One of the things I love about the Suzuki community is that there is so much wonderful written material to help both teachers and parents through their musical journey with their child. However, it can be challenging to find personal time to read, and even more challenging to find the best way to encourage families in your studio to read.
This semester I decided to do something new. (I have recently moved to Indiana and started a new studio. Most of my students have little to no previous background with lessons/Suzuki.) I selected the book “Beyond the Music Lesson: Habits of Successful Suzuki Families” by Christine E. Goodner because I felt it had a lot of helpful information that families could relate to and begin implementing in their lives. I divided the book into short segments, often just half a chapter, for each week of the semester; and provided each family with a list of what to read each week. To make it even easier for parents I kept a copy of the book and list in my studio and made sure parents knew it was acceptable to read for a few minutes during group class if they hadn’t been able to read earlier in the week!
Beginning the first week of the semester we have been taking 5-10 minutes at the end of each group class to discuss that week’s reading segment. The results have been overwhelmingly positive. In some families both parents are reading the book, and some students are getting involved in the conversations as well. I have heard parents verbalizing discoveries and realizations I had hoped for, as well as received affirming and constructive feedback.
It may seem like there is so much to cram into group class already. How can you take time for conversations too? My experience has been that the time has been so worth it! Already planning to do something similar with “Nurtured by Love” next semester.