NWA Suzuki School of Music
2016 – 2017
Christy Paxton, Director
Click Here to Download the Handbook-2016-17 in PDF Format.
I am delighted that you are investing in music education for your child! Through this experience your child will not only learn how to play an instrument, but will also develop lifelong skills such as self-discipline, perseverance, teamwork, and responsibility. The primary focus will be on the development of character and kind, loving hearts through the medium of learning how to play a string instrument.
The collaborative Suzuki Triangle experience is truly one of the most rewarding for the student, the parent, and the teacher. Family bonds are strengthened and students experience the highest levels of success when this loving environment is functioning at its optimum.
Our goal as teachers is to help each of our students to develop their talents to their full potential, and to truly enjoy the music they are making. To this end, we would ask that you please read this policy thoroughly so that you will know what the expectations are and be prepared to assist us in working towards these goals.
Parents’ Responsibilities (For parents with children ages 3-12)
Parents play a vital role in the development of their children, and this is especially true when they are young. Whichever parent decides to embark on this Suzuki experience with their child should plan on attending every weekly private lesson and group class for children ages 12 and under, and will need to commit to practicing daily with their child.
Role of Home Teacher:
- Practice with your child on a daily basis (a minimum of five days a week is required).
- Set aside a specific time for practice that can become an established part of your daily routine. Consistency is key and distractions should be minimal.
- For young students, split practice up into smaller “mini-sessions” throughout the day to maintain focus and motivation.
Role in Private Lessons/Note-taking:
- Do not interrupt either verbally or non-verbally (except to smile affirmingly!).
- Take detailed notes so that you can structure practice at home according to the teacher’s instructions.
- Bring recording devices to lessons in order to capture teaching processes.
- Write down questions to be discussed at the end of the lesson.
- Respect the teacher’s one-on-one time with the student in order to help maintain the focus of the child.
Listening: Listening to the Suzuki CD recordings is crucial for children to be able to develop their “musical ears,” and so please make sure that this is occurring every day. There is no mother tongue approach without listening. Failure to listen to the CD on a regular basis could result in me asking you to find another teacher. It is very discouraging to me, and I cannot make up for the learning you miss by failing to listen. A student who does not listen tends to go about 4 times slower than one who listens, and that is not an exaggeration. If you think lessons are expensive now, think about how much more they are if you are moving really slowly because you are not listening!
Listening can happen while driving, during playtime, meals, at bedtime, etc., so please have CD’s copied and prepared for various situations. Put your music on an iPod and use it a lot! The listening should be structured as follows:
- “Working” piece — 10 times in a row
- Next 2 pieces (after “working” piece) — 10 times in a row
- Whole CD for book level — At least twice a day
***Parents of beginners are encouraged to purchase the Book 4 CD at the same time that the Book 1 CD is purchase so that students can listen to the concertos in Book 4 (i.e., the Bach Double) that Books 1-3 are preparing them to play. This is very motivational!
In General: Please be patient with your child’s progress, especially during the first year of study. During this time we are laying the foundation for posture, technique, sound, intonation, etc., and this is a process that cannot be rushed. It might seem that your beginner is making very slow progress, but this first year is actually the time when they are learning and absorbing the most. Once these foundational items have been mastered, the learning pace and difficulty level for pieces will accelerate.
Parents’ Responsibilities (for children of all ages):
- Encouragement: Please be positive and encouraging and make every effort to assist the teacher in creating the best learning environment possible for your child. Celebrate every small achievement.
- Progress: Please be realistic in your expectations of “progress.” Every child is different and consistent effort, cooperation, and a positive attitude are most important. As you are helping your child practice, please remember that what’s important is not what piece they are playing, but rather how well they are playing it. Throughout the process of learning pieces, character and skill development will be the focus.
That being said, positive progress can only be made when a regular commitment to daily practice is carried out. Suzuki Education can be a wonderful experience, but only when parents and teachers work together to support the child’s success.
- Practice Requirements
Demand for Suzuki instruction is high. We have an ever-growing waiting list for lessons, with parents and students who have already completed lesson observations, parent training, and are listening at home in anticipation of available lesson times. One of the reasons for this demand is the fact that our standards and expectations are high. If students or parents relax their commitment to daily practice and listening, fail to attend all scheduled lessons and group classes, or fail to follow teacher’s instructions for weekly practice, this results in lowered motivation and confidence, and slow or halted progress. This is not a positive experience for the student, parent, or teacher.
In order to create the most positive experience for all students in the studio, the following minimum requirements must be observed. A student who falls below the minimum requirements for more than 3 weeks will be required to attend a conference to determine whether the student and parent are willing and able to make the commitment to continue.
Book 1 20-30 minutes/day, 5 days/week
Book 2-3 30-45 minutes/day, 5 days/week
Book 4-5 60 minutes/day, 6 days/week
Book 6-8 90 minutes/day, 6 days/week
Beyond Bk. 8 90-120 minutes/day, 6 days/week
These minimum requirements refer to personal practice, not orchestra rehearsals or school classes.
- Communication: If you experience frustration over your child’s behavior or progress, you are welcome to speak with me and we can discuss possible solutions. However, please do not bring these issues up in front of the child as this can be embarrassing and/or upsetting to them. Feel free to email or call me to set up a time to speak in person or over the phone. I will be happy to speak with you so that we can discuss how to resolve any issues that may be occurring as quickly as possible.
- Lessons: Please arrive no more than five minutes early to every lesson and group class and enter the waiting area quietly. Your child is welcome to unpack his/her instrument if a lesson is in progress. Please make sure your child is not rushed or stressed right before lessons (arguments in the car should be avoided at all costs!), and it’s a good idea to have a snack, drink, or bathroom break before coming to the lesson. Do not arrive late to the lesson, as you will lose that time. Teachers will not be able to run a lesson overtime, so it is important that we begin on time. Please leave any food or drink items in the kitchen area. Only bottled water is allowed in the studios.
- Repetition: Please be enthusiastic about doing repetitions! This is a vital element to the success of talent education and children tend to mirror the behavior of their adult role models. Children often enjoy assignments such as these and it is very important (especially for young ones), to repeat small assignments over and over again for complete mastery.
- Performances: Plan to participate in all student recitals and program performances. It is also recommended that you attend any performances given by the teacher in addition to as many other professional performances as you possibly can. The more exposure your child has to quality performances, the better.
- Tuition: Please pay tuition in full and on time as agreed upon with the Suzuki School. You can pay by the semester or in monthly installments. Tuition payments can be made at the studio in the dropbox inside the kitchen area, by mail, or through the online payment link found in each semester invoice. Accounts which are not paid in full by the start of each semester will require a credit card number on file, which will only be charged in the event that monthly payments are not made by the 7th of each month. Late payments will be charged a $10 fee per student.
Suzuki Program Information
- Private lessons form the heart of each student’s musical education and will occur on a weekly basis. Instruments offered are violin, viola, cello, bass, and piano, and the curriculum is based on the Suzuki Method of “Talent Education.”
- Private lesson length is determined by playing level.
- Pre-Twinkle through Book 1 – 30-minutes
- Book 2-Book 3 – 45-minutes
- Book 4 and up – 60-minutes
- For students ages 13 and under it is absolutely required that a parent be in attendance for all lessons. For those students ages 14 and up parental attendance is optional, but encouraged, except during the student’s first semester.
- Please note that other family members such as siblings are allowed to be in the lesson so long as they are not a distraction. If you plan to bring younger children please provide them with quiet activities to occupy them, and be responsible for their behavior in the studio. Siblings are not allowed to wander the building while you are observing your child’s lesson, and should especially not enter other studios during the lesson time.
All cell phones and other electronic devices must be turned OFF during lessons unless approved by the teacher.
Group classes play an important role in Talent Education and are required. Classes will be held every week during the semester. These classes reinforce technical skill development, repertoire review, listening, reading, and musicality. Students will also have the opportunity to develop their teamwork and ensemble skills in a fun environment, playing with their peers. Parental attendance is required and you should plan to sit quietly and take notes as this is a lesson. This is also a wonderful opportunity to watch and assess your child’s progress.
Group Class Schedule (weekly)
Group A (Pre-Twinkle – Allegro) Mondays, 6:00-6:40pm
Group B (Book 1, Lightly Row – Etude) Tuesdays, 4:30-5:10pm
Group C (Book 1 Etude – Book 3) Tuesdays, 5:15-6:00pm
Group D (Book 4+) Saturdays, bi-monthly, 1:00-2:30pm
Group A (Book 1-2) Wednesdays, 5:00-5:45pm
Group B (Book 3+) Saturdays, 11:00-11:45pm
All Guitar Students Mondays, 5:00-5:45pm
All cell phones and other electronic devices must be turned OFF during group classes unless approved by the teacher.
Big Group (combined with other Suzuki students)
Held monthly, all Group Classes will meet on a Tuesday in a combined group class setting with all NWASSM students, and this year our Big Group will join with a couple of other area Suzuki teachers in a Big Group class that will precede APYO rehearsals. Students who play in one of the APYO groups will be able to stay after Big Group for a dinner pizza break before the APYO rehearsals begin. Locations for Big Group will be at 1st Presbyterian Church of Springdale, 100 S. Gutensohn Rd. This is a great opportunity to get to know other Suzuki families and teachers outside of our school.
Fall Big Group Dates: (5:00-6:00pm)
September 13, October 11, November 8, December 6
All new students (both beginners and transfers) and their parents are required to observe at least two private lessons and one group class before enrolling. Prospective students on the waiting list will be offered available lesson times based on participation in summer lessons and in observation. In addition, parents will be required to attend Parent Training classes, preferably prior to the start of lessons. Parents will be required to purchase books needed for the class.
Recitals & Special Events
There will be at least two studio recitals scheduled during the year in November and in May. These recitals are an opportunity to celebrate the student’s progress and achievements during the semester, and participation is required. Students will each perform a solo and may also perform with their respective group class. Other opportunities may arise to perform in special venues (or for special events).
Lessons begin the week of Monday, August 22, 2016. There will be 34 weeks of lessons during the 2016-2017 school year. Final lessons will be Friday, May 19, 2017. A detailed calendar is available on the website.
The following weeks there will be no lessons:
- November 21-25, 2016 (Thanksgiving Break)
- December 19, 2016 – January 6, 2017 (Winter Break)
- March 20-24, 2017 (Spring Break)
Lessons will also be offered during the summer on a limited basis.
Attendance & Makeup Policy
- Consistent, punctual attendance to both private lessons and group classes is absolutely required.
- If for some reason you have to miss your lesson, please let your teacher know at least 24 hours in advance.
- We regret that we will not be able to offer make-up lessons for student absences.
- If a teacher needs to miss your lesson for any reason, he/she will do his/her best to let you know at least 24 hours in advance, and will schedule a make-up lesson for you.
- Please note that if a student misses three or more lessons in one semester that are not due to an extreme situation (i.e., medical emergency or death in the family), their spot in the studio may be offered to someone on the waiting list.
- Snow days and school cancellations do NOT mean that lessons are cancelled. Teachers who are able will be at the studio for scheduled lessons, and if teacher and student mutually agree that travel is not advisable due to weather, a makeup lesson may be scheduled.
Instruments & Other Required Materials
It is very important that your child have an instrument that fits properly and is up to the task of being played beautifully. Your teacher wants to help you get the best instrument for your needs and this will require measuring and fitting your child in person, so please DO NOT rent or purchase instruments or bows without consulting your teacher first. Quality in stringed instruments can vary a great deal and while it might seem like you are getting a great deal, without proper knowledge, it can be very easy to purchase/rent something that is of poor quality.
Fees & Payment
Your tuition includes:
- Weekly Private lesson
- Weekly group classes
- Six-week Parent Training classes, plus ongoing Parent Education opportunities
- Solo recitals, in November and May
- Group performances and special events
- Spooky Suzuki
- String Fling/Farmer’s Market Performances
- Bentonville Christmas Parade
- Accompanying for recitals (some accompanying may require an extra fee)
- Hall and facility rental
See Tuition and Fees for current Tuition rates.
Tuition is due at the beginning of the semester, or you may make monthly payments due on the 1st of each month. These should be received by or before your first lesson of each month. Any payment received after the 7th will be considered late, and you will be charged a $10 late fee per student. There will be no exceptions to this late fee policy. You may make your payment by check, cash, online payment, or credit card. Please make checks out to NWA Suzuki Strings, and send to:
810 NW 3rd St., Suite B
Bentonville, AR 72712
Credit card payments will be charged a 4% fee per transaction.
You will also be responsible for paying rental or purchase fees for instruments and for buying all necessary materials (books, recordings, metronome, music stand, strings, rosin, etc.) which you need, as well as any instrument maintenance necessary (rehairing bow, repairs, adjustments).
Your signature indicates that you have read this entire studio policy and are in compliance with it. Please take the time to review these policies with your teacher.
Parent _____________________________________________________ Date ______________
Teacher ____________________________________________________ Date ______________