This article was originally given as a short presentation at the Suzuki Association of the America’s Leadership retreat last week. It was parent of a series of short talks about working productively with parents. If you would like to share it please do!
How do we work productively with the parents in our studios? How do we help new parents understand what being a Suzuki parent involves? How do we help them be successful working with their child as they learn and grow?
I was trying to come up with the most useful thing I could share with other teachers on the topic of working with parents. So, I started to think about all of the things I do in my studio like conferences, parent education, and parent talks.
There are lots of things we can do as teachers to help parents be successful. However, I would like to ask teachers to think bigger picture than that.
As a young violin teacher I heard a concept that blew my mind at the time. When you look at the beginner student in front of you – don’t think about what they need in order to learn to play twinkle. Think about what they need in order to play a Mozart Concerto and teach them with that in mind.
I believe we need to do the same thing with new Suzuki Parents.
- What do the parents we work with need to know about the process of helping their child thrive in the Suzuki method?
- What can we explain better from the start that will keep parents from struggling later?
- What bad habits can families get into that might not matter for a beginning student but will cause big problems down the road?
- How do we take parents – who probably don’t know what they are getting into when they get started with us and help them make the Suzuki method work in their everyday lives?
- How do we help get them come on board and be willing work with us to help their child succeed?
When I think about the families that I work with the most productively I think about families that: