Parents:  How to Get the Most Out of Lessons
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Private music lessons are time consuming and relatively expensive, as are instruments.  Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of the experience:


Before:
▪ Pack ALL necessary items: music, notebooks, charts, etc. in a special bag.  Put instrument IN the case.
▪ Leave early enough to arrive with a few moments to spare.
▪ Even if you are rushed for time to get to the lesson, or stuck in traffic, adjust your mental state so as to arrive with a calm demeanor.  This helps kids focus on the lesson.  We can’t change what happens to us, but we can change how we react to those things.
▪ Feed yourself and the children.  Thirsty, hungry people are less able to concentrate and learn.
▪ Arrange for sitters for siblings who are likely to distract you during the lessons.
▪ Learn about and understand Suzuki’s Talent Education Philosophy.
▪ Discuss any practicing problems with the teacher out of earshot of the student.

During:
▪ Be engaged in the lesson as if a member of an audience.  What you see is what you are to do at home!
▪ Which means:  Please do not clip coupons, text, check emails, read a book, daydreams, talk with siblings, doze off….
▪ Take notes in a dedicated notebook, not on random slips of paper.
▪ Take detailed notes.  Many parents take the briefest of notes, which are subsequently useless.
▪ Do NOT under any circumstances make negative, critical or impatient comments about or to your child, his practice habits, or her lack of getting a part right, EVEN if she did so at home.
▪ Sometimes there is a lot of repetition in a lesson.  Explore why the repetition is occurring: what do you see or hear that changes, and what is the teacher after?  Please don’t tune it out.
▪ Delight in your child.

After:
▪ Review your notes as soon as is possible.  The same day is ideal.
▪ Prepare a plan for home practice for the week.  Do you need any new games, attitudes, ideas to add enthusiasm for you or your child to the practice sessions?
▪ Practicing immediately after getting home is the most productive time of the week, as the lesson’s teaching points are freshest in the minds of everyone.  It can be a short practice, just hitting the highlights.  Do no equate a lesson with practice time.  They are not the same!
▪ Make notes during the week of things that you or your child don’t understand, or are having trouble executing, noting measure numbers if appropriate.  Prepare your child to share these with the teachers at the next lesson.
▪ Learn how to facilitate and encourage regular practice.  Teach and nurture at your child’s level as they can’t understand yours.
▪ Be patients and above all:  Nurture with love.

                                                                                              © 2012 Susan A. Sommerville
                                                                                                                                             all rights reserved

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