Group Class/Studio Offerings—Long

said: Sep 13, 2007
Suzuki Association Member
120 posts

I need some advice/thoughts from all of you. The parents in my studio seem to have been building up a sort of resistance to group class. About half my students are transfers from two other teachers that left the area. When the students I with their previous teachers they had a fall group concert in October, one community performance for holiday music in Dec., a solo recital in January one week away from a local federation music event, and a group concert in April. I do exactly what the previous teacher had done. It seemed to work well, but I have recently had parents telling me it’s “too much”. I believe I posted on this topic before, but I can’t find the thread.

We started lessons during the last two weeks of August and our first concert is mid-October. We have 9 group classes between beginning and concert. The most advanced student is book 6 with a few in Book 5. We are attempting the Bach Double with just 6 kids (three on a part). We’re also doing a non-Suzuki piece for three violins. Problem is, attendance/attitude is beginning to be a problem and could affect the Oct concert. A few parents and students tell me that they just want to do games in group class. I want to mix it—working toward polishing pieces in combination with fun activities.

My questions are:
Does my program offer “too much” for them? Is it overwhelming?
Considering the amount of recitals we do, should I eliminate one and make more time for just learning/fun?

I don’t want to provide a lesser quality program. I believe that the students benefit from polishing group pieces twice a year together. I find that the general practice time for students in this area and my studio is not what it should be, and therefore the review needed to participate in group takes away from their current pieces. I maintain that if they were practicing more it wouldn’t be a problem. The parents see the review as busy work.

I would like to add that while I’m not a comedienne I do make every effort to make group class interesting, fun, and challenging. I am not someone, though, that is interested in providing ONLY a social outlet. It’s getting quite frustrating! HELP!

Debbie said: Sep 13, 2007
Debbie Mi138 posts

This may not fix your problem, but I can empathize! This year, in particular, I am feeling the result of many sports teams taking my students away from their violins! Not that I have a problem with sports. But it just seems that this year feels worse than past years. Maybe because they are getting older.

I finally decided not to make group a requirement. They pay for it, but they can come or not come based on their parent’s decision. This way, if it is really to much for the child, they can opt out of it. I know this seems not strict enough, but I have a thriving studio right now, and I want to keep it that way! And, most opt to do it. The ones who don’t are mostly all getting some great orchestra experiences in other groups, so they are not totally missing out on group experiences. They just have too much going on, and I think adapting to their needs is important.

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