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Saturday, April 2, 2011

How Can I Best Help My Child in the Lesson?

It's important for there to be only one teacher at a time in the lesson. Parent's should be silent observers and note-takers and only comment or actively participate at the teacher's instruction. This is because two sets of instructions will confuse the child, and divide the child's attention, even when the instructions are the same.

If you notice that your child is distracted to see you in her line of sight, position yourself behind her, so that she can focus on the teacher. If she turns to look at you, simply smile and redirect her focus back to the teacher.

How to Take Notes
You may take notes in whatever format you like, but they should be thorough, accurate and clear. In addition to (not in lieu of) written notes, parents in my studio are always welcome to record or videotape all or part of any lesson. Now with the advent of flip cameras, it is relatively convenient to do so. Please don't leave a lesson without making sure you fully understand the week's assignments.

What to Write Down
In short, everything. The more you give yourself to work with, the easier time you'll have at home, and the more likely you are to follow through on what the teacher did in the lesson. Too often, parents get home and open up their notebooks to find that "practice Allegro" is the only thing they wrote down for the whole lesson.

To be more specific:
  • How did the teacher work on posture?
  • How did the teacher work on tone?
  • What scales and/or exercises did the teacher assign?
  • Assignments for review pieces
  • Assignments for polishing pieces
  • What did the teacher compliment?
  • What did the teacher communicate non-verbally?
  • What vocabulary did the teacher use?
  • What analogies did the teacher use?
  • How much bow?
  • Which part of the bow?
  • Which bow direction?
  • How did the teacher physically guide the students bow arm or left hand or posture?
  • What are the steps the teacher prescribes for practicing this skill?
  • What is the one point the teacher would like you to focus on with this activity?
  • Any questions you might have for the teacher that you want to ask at the end of the lesson
  • Any concepts the teacher explains - make sure you understand your notes if the concept is new to you
  • Reading assignment (if applicable)
  • Specific listening assignment (if applicable)
  • Important dates
You should also be observing and taking notes on group class, as the teacher expects those skills and activities to be practiced at home as well.

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