1. Is my child ready for violin or viola lessons?

“You are rarely too young and never too old to Twinkle” – S. Suzuki

Students begin Suzuki lessons from the age of 3 through adult.  Talent Education, also known as the mother-tongue approach, takes advantage of the young child’s ability to absorb sounds and through daily discipline and practice, apply technical concepts to produce beautiful tone.

Perhaps the true question to ask is:  Can I commit to helping my child with the discipline that is required to learn an instrument and support my child as they grow.  

2. How long of a lesson does my child need?

A general guideline for lesson length is as follows:

  • Book 1-2; 30 minutes
  • Book 3; 45 minutes
  • Book 4; 60 minutes
  • Serious Study/College Preparation; 90 minutes

3. We have a very full schedule, how often does my child have to practice at home?

Daily practice is our goal at West County Strings.  If there are seasons and reasons this is not possible for you and your child, please address this with your teacher right away.  This will help your teacher understand your situation better as well as help you set a mutual goal that will set your child up for success.  

4. How does the Suzuki Method work? What role do I have in the lesson?  What is daily listening?

The cornerstones of the Suzuki Method are Listening, Review, Repetition, Parent-Teacher-Student Triangle and Setting the students up for success!  (Please see Philosophies for more information on the Suzuki Method and its application in our teaching.) 

5. Do I have to attend group classes?

There is a strong correlation between balanced progress and attendance at group/ensemble classes, therefore we encourage all families to attend.  If there is a reason you cannot attend, please make arrangements with the teacher ahead of time.  In order to plan classes that build on one another throughout the year and maintain a strong curriculum, it is also important to maintain consistent attendance.  (Please see Group & Ensemble Classes for more information on the benefits and importance of attending.)

6. What materials do I need for my child’s lessons?

Please DO NOT purchase an instrument prior to music lessons.  All instruments are NOT equal, and in order to set a student up for success, they must have a quality learning tool.  We will direct you to rental programs or reliable places for purchasing.

Your teacher will also help size your child for their instrument and recommend an appropriate shoulder pad to purchase if your rental does not come with one that fits your child’s body.  

a. for students who are just beginning:

Nurtured by Love is Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy book.  It is a wonderful jumping-off or review book for all parents involved in the program.  The book is available at the St. Louis County Library as well as Amazon (insert link here)

Suzuki Book and Recording.  Parents absolutely must purchase the reference recording for their child.  Suzuki reference recordings are available with a book and CD on Amazon, or the book is available on Amazon and the recording is available on iTunes.  (insert links)

Supplemental Repertoire and Reading Books.  After assessing your child, your teacher will recommend developmentally appropriate supplemental and reading repertoire when the they feel your child is ready.  

Helping Parents Practice dives into the “why” and “how” of what we are working through with our children on a regular basis.  

b. for more advanced students:  

Your teacher will assess where your child is at developmentally and recommend appropriate scale books, technical studies, repertoire books and sight reading/theory materials.

Children grow fast and not always steadily!  We will continue to assess each student’s equipment to make sure their balance and posture is comfortable as they grow.  

As students move out of rental programs towards purchasing their own instruments please consult your teacher before purchasing anything.  With purchasing an instrument it is a PROCESS that we would like to make sure to guide you through.  

Not all strings are created equal.  Please do not purchase strings without checking the brand with your teacher first.