Two violin teachers at the same time

said: Oct 30, 2007
 8 posts

I would like to hear your thought on having two separate Suzuki violin teachers at the same time for a 4 year-old child. I did a search on the Exchange but could not find discussion related to what I may be about to do.

The Suzuki teacher my 4 year-old-son is currently with for over a year has been a wonderful teacher and my son has become comfortable taking the lesson with her. To add a little twist, I have been an adult student with the same teacher for almost two years. The program she belongs to currently does not have enough children to form a group class. And, whether or not there will be one the coming February is very much up in the air, even though the director was confident there would be one. We found another local Suzuki program that does have a group class. Recently, we had an opportunity to observe the class and the children appeared to have a great time during the class and very enthusiastic from what we could tell. Understandably, in order to join the group lesson there my son will have to also take the private lesson with one of the teacher. My wife and I are wondering if there will be pros and cons of having two teachers on the same instrument given our son’s age, and whether differences in teaching styles would collide with each other, etc. We are leaning toward having two teachers at the same time. Obviously, the cost to have multiple private-lesson teachers can be an issue but that’s something we would like to take out from the equation for the time-being. We do not want to come away as if we are being disrespectful with the current teacher. Especially I am planning to continue my own lesson.

I appreciate to hear your thought or experience, both from the professional side as teachers and from parent’s point of view.


“Amateur parent seeking professional parenting advice.” :)

said: Oct 30, 2007
 89 posts

In general, two teachers at the same time is a really bad idea. especially for young children at the early stages of learning an instrument.

Have you explored the possibility that the other program might make an exception and let you enroll in “group only” for the coming term? I’ve done this in the past, and while the school wasn’t thrilled with it, they were responsive to my desire to show respect to our current teacher while still giving my child the best possible music education. (I think there was an additional charge for us compared to what private students at the school paid.)

I found that I needed to talk to the person in charge, though. If you speak with the general office person, they’ll probably just tell you that the policy won’t allow that.

Charles Krigbaum said: Oct 30, 2007
Charles KrigbaumTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Wylie, TX
78 posts

Please talk with your current teacher about this. I personally would not allow my student to take from two teachers. Each teacher has a specific vision and sequence of skills to realize their own plan. Having two conflicting viewpoints is a recipe for disaster, and no two teachers teach exactly alike.

I’m sorry you are experiencing this, I know you only want what is best…and group lessons are SO important. Good luck sorting out this slippery slope, let us know how everything turns out.

This message has been brought to you by:

Charles Krigbaum, Director
North Texas School of Talent Education

Jennifer Visick said: Nov 3, 2007
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1076 posts

Unless both teachers wholeheartedly agree to the plan, and both know each other, and both are willing to work together and on the same points at the same time, it’s unlikely that this would work very well.

I think you have two viable options:

  1. stick with the current teacher for both of you, and cut your losses (with the group class)

  2. switch teachers for your child, and cut your losses (with the relationship your child already has going with the current teacher).

You have to decide which thing is more important. I had a student switch to another teacher’s studio once because the parent found out that there was another program in the area which several of the child’s classmates from school were enrolled in. In that case, even though there was a group class in my program, the benefits (i.e. MOTIVATION) of being in a group class with several school friends was more important than sticking with the same private teacher.

On the other hand, that student had only been with me for about 6 months and had transferred to me from another teacher before that, so you can see that the ‘relationship’ wasn’t as long-standing or as deep as it would have been had I started that student and been working with them for a couple of years.

said: Nov 12, 2007
 56 posts

Hi all,

actually i am also facing the same problems. We are with a very wonderful teacher for a year and also have group class with the same teacher.

The downside is that the other parents in the group class do not share the same vision, they see it as just to “pass-the-time” and do not practice at home at all. Hence my kid’s progress is sort of being slowed down, while the teacher tries her best to encourage all the parents to practice.

Where I live, there is a national arts school which is currently auditioning for “gifted” kids to enrol, where they will be taught by members of the national symphony.

My most likely course of action is that I will continue our individual lessons with my current teacher, drop the group class, but go for the national arts programme. (that is , if we are selected :D )

However, I fear the potential problems that may arise from having 2 teachers, and also not sure what to expect from a national arts programme for the gifted.

Appreciate all your advice. Many thanks !

Talent is not born, but created

Kirsten said: Nov 13, 2007
 103 posts

It largely depends on the age of your child as well. Good teaching is good teaching, but I think that we sometimes forget that kids used to begin an instrument at age 10, 11 or 12. Because of the Suzuki students, many traditional teachers are willing to take students at age 5 or 6 now. Some will start even younger.

I think one of the main advantages we have as a teaching community is that we study and talk about child development, and that our teaching uses a developmental approach. Our expectations are high in general, but they are sized for the student, just like their violins. We also know how to make music enjoyable and relevant from a child’s point of view.

Even though I hate to make any generalizations about the world beyond Suzuki, I would suggest the following: In looking at the gifted program, take a serious look at how the teachers relate to the “child” or the “teenager” as well as how they relate to the “gifted musician.” Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Approach with caution, and try to ascertain what they mean by “gifted”, and how they handle “gifted.” There are great musicians out there who are not great teachers.


said: Nov 14, 2007
 56 posts

Thanks for your replies.

the following comes to my mind :
1. Age of my child : she may be too young to handle the stress of being in a gifted programme, where there could be intense competition, and that it requires independent learning.

  1. fear of asking my current teacher for her opinion. She is a wonderful teacher, but I don’t know what is her response if I ask for her comments on the gifted programme.

  2. There is the question of how early / how soon is the child ready for the pressure of competitive playing/ going for auditions, facing judges(and often times, judgement passed is often subjective), facing failure, etc. Will all these stifle the young and unprepared ?

Guess my intentions have gone beyond playing just for “passing time”, but gotten into grooming my kid to have a more intense love for the violin. However, i do not know what is the next step for us. There could be many who are facing the same questions as me ? Appreciate all your advise. Thanks !

Talent is not born, but created

Lynn said: Nov 14, 2007
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
173 posts

There is the question of how early / how soon is the child ready for the pressure of competitive playing/ going for auditions, facing judges(and often times, judgement passed is often subjective), facing failure, etc. Will all these stifle the young and unprepared ?

That really depends on the personality and sensitivity of the child. I have had students who love the challenge of being thrown in over their heads, or trying to hold their own against those with stronger skills. I have also had students who would be destroyed by that experience. The younger the child, the more wary I would be about having a pressured, competitive judgmental environment part of their formative experience. Remember they are not just learning the violin; they are also learning about themselves, their capabilities, and their self worth.

The best way to cultivate love is to have your child in a situation where she is supported, nurtured and able/allowed to grow emotionally and personally as well as musically. If the situation is a bad mis-match, it ain’t gonna happen!

What kind of parents will YOU be keeping company with in this school?
(”My kid’s better than your kid”….oh, PLEASE ‘:roll:’)
Not to stereotype or generalize, but that attitude is out there!

Forget “gifted” and “members of the National Symphony” and “national arts programmme”, all of which sounds seductively prestigious. And please make sure that your maternal ego isn’t being just a little warmed by the prospect of applying those labels and credentials to your child! Look past any marketing materials designed to generate enrollment. Go visit the school on a “regular” day, if you can, talk to other parents, talk to teachers, observe lessons, try and get an idea of the kind and quality of environment you and your child will be spending time in. Decide if this is the environment you want shaping and influencing your child’s growth and development, and if it’s appropriate for him or her at this time. If you go in for the long haul, it will have an influence—and on you as well!

You’ll have to talk to your teacher at some point; do it now. She may know or know about the school, and the teachers there, and could give you some helpful insight in making your evaluation. If she’s been a good teacher for you so far, trust her to do right by you here as well.

said: Nov 15, 2007
 56 posts

Thanks for all your replies.

I did talk to my teacher regarding other kids in the group not practicing at home, and therefore slowing down the class. She did drop hints and suggestions to the other parents that their kids are not moving up to speed and either has to speed up, or they may likely require 1-to-1 indiv classes as well.

However, we’ll have to see if the other parents respond or not. Between my teacher and myself, we have come to a private agreement that by year end, if the other kids do not buck up, then we’ll leave the group class(size of 3 now) and we’ll do indiv classes on our own. Most likely the group class has to fold, and it’ll be a great pity for all parties.

As for the “national programme”, my gut feel is that my kid is not that mature yet. And it will actually hurt her than help her. So we’ll shelve it till she is older.

Many Thanks to all who have given advice. Whats the best way to ask my teacher about the “national” programme without leaving her thinking that i doubt her teaching ? which I am not. :D

Talent is not born, but created

said: Nov 16, 2007
 104 posts


Is your child currently in a program where there is group class only, and NO individual instruction? If your only instruction is coming from a group class, then the others’ practice habits and progress will affect you a great deal, and I would not be surprised that you would want to switch to a different program. The program you are considering sounds tempting —would you mind sharing the age of your child, and where he or she is in the Suzuki repertoire? Are you noticing a big gap in achievement between your child and others in the program? Have you observed the children in the program you are considering? I agree that an observation is in order—I wouldn’t consider a switch to a program where you haven’t had a chance to observe the students. That experience can be very telling.

said: Nov 18, 2007
 56 posts

Hi Profcornelia,

currently, my child (4+yo) is having 1 indiv classes and 1 group class with the same teacher per week.

we are on minuet 2 of bk 1 with the group class, but in the indiv class, we have already done gavotte song 17 bk 1 and have started work on Vivaldi’s A minor concerto.

Will enquire with the national school on whether we can observe one of their class lessons, but I doubt if they will allow that.

If we stop the group class, we may ask for an extra indiv lesson, so that makes 2 indiv lessons per week. Is it more beneficial ? compared to 1 indiv and 1 group lesson per week ?

thanks !

Talent is not born, but created

said: Nov 19, 2007
 104 posts

Your situation sounds exceptional and unusual. You don’t come across many children who are the age of your child and playing the Vivaldi. I think having more than one teacher in a situation where one of them is going to take unconventional routes could be problematic, though. No doubt there would be many teachers who would oppose the idea of skipping books 2-3 entirely (did I understand correctly, you’re going from Gossec to the Vivaldi?).

I agree with Freesia that your child may be benefitting from the current group in purely social ways—and that’s important too. But I suppose if you can find a peer group where there is social camaraderie as well as a higher level of playing that matches your chid’s achievements, it makes sense to switch.

Personally, I would love to hear the Vivaldi on a 1/16 size instrument! Never heard that before! :D

said: Nov 19, 2007
 56 posts

yes, I do agree with Freesia that we have to slow down and refine on technique and musical sensitivity. That is very very true.

It does make sense to switch classes in order to enjoy social camaraderie as well as a higher level of playing. However, the current group class is the highest level that my teacher is teaching at the school, because she has just started teaching about 1.5 year ago.

Yes, profcornelia, actually we have just started working on some of the difficult phases of Vivaldi’s A minor concerto. But not the whole piece yet. That will be a while longer :D

And we just recently bought a 1/8th to replace(long overdue replacement) her 1/16 student-grade(aka cheap) violin. Believe me, you will not enjoy hearing the A minor concerto on a student-grade 1/16 violin, with all the screeching and poor sound produced on a student grade violin. That is when I really started to appreciate buying a better violin for my kid.

btw, if you have read between the lines you will know that we are on a shoe-string budget! :D

Talent is not born, but created

said: Nov 19, 2007
 56 posts

btw, i remembered someone in this forum did mention that there are kids out there already playing Vivaldi’s A minor concerto at age 4 after a year in the programme. And I do remember Prof Suzuki also mentioned in his book that his initial students, e.g. Koji(i forgot the name) who also did the same. So its not that uncommon, i guess ?

Talent is not born, but created

said: Nov 20, 2007
 56 posts

yes Freesia, it was Koji Toyoda! I remembered that he even went on to become concert master of a wellknown orchestra in Berlin(? slipped my mind again). But Koji’s story really inspired me a lot.

Its not that she doesn’t like the other kids, in fact its the reverse. Just that the level of commitment is very different. She is the youngest in the class, and that is precisely the problem, because she looks up to the older kids, follows them all the time, even when they are obviously playing the wrong notes. Sigh…

Perhaps one thing we can work on is to help her build self confidence in herself, despite her age.

Talent is not born, but created

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