Suzuki Method Lessons
The Suzuki Method has three main components: a philosophy of education, a progressive curriculum common to all students, and gentle, positive techniques that flow from the philosophy.
Dr. Suzuki's philosophy and observations state that the environment, rather than genetic background, will determine the success or failure of the student. He observed that every child learns his or her native tongue in the first few years of life by listening to and imitating the mother's voice. Dr. Suzuki calls this the "mother tongue" approach to learning. We now know that the same process can be used to teach music.
Technical skills are broken down into the smallest possible steps so that information is introduced in a way that is understood by both parent and child. Suzuki teachers employ the concept of one-point teaching. We will focus on only one technique at a time so that we do not overwhelm the child with instructions about several different things at once.
The curriculum of the Suzuki Method is slightly different for each of the instruments studied. Each instrument has a well-considered anthology of classical music that spans several volumes of music. All students begin with Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and end with a major concerto from the classical music period. If it is true that "everything in music is preparation" (Gerhart Zimmermann), then the genius of Suzuki is truly expressed in the scope and sequencing of the music in his carefully planned method.
We want to capitalize on the child's ability to absorb sounds in the early developmental years before age six, so formal instruction may begin as early as age three. If we begin lessons this early, then clearly we must invite the aid of a parent as an assistant teacher to help guide the child in practice at home. This strong partnership of parent, teacher, and child is often referred to as the Suzuki Triangle.
When a child learns to talk, parents are involved in the process with their child. In the Suzuki Method, parents attend lessons with the child and serve as “home teachers” during the week. Previous musical knowledge from the parent is not at all required, however, as the teacher ensures that parents understand all unfamiliar technical and musical concepts. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.
Since the method is based on the mother tongue approach to learning, the use of reference recordings is essential to the progress of all students. Daily listening to recordings of the pieces to be studied helps the child to learn the melodies and to hear how good violin tone sounds. Listening also aids in developing accurate pitch and rhythmic pulse.
Group classes are designed to allow children to share their music with others, while we reinforce important skills introduced at the private lesson. Another function of the group experience is to learn how to play together. The social benefits of group classes are a tremendous aid in the motivation to practice at home. As we return to the idea of learning by the mother tongue approach, remember that a child does not discard the first words learned but continues to use them over and over as new words are added to the vocabulary. Suzuki students keep the original pieces learned in their repertoire, reviewing them daily to perfect those skills, which are then used again and again in the subsequent pieces.
For even more information about the Suzuki Method, use the link below to visit the Suzuki Association of the Americas website: