For Beginning Families

The First Few Weeks

You and your child will both attend the first group class, our opening 'Supergroup', where the students play selected repertoire together in a fun session of getting back into the swing of things for the coming year. You and your child will just observe and you do not need your instrument for this. There are usually some activities in which the new students can participate. Your program will consist of four elements: lessons with your private teacher, group classes, music and movement classes and parent education classes. Note that the latter three classes do not take place every week throughout the year. See the ESM calendar for the time and location of these classes.

In the first few weeks, the parent will receive elementary instruction on the instrument. Your child will not need an instrument for the first few weeks, but will listen and watch and will begin instruction when the teacher determines s/he is ready. Before your first lesson, you will need to acquire (rent or purchase) a full sized violin. Note that your first lesson may occur before the Wednesday evening Supergroup.

The purpose of the instruction for the parent is to give you enough information about what your child will be learning for you to be able to teach him/her at home. This gives you a better idea of the challenges your child will be facing.

At the Supergroup our teachers will be sizing children for instruments. This is a critical first step in acquiring your child's instrument and you should take advantage of this opportunity. There will also be an opportunity to purchase an instrument and/or other Suzuki music related materials. The Sound Post, a prominent string instrument and Suzuki music supply store in downtown Toronto will have some instruments and materials for sale. We also have an inventory of instruments for private resale by ESM families whose children have moved up to larger instruments and some of these will be on display that evening as well.

For the first few weeks of lessons, violin students use a home made Box Violin to acquire some of the skills necessary for handling a real instrument. See Beginner Cello Kit for the requirements for new cello students.

Parent Education Classes

Parent education classes are held for several weeks during your first year in the program. These classes are a valuable source of information to assist you in working and learning with your child. These classes will help you get started, know what to expect and how to anticipate and handle problems as they arise. You will also receive elementary technical instruction on your child's instrument (tuning and care) and become part of a support group of other 'beginner' parents.

Topics covered include; introduction to the program, role of the parent at lessons & home; listening and practice routines; video on Dr. Suzuki's philosophy; instrument care & tuning; important factors in the Suzuki environment; elementary instrument technique; practice ideas; sharing experiences and ideas with other parents; the child's lesson; and note reading.

Mentors for New Families

We have parent volunteers who act as Mentors for new families. They are there to help answer your questions, solve problems, provide encouragement or just share experiences. You will have a chance to meet them at the opening Supergroup.