First-year students applying for admission must be at least 3.5 years of age. No previous musical experience or training is required of the child or parent. Admission is dependent upon a combination of factors encompassing both parent and child. Particularly with beginning students, parents need to have a full understanding of the responsibilities and commitments involved in a Suzuki Program. The beginning child must demonstrate evidence of her/his ability to follow simple instructions in the personal interview. And no, if your child is still learning to use the toilet, she or he is not yet ready to learn the guitar! In Suzuki we do one thing at a time, so first things first!
To ensure full understanding of responsibilities, parents are required to attend an Orientation Meeting. At this meeting, parents listen to a presentation by the teacher and purchase materials to read in order to learn more about the Suzuki approach. In the presentation, the teacher discusses the Suzuki philosophy, psychology, and educational approach, and describes the important role parents play in the child’s progress, development and success. If after attending orientation, new parents feel that the program is a match for their interests and schedule, they can sign up for a family interview.
A folder of readings in PDF format will be shared with all prospective parents before the orientation meeting. These short readings will serve to give a basic understanding of the Suzuki method and how it is applied today in advance. At the conclusion of the orientation meeting, prospective parents will purchase Dr. Suzuki’s autobiography, Nurtured by Love, and Constance and William Starr’s, To Learn with Love. Further reading Christine Goodner’s Beyond the Music Lesson. These materials become parents’ guides during the first few years of study. If parents decide not to register their children, they may return the materials for a full refund.
The period following the orientation meeting gives parents the chance to absorb and discuss the ideas outlined at the meeting, read the materials, and to do a class observation. As part of the orientation process, it is important that prospective parents observe a portion of a private or group lesson or both. Seeing the method and teacher in action will help parents have a reference for what the experience will look like for them. Prospective parents are also encouraged to attend a recital, should their inquiry be early enough in the year to do so. Once the observation is done, the teacher will meet the children, see how they respond to the guitar, basic melody and rhythm and observe the interaction between parents and children in the Family Interview, Elements that impact upon acceptance into the program are the child’s ability to listen, receive instruction and the extent to which parents are willing and able to make an investment of their time and energy in the process.
After completing the orientation and class observation, you will be contacted to schedule your interview. The following steps can help you be prepared: 1). In the week (s) leading up to the interview, please listen, with your child, to Suzuki Book I on guitar (available on various platforms as digital downloads or as CDs on Amazon or Shar Music) 2). Please complete the recommended reading (mentioned above) by the interview date. 3). A few days before the interview, discuss with your child the Program, describe what I do in the Program and explain that they will meet a music teacher and will have an opportunity to try a guitar. NOTE: For students who have previously studied or are changing teachers, please prepare to play a piece that you enjoy and play welland that accurately reflects current ability on the instrument.