The weekly Piano program for beginners consists of:
- An Individual Lesson
- A Musicianship Class
- The Parents’ Class (As described here.)
The Individual piano Lesson is attended by both the student and the parent. At first, most of the time will be devoted to instrumental instruction for the parent. Gradually, as the child matures, gains in physical strength and coordination, and develops greater concentration and a longer attention span, he or she will absorb more and more of the lesson time. Ultimately, the parent relinquishes all but a few minutes at the end of the lesson. This time is saved for consultation with the teacher on practice suggestions and goals for the at-home work.
The Group Piano Playing Class prepares the children, at first on pre-instruments, both physically and musically for playing the instrument. Only when all the children in the group have, on the advice of their private teachers, moved on to real instruments, do they begin playing together. The class reinforces the work done in the private lesson and provides incentive and stimulus important for very young children.
The Musicianship Class provides general music instruction and an introduction to the rudiments of note reading.
First-year piano students have a three-part program in which the group-playing class and the musicianship class are combined.
For the first six weeks of the school year the children do not attend their regularly scheduled lessons and classes. The parents take all of their children’s lessons and classes as well as Parents’ Classes in order to gain as much expertise as possible on the instrument and to become more comfortable with the idea of being a surrogate teacher at home practice sessions. The children, meanwhile, come to the School for assigned observation of other children’s lessons and classes, to prepare them for their own soon-to-begin study. After the six week period the children start their own instrumental instruction and the parents continue in the Parents’ Class for the remainder of the school year.
Success in Suzuki study depends upon the active and enthusiastic participation of the parent, and better yet, the entire family!–indeed the entire family. The parent attends every lesson with the child and functions at home as a surrogate teacher, supervising the child’s daily piano practice. The child’s accomplishments rest upon a cooperative triangle formed by the teacher, the child and the parent.
In addition to attending piano lessons and participating in home practice, Parents’ Classes are an essential component of the program. In these classes parents learn to play the instrument in order to become more comfortable with the idea of helping their children. This process keeps the parents a step ahead of the children and enables them to better assist serve as surrogate teachers at home practice sessions. It also helps them anticipate any problems they might encounter during their children’s first year of study. Techniques for successfully fostering and sustaining practice routine are introduced and discussed throughout the sessions.
The School requires that parents attend the Parents’ Classes and all of their children’s lessons. Lessons must be either audio-taped or video- taped with the recordings serving as a guide to home practicing. It is important that the parent who works with the child at home is the one who attends the piano lessons and the Parents’ Classes.