Another elegant solution, one that brings together many of the principles of the Suzuki method together is the concept of a “Million Dollar Lesson.”
I was introduced to the idea of the Million Dollar Lesson in my teacher training with Ed Kreitman. When asked how he handles disrespectful behavior in the lesson, he told us about the Million Dollar Lesson and described how it functions in his studio.
Kreitman knows that the value of violin lessons is not in each discreet meeting of teacher/student/parent, but in the long, uninterrupted string of lessons over many years together. One of those discrete lessons must sometimes be used, in the wholistic arc of education, to inform the way a child or parent behaves in the rest of the lessons. On this lesson day the goal is not to pack as much violin instruction into 30 minutes as possible, but to make a short but lasting impact on the student.
If a child crosses your boundaries, and it is obvious the lesson is not a productive one, lean over to the parent and say, “Oh, I think this is our Million Dollar Lesson day.” Stand up, tell the child their behavior was unacceptable, and take a bow to end the lesson.
What will happen at this point (in my experience), is that sh*t will hit the fan. [Read more…]