3 month trial

Sara said: Jun 18, 2009
191 posts

Have any of you had parents tell you they want to sign the student up for three months and within that three months let the student decide whether or not she continues?
How does one respond to that? I’m used to parents being the ones in charge, not the kids. Is it better to go ahead and give her a chance and see what she does with it, or would you not take on a student under those term?
Any thoughts on the matter would be appreciated.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Laura said: Jun 18, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

How old is the student? If very young, then 3 months might not be long enough to know how things can be.

I would also have reservations regarding your teaching schedule if they choose to drop after 3 months. Would you be able to fill in that slot right away with another student? If not, I would make the minimum commitment 4 months (or one term), since it’s easier to take on new students at the start of a new term.

Karra said: Jun 19, 2009
51 posts

I’ve had students who want to try lessons for x amount of time just to see if they’ll like playing the cello, and yes, I’ve had some parents who let the child decide whether or not they still want to play. However, I don’t think 3 months is a long enough trial period. 6 months to a year, maybe, or after they’ve finished book 1. Did the parents say why they only want a 3 month trial period? I know some instrument shops rent instruments out by the quarter, but other than that I can’t think of why the term would be so short. For what it’s worth, I’ve had a lot of students who have had requests like the one you mention, and I can’t recall any that decided not to continue within that period. In fact, most seemed to forget all about it. I think it’s important for the child to want to study- after all, the Suzuki triangle really doesn’t work unless all 3 sides are working cooperatively together.

“It may very well be music that will one day save the world”— Pablo Casals

Sara said: Jun 19, 2009
191 posts

Thanks for your comments. The student is 7 yrs old. Good idea to suggest a longer trial period, and yes it’s true to have all three working together.
The parent mentioned she didn’t want to invest a lot financially if the student is just going to up and quit. That is why the short trial period.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Lynn said: Jun 19, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
173 posts

When a parent asks me for a trial period, what I hear is that there is interest, but they simply do not know yet if the interest is strong enough to sign on for the long haul—which is probably where many people start, whether they state it outright or not. We know that in the context of learning to play an instrument three months is barely getting started, but from a parent’s perspective, three months is a reasonable to generous trial of a new activity that is fairly expensive. In my experience if a family or student wants to stop, they’ll stop, regardless of whether a certain amount of time has elapsed first, and quite honestly, if they’ve decided they really don’t want lessons, or lessons from me, who benefits if they show up anyway just to put in their time until some date on the calendar? In the meantime, you have three months with this student and her parents to capture their attention, ignite their enthusiasm, and enable them to experience how lessons with you adds value to their lives.

Sara said: Jun 19, 2009
191 posts

Yes, I think I need to approach this as an opportunity to capture them!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Jennifer Visick said: Jun 20, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

For a 7 year old I would ask for a school year’s commitment from parents and student together at the least. (Around here, the school starts in September and ends in June, so that’s about 9 months).

That would give them ample time to experience the full cycle of recitals, group classes, concerts, practice sessions, vacations, hard work, and at least have something to show for it at an end-of-year recital. After 3 months I would not expect anyone to be able to see the full reward of most of the work they’ve been doing up to that point.

Diane said: Jun 24, 2009
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

I specifically tell parents that it is their decision 100% up through elementary school. There are too many ups and downs for a young child to understand the big picture. If the parent is wishy washy then the child will be. If the parent is firm—yes you brush your teeth and yes you play the violin… you get the idea.

By middle school the student has either connected with their violin playing, is not connected with their violin playing, or has had enough expericence that they can transfer what they’ve learned to other interests or pick up violin later.

Think Big Picture!

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Jennifer said: Jul 28, 2009
Jennifer Moberg
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Dehbori Kabul, Afghanistan
71 posts

I get a lot of these questions in the seminars I give….. What I tell the parents is something to the effect of: “A child is not capable of making high level decisions. If left to their own defenses, children would eat candy and watch cartoons all day, with a very likely chance of destruction of property. Kids do not decide what school to attend, what mom or dad puts on the dinner table, what kind of church to attend, or even who they get to hang out with on play dates. All of this is totally up to the parents. You are the one who decides to play the violin or not play the violin; you are the one who decides whether or not to practice, go to lessons, attend concerts. A child decides whether or not to do what she is already able to do, nothing more.”
This generally satisfies them, and if it does not, I tell them they are probably better off joining a general or intro-to-music program, or finding a school with less emphasis on family philosophy and commitment.

“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.”


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