How to Choose a Teacher
Find a Teacher
Locate a Suzuki teacher in your area with the Find a Teacher search.
When you have determined that you would like your child to learn an instrument through the Suzuki Method, you will want to find a teacher to work with you and your child. This is an important decision since this relationship can be a long-lasting one with a great impact on your whole family’s musical experience.
You may obtain lists of SAA member teachers in all areas of the US and Canada through the Find a Teacher search. Teachers who are members of the Suzuki Association are dedicated to the principles of the Suzuki Method and to their own continued professional development through SAA training.
Once you have the names of some possible teachers, you can begin to gather the information you need to choose the best teacher for your child. Below are a few guidelines to help in this process.
Observe some teachers at work. Many Suzuki teachers actually require prospective parents and children to observe individual and group lessons and other activities before beginning study.
When you attend the lessons of a prospective teacher, observe the relationships between teacher and child, and teacher and parent. Is the atmosphere pleasant and relaxed? Does the teacher expect and receive respectful attention? Is there a good balance between concentrated work and good humor? Are the teacher’s comments supportive and encouraging even when necessary corrections are made? Does the teacher show a grasp of the basic technical problems and demonstrate how they can be solved? Does the teacher make sure the parent understands the goals for home practice? To questions like these, add prerequisites important to you.
Look for loving care of the child coupled with high standards for every level of performance. Each child should be consistently challenged to produce the best of which s/he is capable. It is possible for this to be done in an atmosphere of love and encouragement, and this is the goal of teachers who follow Suzuki’s philosophy.
Ask teachers if they are SAA members and inquire about their training and experience. Most teachers are happy to give you this information. You may also call the SAA office for information on the training teachers have registered with the Association. Don’t be fooled into believing that “anyone can teach Suzuki.” It’s fine if one loves children, praises and encourages them, provides listening opportunities, and uses the Suzuki repertoire, but the teacher must also have knowledge of the technique of the instrument and of the philosophy that underlies the Suzuki Method.
Find out about the teacher’s expectations of his/her students and let the teacher know about your expectations, your understanding of the Suzuki approach, and your family’s commitment to Suzuki study.
Talk to parents of other students in the studio or program about their family’s experience.
Moving to a new area?
The above suggestions are also helpful if you have been working with a Suzuki teacher but are moving to a new area or are considering finding a new teacher for other reasons. Here are a few additional ideas to keep in mind when changing teachers:
If you change teachers in the same area, it is courteous to let the current teacher know that you don’t plan to continue study so he or she does not reserve lesson time for your child.
Keep comparisons between the old and new teachers to a minimum in order to make the transition easier for your child.