A few weeks ago, I published a blog post titled “Help! My Suzuki Teacher Won’t Let Me Move to the Next Piece.” In it, I detailed why Suzuki teachers may not move students through the repertoire as fast as the students (and their parents) would like. We want our students to be prepared for the challenges in the coming repertoire, and sometimes that means slowing down a little to make sure they’re ready. But sometimes, we Suzuki teachers make mistakes.
Not too long ago, I got a call from a parent, in which she explained that they really enjoyed lessons with me but were growing increasingly frustrated because they had been working on one piece for so long. There had been a lot of upheaval, they had switched from another teacher (who had moved), and soon after they came to my studio I went on maternity leave. All in all, they had been playing Gavotte in D Major (Suzuki Book 3) for a year!
This particular student was dedicated and hardworking. Her performance of the piece was actually quite good. I just had forgotten how long she’d been playing it, and kept perfecting and polishing it with her.
Once I realized what was going on, I was happy to speed things up. I had made a mistake, and I’m so grateful that mother took the time (and mustered the courage) to talk to me about their concerns and frustration. It can be difficult to bring up those awkward conversations, it is much easier to quit without explanation or with a weak excuse.
If Suzuki teachers, parents, and students are willing to communicate, even when it is awkward or difficult, we can create a much better environment for learning, support, and progress. Is there a conversation with your teacher or a parent in your studio that you have been avoiding? Take a few minutes to decide what you’re going to say, write it down, and give them a call. No matter what happens, it will be less stressful to have things out in the open.
There is no task so exhausting as the one you haven’t started yet. Even if the conversation doesn’t turn out optimally, it’s better than worrying about it and doing nothing.
That’s your homework: Have that conversation you’ve been avoiding. I bet it won’t be as bad as you think!
Have you had any tough conversations with your Suzuki teacher? If you are a Suzuki teacher, how about with the parents in your studio? Please share your stories in the comments!
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