Success in Suzuki study and in most musical studies involving young people depends upon the active and enthusiastic participation of the parent – and the support of the entire family. The parent attends every lesson with the child and plays the role of the home teacher, supervising the child’s daily practice. The child’s accomplishments arise from a collaborative learning process that takes place between the teacher, the child and the parent. This collaborative model is called the Suzuki Triangle. Before the child begins lessons, the parent does six weeks of Parent Training, where she/he learns to play the instrument, using the same repertoire as the child. This hands-on experience is supplemented by short readings and exercises that address the mechanics of guiding practice at home. As the child begins, a portion of the private class continues to be dedicated to the home teaching parent so that they may stay a step ahead of the children and continue to act as the home-based teacher. By continuing study, the parent also is better equipped to anticipate any problems they might encounter during their children’s first year of study. Pedagogical themes and techniques for successfully fostering and sustaining the home practice routine continue to be introduced throughout the sessions. All parents must attend Parent Training, continue their guitar study and be present in all of their children’s lessons. Audio and video recordings are done in the lesson to serve 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 lessons and the Parents’ Classes.
Registering for this program involves a commitment to your child’s study of the guitar and music – both in terms of her/his participation in private and group classes and your involvement in the process. It is important that the parent recognize the value of music education and its place in the child’s education in general. Recent neurological and educational research has firmly established the importance and value of music education in a young child’s cognitive development and strongly makes the case that your home practice should be considered a part of your regular school homework. This is a rigorous program – meaning that the expectations are for you to practice every day, following the given assignments and allocate time in your schedule in such a way that places the study of music and the guitar on equal footing with other academic subjects.
It is the parent’s responsibility to organize, schedule and direct the practice of the young student – this generally holds true up until the age of 12 when the student can begin to take some ownership of the practice. However, even these older students need guidance and supervision. Parents read the weekly assignment sheet and monitor the student’s progress for each of these tasks throughout the week. Repeated weeks of a student not completing a specific assignment indicates a collapse of parental responsibility – don’t blame your child! Your teacher will address a situation like this immediately through a parent conference so that it doesn’t become a pattern. In conclusion, the parent plays a critical role in conveying the importance of practice to the child. A commitment from the student, parent and the teacher is necessary to assure a productive learning experience.