Lessons

Welcome to the David France Studio. I am a trained Suzuki teacher recently moved to Boston from Bermuda. I am currently accepting new violin and viola students for the fall term. I believe strongly that talent nurtured through study, failure, success, and a resilient nature gives someone a store house of wealth valuable enough to be cherished but only truly enjoyed when given away as a gift in service toward the happiness of others.

My pedagogy is strongly based in the philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, the technical sequence of Sally O’Reilly, and the teaching style of Roland and Almita Vamos. I hope to come alongside the dreams of violin and viola students to provide the tools necessary to realize those goals. I realize that there are a variety of needs in the Boston community. There are those who only want lessons from time to time because of their busy schedule and lifestyle, there are others who would like a highly trained teacher to come alongside them and practice with them, then there are others who want weekly lessons. I would love to be of service to these three communities. Contact me through the contact page and we can discuss which option would be best for you or your child.

Renowned Japanese violinist and teacher Dr. Shinichi Suzuki studied how children learn for over fifty years. Encouraged by their ability to assimilate the “mother tongue”, he saw a great opportunity to enrich children’s lives through music. His primary goal was not only to teach young people to play musical instruments, but rather, he recognized the unique contribution music can make in the total learning process. His goals for all children included development of the whole child, unfolding the natural potential to learn and becoming a good and happy person.

The Mother Tongue Approach

While studying violin in Germany, Shinichi Suzuki was struck by the fact that German children learned to speak German fluently at their mother’s knee. Just as Japanese children absorbed the dialect of the parents, all children in the world learned their native language effortlessly by listening to the adults and children in their environment. This realization led Suzuki to analyze mother tongue learning and apply the same characteristics to the study of music and later all subjects. It includes much listening, repetition, praise and performance. No word is discarded and learning accelerates with practice. Adults must wait for readiness.

 

The Suzuki Philosophy

Every Child Can Learn

Suzuki educators know that ability is firmly and gradually developed at one level before introducing the next level. An important facet of Suzuki teaching is the “education of Momma”. This does not refer to the “Mother Tongue Approach” but was used by Suzuki to point out the importance of the parents in the process. The thorough mastery of one skill will ensure success as the next skill is introduced. Parents must not hurry the child but allow for confidence before proceeding. Parents and teachers must not “give up”. Just as every parent knows that their child will learn and speak their native language fluently, other abilities can be developed.

Ability Develops Early

Success in one task will lead to more success. The earlier a child learns the satisfaction that comes with success, the earlier that child can move on to new skill development in any of the domains. The early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to music should begin at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four, but it is never too late to begin

Environment Nurtures Growth

When parents, teachers and adults around the child are supportive and helpful, when they reward the child with positive feedback for efforts they make and when they show acceptance of the small successes that children have, the environment is nurturing and helpful for growth

Children Learn From One Another

Children who play with other children learn from them. All children use their senses for learning and their senses will motivate them to imitate their peers(especially if it looks like fun). They identify readily with children who are a little older and represent a “working” model. They often look to children just a little younger to practice the social skills that they have learned from older children.

Success Breeds Success

Success in any task has some implicit rewards but when the environment provides some social or physical rewards like approval or a hug, the child quickly learns to repeat the effort.

Parental Involvement is Critical

When parents are supportive and actively help children, their accurate feedback helps the process of learning to focus and learning becomes thoroughly mastered. Although a child learns by experience to avoid a hot stove after touching it, the feedback for much learning is more often muted and needs to be supported by an adult.

Encouragement is Essential

The social reward of a supportive parent or adult will speed the learning and remove doubt about what constitutes success in a child’s learning experience. No encouragement negates the fundamental reward of success in any learning experience. It is possible for the physical environment to provide the reward necessary but if there is no encouragement from any aspect, the learning is not complete.

 

Studio Policies

Private Lessons:

All students will receive two lessons weekly. Private lessons are scheduled on an individual basis at a mutually agreeable time.

Please arrive early for your lesson. This gives you and your child time to get ready, use the restroom, wash hands etc. in a timely manner before your lesson begins. Please enter the teaching area quietly when you arrive and observe the lesson before yours.

Parents are required to attend all private lessons and are expected to bring all supplies and take diligent notes. Video recording is required. Cell phones should not be used while in lessons (unless you are videotaping!) as this is a distraction to the student, teacher and parent.

Parents of new students will be required to attend parent education classes which may take place during your private lesson for the first few weeks. Parents can either obtain a full size violin for these classes or may go ahead (with my guidance) and obtain a violin for their child with the understanding that only the parent may use it until I deem the student ready for the real violin.

Group Lessons:

All students are required to attend group class with a Boston Area Suzuki Program.

Recitals/Concerts:

All students are expected to attend and participate (where appropriate) in all solo recitals and group concerts. Concerts are highly motivating to students and it is important not only to play, but also to see others play. For this reason, and to support the other students, it is imperative that you stay for the entirety of each performance.

Practicing and Listening:

There are no shortcuts to learning an instrument. Daily practice and listening to the CD are the only ways to make steady progress. Daily practice and listening is required of all students. Students are expected to complete all assignments each week.

Attendance:

Lessons missed by the student will not be rescheduled or refunded. Late lesson arrival does not entitle the student to additional time beyond the scheduled time slot.

Lessons missed by the teacher will be rescheduled.

Instruments and other supplies:

Students will be expected to obtain their own instrument, however, this should only be done under my supervision. Violins and violas are carefully crafted instruments and need to be properly maintained. I will guide you in obtaining a quality instrument, whether renting or buying. For beginners, no instrument is needed as we will begin our studies on a “pretend” violin. Eventually the student will progress to needing a real violin, at which time I will guide you through the process. I encourage to parents to make this a celebratory occasion.

Other supplies you will need include:

3-ring binder and paper
Pens and pencils with which to take notes
Camcorder, or digital camera for recording
Suzuki Violin (or viola) School Volume 1 – book and CD
Suzuki Violin (or viola) School Volum 4 CD only
Nurtured by Love, by Shinichi Suzuki
Helping Parents Practice, by Edmund Sprunger