The Importance of Group Class to Suzuki Learning
Compiled by Ruth Bergman
Some points are borrowed from Helping Parents Practice: Ideas for Making it Easier, by Edmund Sprunger
Group class is one of the central components of Suzuki Talent Education. But why is group class included in Suzuki Method learning? Here are just some of the reasons that group class is important:
- Group class can help students build confidence in known skills
- Group class may review skills taught in private lessons
- Group class may introduce skills that are not taught in the private lesson—perhaps because it can be presented more efficiently in a group setting
- Students experience motivation from the social aspect of the group experience
- Students have the opportunity to witness someone else getting instruction on a specific musical point—exposure to techniques in pieces that child may not be studying yet.
- Parents have an opportunity to get a sneak peak at upcoming techniques and skills.
- Group class fosters a sense of community between the students in the class.
- Group class is also an opportunity for parents to develop their own sense of community, to help each other with questions and share struggles and successes from their experience.
- Children learn group playing or ensemble skills. Edmund Sprunger compares this to the idea of Little-Leaguers practicing their baseball skills at home by themselves and then only getting together for the games—this would make no sense! Musicians can only learn how to express their musicality as part of a group by working as part of a group on a regular basis.
- Group class gives students a “safety net” that allows them to take chances and discover greater creativity.
- Students learn to play a piece in many different ways—they might need to play a piece the way the teacher or other students do. They develop flexibility that allows them to make artistic decisions about their own solo performance.
- Students get to experience different teaching styles and learn social skills from responding to various approaches.
- Group class provides an opportunity to practice exercises and activities that may not be possible in lessons or home practice, or are just more fun to do as a group.
- Group class can serve as an opportunity to perform skills in front of an audience in an informal setting.
- Group class teaches students how to be polite members of an audience when they have opportunities to listen to others perform.
- As parents observe group class, they are modeling concert etiquette for their children.
- Children learn the importance of consistency and the responsibility of being part of a team.
- Group class is a place for students and teachers to experience the JOY of making music together.