Studio Policies

Suzuki Philosophy

Two mantras from Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy that direct my piano instruction are “every child can [learn]” and “excellence with joy.” I believe that every child is capable of nurturing his/her talent to a standard of excellence and that joy is the motivation.

I hope to help students achieve excellence in

  1. tone production (including ear training and technique development)
  2. music reading
  3. overall musicianship

I believe that as students gain proficiency in these areas they will find satisfaction and a desire to continue playing all of their lives. I also believe that we as teachers and parents can foster this growth and enjoyment by helping them find joy in the journey. We should be creative in helping students play the piano. While practicing requires diligence, focus and hard work, we should always try to make each session a positive experience.

Payment and Fees

Tuition is $960/year which breaks down to $80/month for a 30 minute lesson or $1440/year and $120/month for a 45 minute lesson. Additional siblings receive a $5 discount per month per child.

Tuition is a yearly cost paid in monthly increments and thus remains the same regardless of how many regularly scheduled lessons appear in a month. Typically, there will be 3 individual lessons and 1 group lesson each month but this may not always happen. We typically take a break in lessons during school holidays. Additionally, I expect students to continue lessons through the summer. During summer break, there will be 3 individual lessons and NO group lessons each month. Instead of a week for group lessons, there will be a week break each month to allow for my family vacations and/or yours. I will guarantee 9 individual lessons during the summer and pro-rate the tuition if we can’t find time to schedule them.

Tuition is due by the 10th of each month. Please include a $10 late fee with tuition paid after the 10th day of the month.

Additionally, each student in my studio must be a member of the Suzuki Association of Utah. Fees are $35/family and are due yearly on September 1st.

Attendance

Students are expected to come prepared to all individual and group lessons as well as any studio recitals (4 a year). Families who fail to attend one or more recitals during any given year are in jeopardy of losing their spot in the studio. Additional regional recitals, festivals and competitions may be available for interested students.

Recital preparation includes students being in best dress with pieces well-polished and memorized. Students are considered prepared for a lesson when they have practiced and listened to the recording at least 5 of the 7 days since the last lesson.

Makeup Lessons

I will always offer a makeup if I can not attend a lesson. I will also schedule makeup lessons for students with reasonable conflicts. Except in case of sickness or emergency, please let me know 24 hours in advance if you aren’t going to be able to come to your regularly scheduled lesson. After three rescheduled lessons, I reserve the right to not offer makeup lessons for the rest of the year.

Terminating Lessons

If you would like to stop taking lessons, please give me 4 weeks notice. I would like to have time to say goodbye and to find another student to fill the slot in the studio.

Equipment and Supplies

One of Dr. Suzuki’s philosophies was that beginning students should have the best teachers and the best equipment available for the most effective talent training. Each family should have the best quality acoustic piano that they can afford. They should also provide maintenance and tuning regularly (once or twice a year is recommended).

Additionally, proper seating is essential to establishing correct technique for tone development, injury prevention and playing ease. Each family is responsible for an adjustable bench/chair and footstool.

Students are responsible for their own copies of Suzuki Piano School New International Edition. They should have the printed music as well as the recording for each level as they progress. Also, sight reading material and other music is the responsibility of the student. I am always happy to purchase music for you if you include reimbursement with your monthly tuition.

Listening

The Suzuki method is best known for “the mother tongue method” of teaching. Dr. Suzuki was amazed when he realized that young Japanese children can learn Japanese, one of the hardest languages in the world, just by listening to and imitating their parents. He applied this observation to his talent development program by encouraging students to listen to great artists and their music.

Students in my studio are required to listen one hour each day as part of their daily practice. Most of the time, their listening should focus on the pieces from the book they are currently studying. Students should find a balance between listening to the book in its entirety and more focused listening before and after practice sessions. It is also helpful for students to listen to the pieces from the next book they will study once they are half-way through learning the current book.

Since providing a musical environment is important in talent development, I also recommend listening to other classical music and attending concerts of quality performances.

Practicing

Daily practice is expected for each student. A good rule of thumb is that students should practice at least as many minutes a day as their lesson (i.e. 30 minute lesson = 30 minutes of practice a day). Please understand that progress, enjoyment and motivation are all directly linked to diligent practicing. Practicing may be broken up into smaller sessions (especially for young beginners).

In order to be prepared for their lessons, students should practice and listen at least 5 days a week and should include some careful, focused, slow practice on small sections. I recommend finding time to at least play something everyday. On occasion when you can’t get to a piano (on vacation for example), just doing the listening can count for 100% of the practice. An especially helpful way to practice by listening, is by following allow in the music while listening to the recording.

The ultimate goal is to make practicing and listening a normal part of every day. Find a way to make it become a part of your routine. Ideally, students eventually gravitate to playing something everyday out of enjoyment. For this reason, anytime students (especially young beginners) choose to go to the piano on their own, parents should notice, compliment, assist and encourage their playing.

Parent, Teacher, Student Triangle

Suzuki method relies heavily on the assumption that the teacher, student and parent work together to achieve excellence.

The teacher is responsible for teaching

  1. technique
  2. tone development
  3. timing
  4. musical sensitivity

The teacher also commits to continuing to develop her teaching and playing abilities by attending professional development trainings, taking lessons and constantly researching her own playing.

The parent fills the role of “coach” and is responsible for

  1. correct positioning at the piano
  2. correct fingering
  3. inviting the student to practice and listen each day
  4. attending each lesson

They continue in this role until the student is about 10 years old. They gradually become a cheerleader as the student assumes more responsibility and independence. Additionally, parents should familiarize themselves with Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy by reading his book Nurtured by Love (I have a copy you can borrow; it’s also available on Amazon or at the library) AND doing one of the following during the first year of lessons: Take an “Every Child Can” class offered by SAU twice a year (Register on the SAU website) Attend SAU’s Parent/Teacher convention (usually in February) Read another book by Dr. Suzuki or Dr. Kataoka (I have several you can look at)

Students are primarily responsible for learning the notes, fingerings and rhythms by first listening and later by listening AND reading the music. I love the Suzuki method because it facilitates one-on-one time between the parent and child as the parent attends lessons and helps with daily practicing. I hope you take advantage of this quality time together!