PALMER STRING STUDIO
MY TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
I believe in the ennobling power of music. It has the ability to transform individuals, unify families, strengthen communities, and inspire nations. This all begins as a single child learns to play a musical instrument.
Music acquaints people with their deepest emotions. It provides an avenue through which children can learn to express themselves and a means for parents to literally listen to their child. In the words of Victor Hugo, "Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”
The study of music develops self-mastery by teaching students invaluable lessons, such as discipline, creativity, commitment, and hard work. Any child can learn to play a musical instrument--and learn to play it well--with the right teacher, a loving support system, and consistent practice. As a reward for their efforts, they are blessed with a sublime gift that they can in turn share with all.
"The fate of a child is in the hands of his parents... What does not exist in the environment will not exist in the child." - Dr. Shinichi Suzuki
1. Instilling in your child a desire to learn. Be positive, enthusiastic, encouraging, supportive, and loving as your child embarks on this new adventure. Believe in your child; appreciate each step in the journey, no matter the size; discipline with love; foster cooperation, not competition; and be sensitive to your child’s response to praise. As Dr. Suzuki said, “Where love is deep, much can be accomplished.” Students and families are also encouraged to attend musical concerts, recitals, and programs regularly of all genres of music—classical, jazz, orchestral, solo, string, voice, wind, piano, you name it! Observing other fine performances will expand the student’s vision and increase their motivation.
2. Attending all lessons and taking thorough notes. I cannot emphasize this enough. The quality of your notes is directly related to the quality of your child’s practice time at home. If you need a task explained again in order to jot it down correctly, please ask me! I am here to make things as easy and as clear as possible. On the same note, parents should remain quiet at lessons, unless asked or called upon to speak. It is the child’s lesson for which he or she is learning to take responsibility.
3. Practicing with the child and being the teacher's assistant at home. This includes overseeing review and ensuring the student listens to their CD daily. Consistent and efficient practicing is essential to your child’s progress. It is your responsibility to make sure your child follows through with daily and weekly assignments. Always give positive feedback that is honest, specific, and immediate. Acknowledge the effort and praise the achievement. Please don’t tell me in front of the child things such as how terrible the practice is going or offer explanations for lack of practice. Please e-mail in advance of the lesson if you feel there are things going on that I should know.
4. Becoming aware of how the child learns. In Suzuki, we believe the parent, student and teacher form a triangle—a triangle that consists of respect and communication in all directions. If we can all work together then we will have a better chance of catering a learning style to your student’s specific needs.
5. Learning the basic skills of the instrument. This fosters greater understanding of the violin and empathy for the student as they are learning a difficult but rewarding new skill.
6. Observing and learning from other children’s lessons and/or group classes.
1. Attend all scheduled lessons and group lessons.
2. Bring all books and materials needed to the lesson. There is no excuse for forgotten foot charts, Suzuki books, note reading books, or lesson sheets, etc. I suggest having a designated music bag where you can keep all these materials together to ensure they do not get lost or left at home on lesson day or group day.
3. Listen to your CD daily. Research has shown that listening to the CD not only cuts learning time of a new piece in half, but also helps improve pitch and musical interpretation and puts into the child’s ear a model of fine tone and bow control. “Listening until we remember is not enough. We must listen until we cannot forget.” –Suzuki
4. Practice 6 days per week. Consistent and efficient practicing is key to your progression as a violinist. Your practice sessions should cover everything we covered in the lesson, plus repetition. Remember, “Ability equals knowledge plus 10,000 times.” – Suzuki
5. Review. Review develops mastery and fluency; maintains an active repertoire; increases confidence & self esteem; provides ensemble opportunities; and gives an awareness of the progression of skills and artistic development. Students beyond the Twinkles in Book 1 should be reviewing all of the Twinkles and all other pieces they know everyday, as well as working on any new techniques and pieces they have been assigned. This “review practice” gives them a daily opportunity to improve all aspects of their playing and performing ability on familiar music without the stress of having to worry about new notes, fingerings, bowings, etc. If I hear a review piece in the lesson that has not been maintained, I will spend the lesson on the review piece before hearing the new piece. Review is where the real progress takes place.
HOME RULES AND LESSON PROTOCOL
1. Be on time, every week, no excuses. Please plan enough time to arrive at your scheduled lesson time at least five minutes early to ensure we can begin on time. If you do happen to arrive late, please be aware that your lesson will still end at its scheduled time.
2. Please have students wash their hands and trim their nails before they come to the lesson.
3. Please enter and exit as quietly as possible through the front door in order to not disturb the lesson before yours.
4. No shoes or boots in the house. Shoes and boots of both students and parents are to be removed inside the front door. Coats are to stay with your cases.
5. Please make every effort to leave other siblings at home who are not taking a lesson. This ensures less confusion and allows the parent to take better notes during the student’s lesson with fewer distractions. Hiring a babysitter or arranging a trade with another parent to watch each other’s children during lessons is money and effort well spent. It reduces the stress for everyone and creates an environment for the student that accelerates learning. Nursing babies are, of course, always welcome.
6. If you have more than one child taking lessons, the student not taking a lesson while his/her sibling is taking a lesson is to be with the parent observing the other brother or sister’s lesson. By observing each other’s lessons, your children will grow in their ability to sit quietly and also learn by osmosis.
7. Please avoid answering or using your cell phone in any way during your child’s lesson. You are welcome, however, and even encouraged to video record all or parts of your child's lesson or to take pictures of concepts taught that week (i.e. correct bow hold, left hand position, etc.).
8. If you have any musical questions regarding your child, please ask them at the beginning of the lesson rather than at the end, thus avoiding infringement upon the next student’s lesson time. This is all in an effort to make your financial sacrifices and time committed worth it. Please be as polite and respectful to other parents and students as possible.
Tuition rates are as follows (includes four private lessons):
- Introductory Lesson: FREE
- 30-Minute Lessons: $140/month
- 45-Minute Lessons: $180/month
- 1-Hour Lessons: $220/month
1. Tuition for the month is due at the first lesson of each month. Payment is for time scheduled, not for lessons taken (just as in the case of other lessons such as dance, team sports, singing, pre-school, etc.).
2. If a student misses a lesson, no refund will be made (unless under the circumstances listed below in #3). Please do not deduct tuition from the monthly fee for lessons missed on the student's part.
3. Private or group lessons missed by the student will not be rescheduled. In order to avoid missing a lesson, try to swap with another student if a conflict with your own lesson time arises. If such a swap is made, please call or e-mail me to let me know. Make-up lessons are scheduled only in the case of my absence, if the student was sick during their regularly scheduled lesson time, or in any other extenuating circumstances. If one of these circumstances does arise, please give me as much prior notice as possible so we can reschedule. In the extreme case that I miss a lesson or am unable to teach a make-up lesson at a time that is convenient for all of us, credit for the lesson missed will be extended to your next month's tuition.
If you have any other questions regarding my studio policy or lesson procedures, please feel free to call or email me anytime!