What's the Suzuki Method about? Why study Suzuki Guitar?
What is involved? Who is this Stephen Bondy, anyway?

What is involved in being part of the
Stephen Bondy Guitar Studio?

Schedule    
The First Year Big Picture Schedule Small Picture Schedule
Reality Check    
Extra Schedule Items    
Performances Institutes  

Children are indeed our most precious resource. Providing them with a high quality music education and treating them with respect will help them develop in countless positive ways. The Stephen Bondy Guitar Studio wants to be part of a series of positive musical experiences for your child. We want your child to enjoy themselves, be challenged, and flourish under the caring attention of a specialised music teacher who partners with you, the parent.

Studying music and learning to play an instrument is the beginning of a life long journey from which one's life is enriched. Children love to learn and even the most excited child may not fully understand the commitment involved in learning to play an instrument. Through our experience, we have learned that it is actually the parent, after careful consideration and discussion with the child, who makes the commitment to help teach the child to play a musical instrument. The parent becomes the "home coach" and guides the child's pratice at home. No parent should impose an instrument on a child. Even though the commitment is not small it is not insurmountalbe; and, it is definitely rewarding for the parent and especially beneficial to the child. A choice to study guitar in the Suzuki method will become a part of your family's life - a rewarding and enriching part.

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The First Year

First, we ask that when you enter the Stephen Bondy Guitar Studio, you commit to studying for one full year. It takes some time to get over the initial hurdles of finding time to practice, and to try for only three or six months does the student a disservice because if you quit after three months, they are left with, "I tried to play guitar once, but I wasn't any good..." AAAAGGGGHH! We do not want to be a part of that sequence of events. After a year, practicing will become as routine as brushing teeth and you and your child can decide whether or not the program is for your family.

I want to help you make the right decision for your family, not pressure you into something that will be a poor fit for your child, your family, and the studio. This is not a small commitment, and often conversations end right here! We invite you to observe as many private lessons and/or group lessons as you want before joining the studio. You could obsesrve every group class for a year with no pressure from the studio if you wanted to take that long to decide.

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The Big Picture Schedule

The calendar year is split into four sessions, each lasting ten weeks. The student receives a private lesson every week, so they receive ten private lessons per session.

The very first session in the studio, the home coach will attend four classes (without the student) to familiarize themselves with the Suzuki philosophy, the rudiments of how to play the guitar, and they will also learn some basic strategies to keep practice fun, productive and possible! In this first session, the student will begin group classes after the home coach has finished the home coach training. This means that in the first session, the home coach will attend four classes, and the student will attend six group classes.

In all subsequent sessions the very first group class time is set aside for a round table type of home coach discussion, again with no students present, just the teacher and the home coaches. (These are invaluable sessions - the greatest motivational ideas come from other parents in the program!) The student will attend a group class in the remaining nine weeks of the session.

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The Small Picture Schedule

Week to week you (the home coach) will attend (with the student) one private half hour lesson, and one group lesson. The private lessons are held on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons/evenings. The group classes are held on Saturday mornings; the time and length of class is dependant on age and level of the student.

More importantly, you as the home coach will need to sit down every day with the student and practice! This is the most important time for the student, as it is at home where they will assimilate the material worked on in the lesson. By the way, we do not seek marathon practice sessions! The practice session for a three year old may only be four minutes long, and consist of bowing and holding the guitar, and practice for an eight year old may be twenty minutes or longer depending on level. The most important thing about practice is that it is as regular as possible. In a perfect world, it happens in the same place, at the same time every day.

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Reality Check

Okay, by now you have read that you are supposed to practice every day, attend classes on how to do this right, go to the studio space twice a week, one of those times being Saturday mornings... I can hear you now, "Whoa, what does he think I'm signing up for?"

Here is the way I see it in reality: You need to make every effort to be at every private lesson. This is where the student learns from and forms a bond with the teacher. As for group class, let's examine that schedule a bit closer.

The studio is open forty weeks a year. That makes forty Saturday mornings (or rather half an hour or forty-five minutes of your Saturday mornng) that you are committed. That may be unrealistic, as we all have lives to which we must attend.

So, to make it a bit easier, the first of those weeks is the home coach training, and as important as I believe them to be, they are not mandatory, so that makes you responsible for thirty-six of fifty-two weeks. That feels a bit better, right? It gets a bit easier. That leaves nine group classes per session for the student to attend. You must be in attendance at six of those group classes*, which means you are allowed to miss three group classes per session, twelve per year. That makes the total of Saturday mornings committed to the program to be twenty-four per year.

In the case of athletics, I hope you consider your child to be part of a team in their group class. I do not expect you to skip every soccer game when there is a conflict with group class, but if you have a conflict one week and you decide to go to soccer that week, then please put guitar class on an equal footing and err in favor of guitar the next time the conflict arises.

All this being said, I hope you can attend every one of the group classes! The kids have great musical experiences and have a ton of fun at the same time. They experience a sort of motivation from their peers that we could never hope to instill in them.

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Other Schedule Items
Performances

There is almost nothing like an upcoming performance to get a student to practice more and more intensely! As a result, students in the Stephen Bondy Guitar Studio will be given the chance to perform at least three times per year, hopefully more. These will most likely be evening or afternoon concerts, and attendance is of the utmost importance! The kids LOVE performing! They love showing of the material on which they have worked so diligently. As the teacher, performance nights are a total peak experience, I am so proud of my students!!

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Institutes

Ahhh, the summer Suzuki institutes! If only they could be made mandatory!

At a summer institute, the student partakes in five days of music study and fun in a wholly supportive and exhillarating atmosphere. They will have a lesson every day, a group class every day, a musicianship class, maybe an ensemble experience, and often they will have a non-music enrichment class. Students walk away from these institutes so revved up it is incredible! It is the single greatest thing that a Suzuki student could attend.

Here in Denver we generally attend the Colorado Suzuki Institute in Snowmass, a stunning destination in its own right, it is an absolute oasis for the student in the summer time. As a teacher, I can not demand you take a week off work to go, but I will do everything I can to entice!!

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Final Words

If you find the information on this page daunting, please visit this page to read about the benefits of the program. If you are still curious but daunted, please contact the studio. Most of the parents currently in the program are ready and willing to discuss their experiences with the Suzuki Method. You can be sure to get an honest account from these parents, not a sales pitch for the studio. They know what is involved, and they also know what there is to gain from this type of study. Please take advantage of this!

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*Attendance at group class is important for your child, but also for the other children in the class. A team atmosphere is created, and when a child is absent, they are missed. If a family attends fewer than six group classes in a session, they will be put on probation, and if they do the same within a year, they will be asked to leave the studio. back to text

 

What is the Suzuki Method about? What's involved? Why study Suzuki Guitar? Who is Stephen Bondy?
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