Frequently Asked Questions

Note: “BICS” means the Brussels International Catholic School. “ASB” means the Brussels Suzuki Association. ASB violin group lessons are hosted by BICS but are nevertheless open to non-BICS students. Special conditions for the group lessons apply to BICS students (see Prices and Conditions)

Q: Must I register my child for both single and group lessons?

- Children aged less than 6 may register for group lessons only, although taking single lessons as well is recommended. If you wish to register for group lessons only, please contact the violin section coordinator at alexis.oberreit@suzuki-music-brussels.be

- The Suzuki method normally requires that each child attend both single and group lessons. Therefore, for children aged 6 or more, it is compulsory to complement the group lessons with single lessons. To register for single lessons, please contact directly one of the ASB violin teachers listed on ASB’s website www.suzuki-music-brussels.be, so as to agree on the place, time, duration and price of the lessons.

- Group lessons are compulsory for all single-lesson ASB Suzuki violin pupils up to and including Suzuki Book 4 level. From Book 4 level, single-lesson pupils who can show good reason (e.g. regular participation in an orchestra or choir) may be exempt from group lessons.

- In the case of pupils who are following single violin lessons with a non-ASB teacher and who wish to take part in ASB violin group lessons, registration in the groups only is possible, provided the parent makes sure that there is no significant conflict between the pedagogy and repertoire used in the groups and those used by the single lessons teacher. It is strongly advised, therefore, to seek the single lessons teacher’s advice before registering for the groups.

Q: When and how are INSCRIPTIONS effected?

- The starting date of lessons for new pupils normally begin at the start of Term, i.e. after the Summer holiday, or the Christmas holiday, or the Easter holiday. It is possible for a pupil to begin lessons in mid-term but in that case payment of the group lessons for the full term will still be due. However the Term price of single lessons will usually be adapted by the teacher to take account of the lessons missed because of the late start.

Inscription is through the single lesson teacher or, in the case of pupils registering for group lessons only, through the violin section coordinator. The completed inscription form should be received by the single lessons teacher (with his or her consent) or by the violin section coordinator at least a week before the starting date.

Payment for the group and/or single lessons should be received by ASB at least a week before the starting date, and thereafter before the first lesson of each Term.

Q: What is the MINIMUM AGE for a child to begin lessons? Is there a maximum age?

- The minimum age to begin Suzuki lessons is usually 3 years old, although in some cases beginners have begun even before that.

There is no maximum age, but usually the beginners are between 3 and 6 years old.

The most advanced pupils are usually 16 to 18 years old.

Q: When and where do GROUP LESSONS take place?

- Group lessons take place on Monday evenings at the Brussels International Catholic School's building Etterbeek, neat place Jourdan.

Groups are organised by level according to each pupil’s Suzuki repertoire level. The beginners’ group had its lesson from 17:30 to 18:00. Overall there are lessons from 17:30 to 20:00. The most advanced pupils are taught from 19:00 to 20:00.

Registered pupils are provided with a fully detailed calendar, schedule and a weekly program for the group lessons. If your child is not yet a registered pupil but you wish to come and observe lessons, please contact alexis.oberreit@suzuki-music-brussels.be a few days beforehand to make sure that the lessons will indeed take place on the day when you intend to come and observe.

Q: Must a PARENT accompany the child at each lesson?

- In the Suzuki Method the presence of one of the parents is expected at each lesson, both for group lessons and for single lessons. Only older pupils (aged minimum 8, preferably 12 or more) may come unaccompanied to their lesson. In most cases parents will continue to accompany and help their child up to at least the age of 12.

For group lessons we tolerate children accompanied only by a nanny or other adult and not by their parent.

Q: Are single lessons also available at BICS?

- For BICS students only, single lessons are also available at BICS after school hours. These are given by Dominika Karbowniczek at the school’s Leman building. For more information, please contact dominika.karbowniczek@suzuki-music-brussels.be. See also the Prices and Conditions.

Q: Are there CONCERTS organised for the pupils to play in?

- Yes, ASB organises several violin concerts each year where the pupils play either solo or in groups, as well as one evaluation, with an external jury which is invited to listen to the pupils and give them advice.

Even the youngest beginners can take part in the concerts, if only by demonstrating a concert bow!

Q: What LANGUAGE are the group lessons given in?

- Group lessons are normally given in French, as that is the children's majority language, but all explanations can be repeated in English when necessary. Written communications to the parents are normally made in English, on the assumption that nowadays all adults in Brussels can readily understand English, but will not necessarily understand French.

Q: Should I videotape or otherwise record the lessons?

- It is recommended that the parent take notes or even make a video or audio recording of single lessons, to better inform the home practice.

Q: How can I prepare before starting lessons?

- It is strongly advised, even before registering for lessons, that the parent begin to read Shinichi Suzuki’s book, “Nurtured by Love”, and that the child and parent start listening daily to the CD of Book 1 of the Suzuki Violin Method.

The observation of lessons given to other children is free both before and after effecting the inscription and is highly recommended.

Q: Does ASB lend or rent violins to students?

- We furnish fake violins and bows to the younger beginners, but they will need to acquire a real violin and bow later. We do not furnish the instruments, but we do provide useful addresses for the purchase or rental of violins and bows and of all the necessary accessories (see "Equipment and useful addresses"). Some shops offer reductions for persons carrying an ASB student card.

For further question please contact: alexis.oberreit@suzuki-music-brussels.be