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Upper Valley Music Center Suzuki Students Perform
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Suzuki Program FAQ

  • How do I go about renting or purchasing an instrument?

    String Instruments

    You DO NOT need an instrument for the first lesson. We ask that you do not give your child an instrument before starting formal lessons. Students will start on box instruments and wooden bow. Once they can complete a set of activities, they earn their real instrument. At that time your teacher can help with sizing information.

    Most students decide to rent instruments, though some decide to purchase. UVMC does not rent or sell instruments. Your teacher can give you a list of recommended instrument retailers. Please do not purchase an instrument online unless it is from a reputable string retailer. Always check with your teacher before purchasing an instrument.

    Additional Required Cello Equipment

    Cellists will also need a cello chair and cello strap which has to be a specific height (different for each child). Our cello teacher recommends one of the following options:

    ‘The Grow With Me Cello Chair’ This is the best to get at the beginning as it will last for several years. It can be purchased at the following website:

    http://tinyurl.com/Grow-With-Me-Cello-Chair

    Less expensive plastic folding stools can be found on Amazon.

    Cellists also need a strap that can be clipped to the cello chair and both secures the cello on all surfaces and also guarantees that the end pin will be at the same length each time.

    One can be purchased at Vermont Violins or at:

    http://tinyurl.com/Cello-Floor-Strap

    Flute Information

    Flute students DO NOT need an instrument for the first lesson. We ask that you do not give your child an instrument before starting formal lessons.

    Young students start with fun exercises such as spitting rice, and balancing a dowel “flute.” Once they can complete a set of activities, and demonstrate that they can make a sound on a head joint, they can earn their real instrument.

    In general, children will use a flute with a curved head joint until about age 10-11. Your teacher can help with information regarding preferred brands and other details to look for. (Some very young children may use a plastic flute with an alternate lip plate in the in-between stage – your teacher may discuss this with you).

    Some of our students purchase an instrument, while many rent instruments. Always check with your teacher before purchasing or renting an instrument.

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  • I know parent involvement is an important part of the Suzuki method, but I don’t have any previous musical experience. Is that ok?

    Parents do not need to have previous musical experience in order to be successful practice partners for their children. The only prerequisite is a willingness to learn and a commitment to take great practice notes during lessons! Parents learn along with their children during lessons and group classes. Even parents with previous musical experience often find they are learning new things about the instrument or how to work with their children.

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  • Why are there two classes per week, and what is the difference between the individual lesson and group class?

    Suzuki students have both an individual lesson and a group class each week. This combination is an essential feature of the Suzuki Program. In the individual lesson, students receive one-on-one attention to work in detail on their playing. Group class is a fun, low-pressure environment where they can try out skills with other children their own age. Group classes are also motivating. Playing an instrument can be hard work, without instant rewards. Seeing friends take on the same challenges helps students develop the resilience to make it through the hard work.

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  • How do I know if my child is ready to start learning an instrument?

    Some children are ready to start as young as three years old and for others it is best to wait a year or two. Some key factors for ‘readiness’ are:

    • Ability to make eye contact with an adult
    • Ability to answer basic yes/no questions
    • Interest/excitement to play an instrument
    • Ability to follow directions from an adult other than the parent (e.g. Can you stand here for me? Can you put your hand on your head?)

    In addition to the child’s readiness, it is important for the parent(s) to be ready as well. This means ensuring that the child will have a practice partner daily (this can be 5-10 minutes in the beginning) and a commitment to helping the child throughout the many stages and challenges of learning. The parents’ commitment is the biggest factor for success for young children.

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  • Is my child too old to start in the Suzuki Program?

    While Dr. Suzuki’s vision was to start children before they started Kindergarten, students of all ages join the Suzuki Program, including occasionally adults. We always consider age and developmental stages when assigning groups.

    Older children do not require the same amount of hands-on partnership that a three or four year old child needs, but we still both encourage and require a parent to be present at all lessons, group classes and practices. Older children learn differently than younger children, but still benefit from a parent’s involvement.

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  • How do I know what instrument to choose?

    The Suzuki program is available for cello, flute, viola, and violin.

    If your child is showing a strong preference for a particular instrument, it is a good idea to follow their lead.

    If your child doesn’t have a strong preference, we suggest that you show your child videos of all of the instruments and ask them questions like, “Do you like the low sound of the cello?”, “Do you like the high violin?” Through asking some questions you may be able to assess if your child has opinions about the instruments and help them make a choice.

    If they still don’t have a preference, ask yourself what you would like to hear and go with that! The benefits of the Suzuki philosophy and method apply equally to all instruments.

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  • How often is my child expected to practice?

    The amount of time spent practicing is dependent on the age and level of your child. At the beginning we suggest 5 – 10 minutes per day. The more advanced your child gets, the more time will be required. However, the most important thing about practice is not the time but the consistency. Five minutes each day gives much more benefit than 15 minutes three times a week.

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  • Is there tuition assistance available for the Suzuki Program?

    Yes there is tuition assistance available for the Suzuki Program. You can find additional information about this here.

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