Great article by Samantha Peters on September 12, 2013
This popular method for instructing students in the playing of musical instruments is ripe for teaching and tutoring online. Here’s some tools that can help.
As a musician myself, and one with a couple kids in applied music classes right now, I was intrigued by this post. There are some useful ideas here for extending instruction beyond the physical classroom. – K. Walsh
The Suzuki Violin technique is one of the most respected and established methods of teaching violin and other instruments. Students begin when they are very young – often toddler age – and spend the first lessons simply learning how to hold and bow the violin. Slowly, they learn about notation, rhythm, tone, and other aspects of technique.
Since the Suzuki method is standardized across all students and teachers, and since each lesson has specific objectives that must be mastered before progress continues, it is an ideal teaching method to transfer online. Opening an online Suzuki studio could allow you to teach violin and other instruments anywhere, at any time, or reach a larger number of students than you might otherwise. It allows you to teach or tutor homeschooled students, rural students, and students who might not have the ability to travel to weekly violin lessons.
Here are four resources that can help you get the job done:
To be a successful instrument teacher, you need to see and communicate with your students. There are numerous video chat apps, but Skype is consistently the most popular. Skype also offers a simultaneous text chat, which is useful in sending links to new music or images of appropriate technique.
The Suzuki technique involves students playing against a piano accompaniment. Use Anytune to share mp3 files of Suzuki piano tracks with your students. The biggest advantage of Anytune over other apps is that it lets you automatically change both the tempo and the pitch of your audio files. Start your lesson by turning the tempo down and asking your student to play along; when your student masters this speed, slowly increase the tempo until your student can play at performance rate. Advanced students can use the pitch function to practice transposition.
This app was originally designed for sports coaches; then we learned that music teachers were using it in online lessons. It is especially applicable for Suzuki lessons, because it ensures that you catch technique mistakes before they become bad habits.
Here’s how it works: ask your students to record video of one of their practice sessions. Then, annotate the video much as a coach draws on a playboard – circle incidents of bad posture, draw a smiley face next to a well-executed bow, or write notes like “too fast!” Send the video back to your students to watch before your next lesson, or review the video together during a Skype session.
There are numerous additional apps that are useful to music students: online tuners, online metronomes, and online sheet music readers are all excellent resources for young Suzuki students. These three apps, however, will make your work as a teacher/trainer that much easier.
There’s one more resource you shouldn’t forget – finding individual violin teachers to teach on your website. Hire teachers that specialize in Suzuki techniques. Create a website that flaunts you and your teachers’ qualifications. Ideally, your website should allow parents to schedule lessons, download music, and make payments, all within a mobile website app. Without that functionality, your clients are likely to choose a different teacher.