Group Lessons – Suzuki’s Perspective
“In the classroom there are private lessons and group lessons. Parents who do not understand children think that they are paying for the private lessons and the group lessons are just recreation periods. So although they make sure that their children attend the private lessons, they often fail to bring them to group lessons. But the fact is that what the children enjoy most is the group playing…This is the real Talent Education.”– Suzuki from Nurtured by Love
Dr. Suzuki observed that children learn through play with their peers. It is with this spirit of cooperative play that STE’s group lesson program is constructed. Teachers guide students through activities which encourage participation and observational learning, from the teacher and from the other students in the class.
Dr. Suzuki says: “Again, in talent education classes, group lessons are given so children can enjoy practising together. It’s a great joy for them to play with friends. They start to play vigorously as though waking from slumber. A child does not learn the native tongue only by daily one-to-one training but smoothly and rapidly learns it through talking with others.”
Dr. Suzuki says, “Those who do not attend group lessons have a smaller share of the joy of the heart. They also grow slowly. Please always let them attend group lessons weekly.”
As in all classroom stiuations, the ideal atmosphere for maximum learning is one that is quiet and orderly.
Learning appropriate group behaviour is one of the goals for students of beginner classes and group lessons. As Dr. Suzuki says, “We are not just lerning music but also developing children into caring and considerate individuals.” If a student is disrupting the class, he/she may be asked to sit with a parent or, if necessary, leave the room for awhile. Discuss with your child how to respect the teacher and others during group lesson.
It has always been the Society’s policy to welcome a younger or older sibling to a group lesson provided that they can observe or entertain themselves quietly. Parents of particularly active siblings who are not enrolled in the program are strongly urged to arrange child care for these young children.
Parents are strongly encouraged to accompany their children to group lessons, instead of simply dropping them off at the door. Have your child and their instrument ready before the class is scheduled to start. (ie, trips to the bathroom, clean hands, rosined bow, etc.) Parents of siblings involved simultaneously in group lessons, can divide their time amongst the siblings. This is dependent on the age of the children, their tendency to become disruptive or rowdy, or if you have a beginner. Ideally, parents should be observing their child’s group lesson. From time to time, the teacher may give an assignment to the class that needs to be written down, perhaps the teacher will ask parents to assist or participate in some way. If you can’t resist the urge to talk, please have your conversation in the hallway. Please turn off your cell phones in the classroom.