As summer winds down, I’ve been reflecting on my favorite topics from Juilliard’s Starling-Delay Symposium on Violin Studies. Kurt Sassmannshaus presented two dynamite pedagogy classes on technique, but his advice on practicing is what I’d like to discuss today.
The most frequent question I’m asked by parents is how they can help their children grow to be independent thinkers who practice effectively on their own. Parents worry that if they guide their children’s practice, their children will become dependent. However, the largest advantage Suzuki offers his followers is the positive and constant relationship between the student, parent, and violin.
Thinking of the families in my studio, I asked pedagogy expert Kurt Sassmannshaus (Dorothy Richard Starling Chair for Classical Violin at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music) how long he prefers parents to continue practicing with their children. “Until age 25!” he joked.
“The involvement of the parent is synonymous with talent.” Sassmannshaus confirmed. He mandates that parents be present and engaged for 100% of all practicing and lessons, insisting that one parent or caregiver must work with the student for 30 minutes each day or there will be no admittance to his studio. Affirming this incredible dedication of parents to their children, he reminded everyone that “there’s never a question of unconditional love.”
Kurt Sassmannshaus’s website, violinmasterclass.com, is an excellent resource for those seeking advice on technique, videos, lessons, musicality, and pedagogy.
All opinions are by Lauren Haley and all original content is copyright 2015 Lauren Haley Studios.