FAQ

There are many questions when starting a musical journey. Please review the FAQs below. If your question is not answered feel free to email info@hksuzukimusic.com

General FAQ

How do I know if my child is ready for instrumental lessons?

A child is ready for instrumental lessons when they can:

  1. Stand reasonably still for a few minutes, focus, and take directions from a teacher. For example, if a teacher asks them to put their right hand on their head they understand and will do so.
  2. Shows an interest in music, preferably the instrument being taught.
  3. Sit quietly for 5-10 minutes and do a quiet activity while another child is learning or the teacher is speaking with the teacher.
  4. Has reasonable fine motor control. Ideally they can move fingers of left hand individually but this can also be developed through lessons.

Do your teachers prepare students for music exams or competitions?

No. The Suzuki philosophy is non-competitive.

You could say that the Suzuki philosophy sees a world of people with whom we can cooperate, rather a world of people with whom to compete. At HKSMI we believe that all children should enjoy music for its own sake and the joy it brings to their family, friends, and community.

Therefore, HKSMI teachers will not prepare students for competitions or exams. In competitions there is only one winner.

I’m very busy. Can my helper or nanny go to the lessons instead?

No. No paid persons are allowed to attend master classes or group lessons in Step 2 or 3. It is in the child’s long term interest to bond with, and learn from, their parent. From a practical point of view, helpers/nannies eventually change jobs and if they have been practicing with a child for years it will be impossible for a parent to step in at that point. This situation will usually result in the child stopping their musical education. At HKSMI, we also feel it is too much to ask someone to learn the violin as part of their job! On the positive side, spending time with your child learning music is a great gift to them and your whole family. It will result in many happy memories for years to come and you will know you had a significant part in your family’s musical journey. In the future, HKSMI may offer workshops for helpers/nannies to show them the basics of how to practice with your child in an emergency when the primary Suzuki parent is unavailable.

You don’t have a class at a time I can attend? What can I do?

Please notify us and we will put you on our waiting list for when a new class is available. We will do our best to accommodate you as soon as possible.

My child studies at another music school in Hong Kong. Can we switch to HKSMI?

You must speak with the director of HKSMI and it will be handled on a case-by-case basis. To be respectful to our colleagues we prefer that you try to work things out with your current teacher first and only approach us if your current situation is not resolvable.

What is a Media Oasis? Why can’t I check my mobile in class?

In today’s fast paced world it is rare to be able to take time away from our devices. Your lessons are a unique time to focus on your child’s study of music. In-depth study and understanding cannot be properly achieved while checking your phone or other devices. Multi-tasking on media devices is also disrespectful to the teacher. Parents are an integral part of the lesson and must be able to focus on the lesson at hand.

Do I have to make an appointment or can I just drop in?

Please make an appointment as we do not currently have regular opening hours.

My child studies at KinderU Suzuki Music Academy. Can we switch to HKSMI?

Although KinderU and HKSMI are different business entities, the faculty at KinderU are colleagues and friends with the faculty at HKSMI and we have professional mutual respect. Therefore, we encourage families to stay with their current teacher at KinderU. If you are very serious about switching, we require that you first speak to your teacher, then the director of KinderU. From there the directors of the two schools will discuss on a case-by-case basis.

I already have a child studying at HKSMI. Will my other child be given priority?

Yes, siblings of current families will be given priority, however, as we have programs for all ages we encourage you to register your children now in the appropriate group.

How can I be added to the waiting list for when my child is older?

While you may request to be added to the instrumental waiting list for when your child is older, we would encourage you to start your childs musical education now with our Twinkle Toes and Twinkle Fingers infant/toddler music programs. To be added to the wait list you must have attended one of our information sessions.

Contact Us about our 3-STEP Family Music Program

STEP 1: Infant-Toddler Music Program (Ages 0-3) FAQ

What is the difference between STEP 1 and STEP 2?

STEP 1 is a stand-alone early childhood music program which introduces musical concepts to those families with children who are between birth and three years old. It is based primarily on nursery rhymes.

STEP 2 borrows greatly from STEP 1 but starts to shift focus towards preparing the young child for instrumental lessons. Musical concepts and rhythms are refined in this class and each child works towards taking mini-lessons and performing solos with the teacher.

 

Do I have to sing and dance in the class? Can I just watch?

All adults present are expected to join in and sing and dance and enjoy themselves. Dont worry, no musical experience is needed! Very young children idolize their parents and will learn far more by imitating and observing them than by watching a teacher. If the parents are still and quiet, the children will lose attention for the activity at hand.

Is there a CD of the music for the classes?

Yes, there are a CDs for STEP 1 and STEP 3 classes, which can be purchased at HKSMI.

If I am a STEP 1 student am I guaranteed an instrumental lesson place in the STEP 3 program when my child is old enough?

STEP 1 students will be given preferential consideration for STEP 2, the next step in our program. However, placement is subject to availability. We encourage you to take part in the STEP 2 program rather than jump to the STEP 3 instrumental program.

Contact Us about STEP 1

STEP 2: Pre-Violin Program (Age 3) FAQ

What is the difference between STEP 1 and STEP 2?

STEP 1 is a stand-alone early childhood music program which introduces musical concepts to those families with children who are between birth and three years old. It is based primarily on nursery rhymes.

STEP 2 borrows greatly from STEP 1 but starts to shift focus towards preparing the young child for instrumental lessons. Musical concepts and rhythms are refined in this class and each child works towards taking mini-lessons and performing solos with the teacher.

 

If I am a STEP 2 student am I guaranteed an instrumental lesson place when my child is old enough?

STEP 2 students will be given preferential consideration for instrumental lesson places. However, placement is subject to availability.

Do I have to sing and dance in the class? Can I just watch?

All adults present are expected to join in and sing and dance and enjoy themselves. Dont worry, no musical experience is needed! Very young children idolize their parents and will learn far more by imitating and observing them than by watching a teacher. If the parents are still and quiet, the children will lose attention for the activity at hand.

Is there a CD of the music for the classes?

Yes, there are a CDs for STEP 1 and STEP 3 classes, which can be purchased at HKSMI.

If I am a STEP 1 student am I guaranteed an instrumental lesson place in the STEP 3 program when my child is old enough?

STEP 1 students will be given preferential consideration for STEP 2, the next step in our program. However, placement is subject to availability. We encourage you to take part in the STEP 2 program rather than jump to the STEP 3 instrumental program.

Contact Us About STEP 2

STEP 3: Violin/Viola Program (Beginners, Ages 4-7) FAQ

How do I know if my child is ready for instrumental lessons?

A child is ready for instrumental lessons when they can:

  1. Stand reasonably still for a few minutes, focus, and take directions from a teacher. For example, if a teacher asks them to put their right hand on their head they understand and will do so.
  2. Shows an interest in music, preferably the instrument being taught.
  3. Sit quietly for 5-10 minutes and do a quiet activity while another child is learning or the teacher is speaking with the teacher.
  4. Has reasonable fine motor control. Ideally they can move fingers of left hand individually but this can also be developed through lessons.

How do I know if my child is interested in violin or viola?

Violin and viola are very similar. Your teacher will play both frequently so that your child can hear them both. Unfortunately, there are not very small violas available so all young children must start on violin. Once they reach a quarter sized instrument they may switch to an actual viola. At least once a year, there will be a viola week during which all the violins will be tuned as violas to give them young students a chance to experience the sound of viola from their own instrument.

Do your teachers prepare students for music exams or competitions?

No. The Suzuki philosophy is non-competitive.

You could say that the Suzuki philosophy sees a world of people with whom we can cooperate, rather a world of people with whom to compete. At HKSMI we believe that all children should enjoy music for its own sake and the joy it brings to their family, friends, and community.

Therefore, HKSMI teachers will not prepare students for competitions or exams. In competitions there is only one winner.

Do I have to attend all the instrumental masterclass and group lessons?

Yes, parents are an important part of this musical learning process and consistency is key. If you are not at the lesson then you will not be able to help your child practice and learn at home. This will delay your child’s musical development significantly. If, on occasion, you are not able to attend a lesson or group class then you may send your spouse, another relative or friend instead. Kindly notify your teacher in advance. There will also be a swap list available so that you may be able to swap lessons with another student with advance notice.

I’m very busy. Can my helper or nanny go to the lessons instead?

No. No paid persons are allowed to attend master classes or group lessons in Step 2 or 3. It is in the child’s long term interest to bond with, and learn from, their parent. From a practical point of view, helpers/nannies eventually change jobs and if they have been practicing with a child for years it will be impossible for a parent to step in at that point. This situation will usually result in the child stopping their musical education. At HKSMI, we also feel it is too much to ask someone to learn the violin as part of their job! On the positive side, spending time with your child learning music is a great gift to them and your whole family. It will result in many happy memories for years to come and you will know you had a significant part in your family’s musical journey. In the future, HKSMI may offer workshops for helpers/nannies to show them the basics of how to practice with your child in an emergency when the primary Suzuki parent is unavailable.

Can my child have their master class and group class on the same day?

No. Playing music is a very physical endeavour that also takes a lot of concentration. Having a master class and group lesson on the same day is simply too much for a young child.

Do I, as a parent, have to learn to play the violin or viola?

Yes, and sort of. All parents are encouraged to rent or buy a violin or viola for the beginning stages of their child’s study. This allows you to have a experiential understanding of how the instrument works and how better to help your child at home. Plus, you can always say that you learned to play the violin or viola! Parents are not required to continue to play beyond “Twinkle” if they do not wish, however, it can be a huge boost to your child’s musical development if you do learn the technique for subsequent pieces. Don’t worry if you have no musical experience, you will learn at the pace of your child and it will be actually quite easy. For enthusiastic parents who want to continue to learn at their own pace, please speak to the director about adult lessons.

Contact Us about STEP 3