Students old enough to study an instrument receive both an individual lesson and group class each week. This combination of private lessons and group classes lies at the heart of Dr. Suzuki's philosophy. Private lessons develop a student’s personal understanding. Group classes help students share their experiences with others in a fun and non-competitive environment.
the private lesson
The Private Instrumental lesson lies at the heart of the learning process. Each week the private instructor teaches your child the techniques with which to improve. Since a young child needs structure and support, parents come to every lesson, take notes and discuss the lesson with the teacher. The parent takes away the techniques learned and provides a home environment in which they can be practiced daily. In this way, the parent is able to ensure that the child is able to repeat the goals of the private lesson every day and can help shepherd the child towards productive and self-reflective learning. Lessons take place each week and last between 30 minutes to 1 hour depending a child's age and level of experience.
the group class
Each instrument has its own weekly group class. The concept of group classes is central to the Suzuki philosophy and its unified repertoire of music. Weekly group classes give students the chance to play with their peers in a fun surrounding and reinforce the concepts learned in the private lesson. Group classes are organized by experience level and each level is offered several times throughout the week to give parents options in scheduling. Parents are expected to attend group class with their children and while parental involvement is less focused, observers can offer the praise and support that makes any learning more productive.
Group classes in violin, viola, cello, flute and guitar are organized by playing level without regard to age.
Piano group classes are organized by a combination of factors that include learning levels, academic age groups, and skill. Piano group class falls into two categories - piano performance class, which is offered once a month by book level and - musicianship class, which teaches young pianists solfege technique, music reading and music theory in a combined curriculum. Musicianship classes are weekly classes
At the heart of this syllabus is the Suzuki Repertoire which combines folk songs and classical masterpieces whose structure is part of the learning process. Since every child learns the same music it enables students to play together instantly.
Through the involvement of a parent a child's learning does not just happen in the classroom but also at home. By bringing the process into the home the line between classroom and lifestyle is blurred. The purpose of this process is immersion. A Suzuki parents job is to immerse their child with music in their everyday life; practicing, listening and performing as part of everyday life.
In both the private lesson and the group class the parent is expected to participate actively; attending lessons, taking notes and helping children take the lessons learned back home. The beauty of this approach means that every parent can take an active part in their child's learning process.