Group Class Question—what do you think?

said: Sep 7, 2009
 103 posts

Hi there,

Some Background:
Over the past 5 years I have taught violin group classes in addition to the students weekly private lesson (which parents attend). It has been my policy that parents are to attend/observe these group classes each week. Then a couple times a year I have parent meetings, one in the fall & another after the new year—in place of the group class.

I have found though that after a year or two of observing, or once the student is capable of playing without much assistance needed at group—that parents find it very onerous to have to attend. They always bring the students, but some of the parents have begun attending sporadically.

I have to admit too, that I am not always the best at including the parents in each group class. Also to note, is that most of my students are currently age 9/10 or older, with a few 7yr olds. Group class is 45mins in length.

The Idea:
So my thought is, rather than gradually loose all parent attendance; instead require that they attend the 1st group class of each month—at those classes I could spend 5 mins. covering one of the Suzuki points, and make sure that some of the group activities have parent participation in some way.

Meanwhile, the parents of new beginners would be required to attend all classes, as has been the case till now anyway.

What do you think? Should I change how my policy is regarding parental attendance at group? Can you see this working or not? Any ideas on topics to cover or ways to keep parents involved?


Ruth Brons said: Sep 8, 2009
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

I have found that as a program matures, the parents who have been around a while tend to support the newbies, easing the teacher’s burden of parent education. Thus the group classes have more time to deal with Review, Preview, Solo Prep, Group Concert Prep and GAMES -which really is ENOUGH to juggle!

My only rule with parents not staying is that any “dropped off” child must be left in the care of an adult that is NOT me—just in case there are any emotional, medical or transportation issues. I remember teacher trainer Kay Sloan pointing out that one of the benefits of Suzuki violin is that each child gains a whole bunch of moms!

Ideally, all parents should attend all classes, but the realities of life do necessitate compromises.

Best Wishes,

Ruth Brons
Inventor of Bow Hold Buddies[tm] Instant Bow Hold accessory for violin/viola, and
CelloPhant[tm] bow accessory for cello

Sara said: Sep 8, 2009
191 posts

Maybe I should start requiring parents to attend group, but right now I haven’t required that of them except for my real small students. But once they are up and playing and old enough, I don’t require if of them.
It is a good idea as above mentioned to put them in care of another adult. I haven’t really thought of that. I will add that though!

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

Ruth Brons said: Sep 8, 2009
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

One additional thought:

An issue I did not think to mention earlier is that of Communication.

With parent attendance not a given, it is important to assure that class announcements, such as changes in class schedules, concert dress or repertoire, competitions, etc. do get to all parents via handouts, emails, or studio website!

Ruth Brons, inventor of
Bow Hold Buddies[tm] and CelloPhant[tm] Instant Bow Hold bow accessories

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