I always knew I wouldn’t be teaching my own children the violin. Practice helper at home? I’m all in. But, being the teacher? No, thanks.
I wanted to have someone in my corner. Someone I could reach out to for advice, and help on this journey.
And, it doesn’t hurt to be able to say, “I know you don’t want to play it ten times, but Mrs. Smith said that’s what we need to do!”
My son has a wonderful Suzuki teacher. She is a fantastic influence in his life, and I’m so grateful for her.
One side benefit for me is that I get to watch a skilled and experienced Suzuki teacher take a student from Twinkles to Mozart Concerto (assuming we get that far.) That’s a pretty cool teacher development course.
Appropriate lesson behavior hasn’t come naturally for my child, he’s really had to be taught and trained to act respectful during the lesson. It was really hard in the beginning, and still is at times.
After a while, his teacher decided that she needed to give him a chance to “choose” to participate and learn. When he would start being silly, or refuse to participate, she would tell him,
“I’m going to practice until you are ready to learn. You can show me you’re ready by standing in play position on the foot chart, and saying ‘I’m ready.'”
At this point, she would start playing the twinkle variations until he would stand on his foot chart and say “I’m ready.”
This changed things for him. He was ‘choosing’ to learn. He was ‘choosing’ to invest himself in the lesson.
He’d quickly get into play position and state, “I’m ready.” And his teacher would praise him for getting ready to learn so quickly.
I’ve used this technique many times with my other students, and it usually works beautifully for me.
If you give this a try, or have tried it before, let me know how it worked for you in the comments!