Getting Started, Ages 8 & Up
Observation is a great first step in familiarizing yourself with the Suzuki Method and with my teaching style. Before deciding that cello is a good fit for your family, all parents and prospective students must observe at least two private lessons before requesting a lesson time. This allows you to evaluate the fit of my teaching style with your goals and expectations for your child, it helps your family become familiar with the lesson environment, expectations and commitment and prepares you for getting started. When parents and children understand the expectations upfront, it helps everyone be successful in learning to play the cello.
When you come to observe a lesson, please arrive 5-10 minutes early. This is a good habit to get into from the very beginning so that you and your child are not rushed when coming for a lesson. Just as you would to your own lesson, get into the routine of entering quietly, removing your shoes, and being ready, physically and mentally, to start. Evaluate the preparedness of students, the pace of the lesson, the way assignments are given as well as the role of the parent in the lessons.
Until your child is about age 13, parents attend all lessons and have a significant role in helping to establish a practice routine and understand good practicing skills. As students begin, parents first participate entirely in practice, then provide only guidance, and finally, watch the student do it independently. To get to that point, we must teach the skill of practicing.
Choosing a Practice Time
Every child is different and every family has a different schedule. But from the very beginning, thoughtfully think of a good time of day to practice cello and schedule it. The same time everyday is ideal for consistency and routine but I understand it's not always possible. The practice needn't be long; developing the habit of practice is the ultimate goal.
Beginning at age 8, students vary in levels of independence. I encourage you to remember your child is not yet fully responsible for their practice and children ages 8-10 still need a parent as a guide to focus on specifics and establish the habits of good practice. Children ages 11-13 and older may still need rely on parental feedback and reminders. One helpful piece of information, all children need reminders to practice - they just forget or get involved in something else!