Roles of the nucleus
Following up on the most recent post about the Suzuki triangle/electron cloud, I wanted to discuss the three roles central to the method.
The people at the heart of this are the child , parent and teacher.
Roles of the Teacher
To provide specific instruction in music, child development & instrumental technique.
To support parents when things get tricky (and they do).
To listen and advise: particularly as children become teenagers and gain more independence, I find that my job becomes one of mentor than teacher. With a relationship that goes back years, this becomes one of the more valuable roles I can play for my pupils. The transition from child to adult with whom I can discuss music, life and the universe is a particularly precious one.
To communicate expectations, both short and long term, as clearly as possible.
Roles of the Parent
To support the teacher: avoid questioning my expertise in front of your child- I don't expect anyone to follow my instructions blindly, but I do expect people to remain respectful of our professional relationship. If you disagree about anything, bring this to me away from the child's hearing.
To avoid making excuses. Excuses are boring (I've heard them all), and a way of absolving ourselves of responsibility. Doing it in front of the children teaches them that excuses are valid. They're not.
Ask, don't demand - I am generally flexible in most things, but find that I am more so with people who realise that there are 35 other families that I am working with who have needs too.
To keep communicating - if something is not right, or misunderstood, it's much better to know about it sooner rather than later so we can sort it out.
To take notes at lessons so that there is a record for practice.
To supervise daily practice.
To ensure recordings are played daily.
To make sure lessons (including groups) are all attended, that music is prioritised in the household - practice and lessons come before television and play dates.
To be an expert on the child. I am an expert in music and education, I'm a total beginner with your kid - particularly at the beginning; I need parents to communicate about their children so that I know how best to approach the kid.
Role of the child
To be a child - we expect nothing else of them initially and we work around that. A child needs to learn how to take direction, and how to listen to us; as parents and teachers this is what we are striving for, but we don't demand it. If we end up in confrontation, we've already lost.
As children advance we expect more: they must eventually take responsibility for their own learning and their own practice: if we put the groundwork in, this happens gently, when they are ready. A subject for another day.