Thursday, August 6, 2009

Group lesson

Group lesson:

Everyone heads into the gymnasium and finds their level.

Parents stay upstairs with cases and stuff.

Every child has a level on their nametag so they can be helped (lots of 3 and 4-yr-olds)

The time is 'chunked' into three half hours so that 30 minutes in, the least advanced children are returned to their parents (leaving about 700 on the floor. I'm not kidding about the numbers.)

60 minutes in and the next group of kids (200ish) go upstairs.

Mostly they all stay on and observe the more advanced children, so everyone is IN that gym for the full 1.5 hours, but only the advanced kids play all that time.

What do the teachers do? Well, most of the Japanese teachers are present on the floor to keep the show running smoothly; they have line markers (you can see some teachers holding signs in the pic above) so that the children are organised by what piece they're up to, and everyone else (i.e. us) can either participate or observe.

I think it's much more fun (and I learn more effectively by participating) to play, so I do. It's pretty awesome being in the middle of violins en masse like that. I should clarify: Everyone plays from memory, so there aren't any music stands or fumbling; you know the piece you play the piece, you don't know the piece, you sit and observe. That's about it.

That night: Faculty Concert: brilliant. It's expected that, as a teacher, you play the whole repertoire from memory. That's why there are levels of accreditation which test your performace and technical skills - completely separate from your teaching ability. So Suzuki teachers have to be good musicians. Not optional.

Day 2: later.

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