Getting Started, Ages 3-7
Finding the "right fit" is equally important for both student and teacher and selecting a teacher, and a music education program is an important choice for families. To help each family make an informed decision about committing to Suzuki cello lessons, I encourage all prospective families to read about the Suzuki Method. Beyond the introductory information found here and on the Suzuki Association of the Americas website, I recommend that all parents read Dr. Suzuki's book Nurtured by Love.
The following pages will help you understand my expectations and help with your decision in moving forward with cello lessons for your child. Below are the things you will need to know in order to enroll a child age 3-7 in my studio. If your child is age 8+, please read here instead.
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 several private lessons before requesting a lesson time. This is important for seeing how parents-children-teachers work together in the learning process and it helps your family become familiar with the lesson environment, expectations and commitment. When parents and children understand the expectations upfront, it helps everyone be successful in learning to play the cello. It also gives you an opportunity to observe my teaching style with a variety of different students and allows children to begin getting comfortable with the new teacher and setting. Becoming comfortable in the environment and with a teacher is an important part of being able to focus on learning.
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. Prepare your child before the observation about being respectful, quiet listeners. Observation is "passive" for students, so don't worry if they are looking around rather than focusing intently on the lesson. Children absorb information even if it doesn't appear they are attentive. Quietly looking through a book, coloring or any quiet activity is fine - again, they are taking it in even though it doesn't seem so! However, please keep electronic devices put away while in the studio.
Oftentimes children need specific reminders of what respectful, quiet listening means, especially after observing a number of lessons. This is normal - your child is getting comfortable in the space and environment - and should not deter you from continuing more observations. You may, however, decide they have reached their attention limit - this is normal, too! When this happens, feel free just slip out quietly. Do not feel obligated to stay for the entire lesson, especially if your child becomes wiggly or disruptive.
On the way home, talk to your child about the lesson but avoid asking questions such as, "Did you like it? Do you want to learn cello?" A child cannot accurately gauge their feelings at this point, especially when they did not get to participate. Instead consider, "Can you hum one of the pieces you liked hearing? What did you think the student did really well in their lesson today?" Your child will have questions or comments about the lesson, too, and can have a good conversation with you.
The number of observations depends on the age of the child. A 3-year-old student and family should plan to observe 8 classes; 6 classes for age 4-5, and 4 classes for ages 5+.