Regular group experience in which children can watch and listen to each other is an essential element of the method developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. Children learn to offer mutual support, to be sensitive and courteous to others. They learn about appropriate audience behaviour. They learn that others are confronting all the same challenges, enjoying the same triumphs and sometimes even coping with the same frustrations that they are facing. And parents, too, benefit from the opportunity to see how other families share the same values and ideals that they have committed themselves to in the Suzuki community. (ECC, SAA) We do our best to follow Dr. Suzukis ideals as much as possible and so, every summer, the piano teachers evaluate the group lessons of the previous school year. A number of factors are considered before finalizing the coming year of groups.

1. A childs age and personality are very important. Children are placed together who are the same age and have similar personalities. This makes learning very effective when the environment is familiar and comfortable. We also consider if there are friendships that have developed and understand that a happy relationship makes learning fun. Sometimes, however, we rearrange the group by placing some children in different groups than the previous year. This does not mean that your child is being held back or advanced. If we feel there are conflicts or that there could be a better match, we will organize accordingly.

2. Sometimes the lesson material can be similar from group to group. This does not mean that your child can switch from group to group. Although the elements of the lesson may be similar, there are always details or differences depending on the groups comprehension. Occasionally the teacher may spend more time on one element and make notes to return to the idea again while another class may focus on another detail of the same element. During and after each lesson, the teacher evaluates the learning process and often makes subtle changes. These subtleties may not be noticed unless you are directly involved in the group. Again, this is not a comment on your childs intelligence. It is more important that each child clearly understands what is being taught before moving on or changing a group.

3. Regular attendance is how your child can receive the most beneficial experience. As well as planning each lesson, the teachers have a big picture in mind. Sporadic attendance prevents following through on lesson material and doesn't give you or your child a clear picture of what can be accomplished in group lessons.

4. Piano group lessons are Thurssday afternoons and evenings. The groups begin at 4 pm and often finish by 9 pm. There are 11 lessons for each child in the entire year. We cannot arrange groups to accommodate other activities or schedules. The previous points are the main considerations.

 

Its a great joy for children to play with friends. They start to play vigorously as though waking from slumber.

Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.

Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

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