said: Oct 25, 2010
 24 posts

My son’s teacher keeps saying he should start learning more theory and how to read music; however, he has a 45 minute lesson that is very very high paced and full of great music instruction. She tries to get to theory and note reading during the lesson, but usually they are very busy with the activities she has planned

I was wondering if it would be okay to work on these things at home? I’m not a musician, but I looked through some books at the music store and it seems like I can handle that part for the teacher. I talked to my son about this and he really likes the idea of us doing this together every night before bed time.

If it is okay for me to take responsibility for these items at home, are there any recommended resources? I was also thinking about incorporating teaching him about musicians, composers, and significant music compositions along with this. I was thinking perhaps 20-30 minutes a day before bed time would do.

Please let me know what you think.


Jennifer Visick said: Oct 26, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

Speak to the teacher about doing this and as for their recommendations for what books and resources to use!

said: Oct 26, 2010
 24 posts

I would talk to the teacher, but I never really get the chance to talk to her during the lesson and we don’t have parent teacher conferences at the music school he attends. She doesn’t have breaks between students so when one is leaving we are setting up immediately and then ending immediately. I just find it hard to find a minute to talk with her and I don’t want to send her e-mails because I don’t want to intrude on her personal time. She is an awesome teacher and I really appreciate her, just trying to be considerate.

Ruth Brons said: Oct 27, 2010
Ruth Brons
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Livingston, NJ
148 posts

It’s appropriate to use lesson time for important discussions such as this.

At the beginning of the lesson ask the teacher to save a few minutes at the end of the lesson
to discuss how you can do supplementary music theory/music history at home.

This way she can control the timing issues, as well as have a chance to organize her thoughts.

Best Wishes,

Jennifer Visick said: Oct 28, 2010
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
997 posts

There is nothing wrong with sending your teacher an email, alerting her that you would like to talk about this at the next lesson. Keep it short and polite and it will not intrude on her personal time. This will give her even more time to figure out what it is she would recommend for you. A brief phone message is also appropriate.

(Unless, of course, the teacher has specifically requested that you not send emails or call her. In which case you should find out if the school has a “business” phone message center or email message center for their teachers which you can use to send your teacher a message during the week).

Danielle Gomez Kravitz said: Nov 10, 2010
Danielle Gomez Kravitz
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
59 posts

I use the “blue jello” cards all the time with my younger students and they love them:

I bought mine but I work with another teacher who just handmade hers and lamented them.

As others have mentioned, definitely talk with your teacher. But I’ve had several parents (not musically inclined either!) buy these cards and use them at home with their kids. Most of the materials on that music mind games site is pretty user friendly for both parents and teachers. And as I mentioned before, you can make a lot of them yourself so you don’t have to spend a million bucks.

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