How do we begin?
Parents can contact the teacher at any time to discuss questions, arrange to observe lessons, or reserve a lesson time.
A Suzuki program for a beginner includes a private lesson and a group class each week, from September to June. Some students may have masterclass style lessons, in which they share a lesson with two or three other families. Early in the teaching year, parents attend a three-session parent workshop, to learn more about the Suzuki approach, and also to begin learning the basics of how to play the violin.
Activities in early lessons and group classes . . .
• introduce children to a new environment;
• teach a set of musical terms and verbal and non-verbal signals that will be used to communicate musical ideas;
• help students develop a balanced playing position and coordinate their movements;
• show students and parents how to care for a violin and bow;
• introduce basic rhythmic patterns.
Parents are sometimes disappointed that it takes so long before a young beginner can play tunes. However, the violin is considered a “slow start” instrument (compared, for example, to a recorder or piano). Unless they have extensive experience with another instrument, few beginners of any age are able to make music on a violin right away.
At what age can lessons start?
Many children begin Suzuki violin lessons at age 5 to 7, and they can begin as early as 3 or 4, as long as parents understand that at this age, progress will be very gradual. Even so, there are many advantages to starting so young. Very young children are willing to move in small steps, and they enjoy repeating activities many times. They also usually enjoy working with their parent on home practice.
Suzuki violin is not just for young children, however. Anyone can learn at any age. The youngest student at the Argenta Suzuki Centre has been 2, and the oldest was 78. For older children and teens, parental involvement is adjusted to suit the student’s age.