The Suzuki Method
How Your Child Learns
The Suzuki Method
The mother tongue approach. Dr. Suzuki observed that all children have the remarkable ability to speak and understand their native language at a very young age. He observed that not only do children have constant exposure to their native language, but also they are powerfully motivated to learn through interactive with their parents. He reasoned that if children were surrounded by music in the same way that they are surrounded by speech, they would acquire the ability for music as easily. With these ideas in mind, he developed the "mother tongue approach" of talent education.
Parent involvement a keystone. Children start sooner and progress much faster with the parent as home teacher. There are rewards for the parent: stronger bonds with the child, shared joy of accomplishment, and a sense of having made an irreplaceable contribution to the child's development.
Play first, then read. Just as one learns to speak before one learns to read, the students learn to play from memory before they learn to read music notation. This allows the students to enjoy playing earlier, and to concentrate on elementary but essential skills that can be learned quite well without reading.
Listening is fundamental. The child must develop listening skills in order to be able to make self-corrections while learning the other skills needed to play the violin. The Suzuki child's ear is trained for musical sounds through daily listening to the recordings just as it is trained for the nuances of language pronunciation and accent.
How Your Child Learns
Step-by-step mastery. Each piece the student learns demands only a few new skills, yet reinforces those previously learned. The sequence of skills taught is based on a well thought-out progression that is both logical and pedagogically sound.
The private lesson. Although you may first encounter Suzuki students in a group situation, the private weekly lesson is at the heart of the method. Within the basic pedagogical framework provided by the method, the teachers tailor each lesson to the unique needs of the student. Special problems and abilities receive special attention. This might mean, for example, practice drills to address specific technical problems, or daily telephone chats to help students through a difficult period.
Home practice and parent-teaching. As with any approach, daily practice is necessary for progress. The speed of learning is certainly related to the duration and quality of practice time, but the Suzuki method emphasizes parent involvement in daily practice and listening. The parent can help the child focus on the lesson, make corrections to posture, position, fingering, and so on, and otherwise make the practice time a learning experience rather than solitary repetition ("Go to your room and practise!").
Group lessons and fun. Don't be surprised if you see Suzuki students marching single-file around the room while playing, or playing with their bows backwards or while standing on one leg. Group practices are eagerly anticipated because they are fun and motivating. They also provide valuable opportunities to play as part of a group, polish ensemble skills, experience the thrill of performing for an audience, and interact with peers who are also string players.
A 40-year-old revolution. The Suzuki Approach was revolutionary when new but is now taught around the world the hundreds of thousands of students of violin and other instruments
Any child can learn. Suzuki means success because of many unique aspects including:
Beginning at an earlier age (as early as three years)
Developing skills in a positive, non-stressful environment
Progressing at the child's own pace.
Enjoying the learning experience.
Most importantly, Suzuki provides a unique opportunity for the parent to encourage and help the child to grow into a more well-rounded, self-confident individual. Unlike other methods, the mutual Suzuki experience will create new, lasting bonds between the parent and child and provide experiences for both that will be remembered forever.
Suzuki instruction has proven over and over that, just as every child learns to speak the mother tongue, every child, given the opportunity and the proper environment, can learn to play a string instrument.
Give your child a lifetime gift of immeasurable value: the development of musical ability.
Quotes from Dr. Suzuki
All children grow; it depends on how they are raised.
Man is a son of his environment.
Sound breathes life - Without form it lives.
If love is deep
Much can be accomplished.
Wish for beautiful tone