometimes in a physical way). All karate sessions are observed by parents, but the teaching is very traditional and not watered down much for our Western society.
Both music and karate have been attended since the age of 4.

Music is not just another activity for us, it is a “life skill”.

Having said that my children are also very active and serious about sports. We believe that both their mind and body need to be healthy and challenged.

Cynthia Faisst said: Apr 28, 2006
Cynthia Faisst
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Irvine, CA
126 posts

I am hearing gang kids accuse the students who are dedicated to their studies of behaving like white people.

I’m puzzled because it is our white male leadership who are most likely to be self depricating about being studious. They are so afraid of appearing to be uppity with the public eye.

The way I see it the kids are catching their distain for education from what is promoted by those who appear to have the most influence on society.

Aspiring to be educated should not be confused with snobbishness

nor should foolishness be confused with authentic humbleness.

It is not in our best interest to confuse the next generation about these things.

Ms. Cynthia
Talent Education Center: Suzuki Violin
Director of Santa Ana Suzuki Strings located at the
Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center
Volunteer, bring music to under-served communities around the world. Create Sound Investments and Futures.

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