Q:   What are the specifics for music lessons and missing school?
A:   The Education Act of the Government of Ontario (1990) provides the opportunity for students inOntario schools to receive music instruction, often by a private music teacher and to be excused from attendance at school. In Chapter E2, Part 11, Statute 21.2(e) of the Education Act Revised Statutes of Ontario, it states: School attendance may be excused when the child is absent from school for the purpose of receiving instruction in music and the period of absence does not exceed one-half day in any week. (Government of Ontario, 1990, p. 36)

Q:   How do we decide which instrument to learn?
A:  

For young children, it is really the parent who chooses, unless the child demonstrates a keen interest in a particular instrument. If the parent is motivated in his own choice, he will be more willing to find time to work with the child. Suzuki often points out in his writing that a good learning environment helps the child\'s learning ability. If you love the piano and listen to it every day, your child will likely love it too. If you are undecided, here are some points to consider.


Piano: The piano has the most extensive solo repertoire available and when some competency is obtained it is a wonderful party instrument. It is easy for beginners to understand the notes and there is no need to worry about intonation. Reading is demanding, though, because two clefs are played at once. Practicing can be lonely for beginners as accompanying is a fairly advanced skill and piano chamber music is more difficult.


Strings: String instruments are more social and can be played in groups from the start. They both demand and develop and very keen ear to detect small differences in pitch. Reading is easier because there is only one line of music to worry about. You will need to tune them frequently yourself and also find piano accompanists to play with you.


Q:   Is the Suzuki Method a group method?
A:   No. People often get that impression when they see large groups of children playing together in concerts. Suzuki is an individual tuition method. We do, however, teach group lessons as part of our curriculum. Playing in groups teaches ensemble play and creates friendships among students. This is why group lessons are so important in motivating students to do better.

Q:   How long can you continue to learn the Suzuki Method?
A:   Many people get the mistaken impression that Suzuki is an easy "starting" method, to be replaced later by more "traditional" methods when it is time to get down to serious work. This is far from the truth. The entire repertoire and the technique are presented in small steps easily understood by students, but to succeed in learning their instrument, they must do their task everyday. Suzuki can take a student right through to conservatory level. Book 10 Suzuki is the Mozart D Major concerto (no. 4) - listed in grade 10 in the Royal Conservatory of Music syllabus. In fact, Suzuki repertoire is found in all levels of the Royal Conservatory. Studying an instrument the Suzuki way means learning the same repertoire and the same instrumental techniques that traditional students do. The practice discipline is just a rigorous and reading skills are nurtured. The difference is that the process is more enjoyable for the student.

Q: Do I have to keep practicing with my child forever?
A:   The parent presence is gradually phased out as the child becomes mature enough to be responsible for his own practice and the reading ability improves. The children are trained from the beginning towards independence, in the same way you prepare your child to leave home and become an independent adult.

 

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