The Suzuki Method is a highly successful method of teaching young children to play a musical instrument.
The Suzuki method is an educational philosophy developed in Japan by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998), a violinist who began teaching young children music in the late 1920s . Following years of research, he demonstrated that learning music utilizes the same skills as language acquisition, thereby showing that young children develop the ability to learn to play music the same way they develop language skills.
The Suzuki method was developed and first practiced in Japan by Dr. Suzuki; it then rapidly spread to other parts of the world as music teachers gained interest in its proven success and began studying it. Today, it has been internationally adapted as an educational philosophy applied to early childhood education as well as music.
Suzuki is a child-centered approach where teacher, student and parent share equal importance. Parent and teacher work together to support the chlds learning through mutual respect, communication and encouragement,
Dr. Shinichi Suzuki spent his life proving that ability is not inborn and that talent can be created. He is remembered for his method of teaching young children so that all develop exceptional talent.
Key Elements in Suzuki Talent Education:
Every Child Can (c) Learn
Creation of an ideal learning environment, not genetics, is the key. All children can be educated because talent is learned, not inborn. Early beginning (age 3-5)
Music education, like speech development, begins at birth. Lessons can start at age three, but it's never too late to begin.
Parents are actively involved in their child’s musical training: they attend all lessons and learn basic playing skills themselves to more fully understand what their child is expected to do. Parents also serve as home teacher, practicing daily with their child. Love, patience, and positive reinforcement are more important than musical experience. Suzuki parents understand the critical importance of their responsibilities in creating the right learning environment and making substantial commitments of time and effort.
Learning in a Positive Environment
Suzuki learning is rooted in mutual respect and positive reinforcement, always fostering a spirit of cooperation, not competition. Parents nurture their children with constant encouragement, offering genuine praise for every small effort and achievement. Enjoyment is an integral part of the learning process. Parents have faith in their child’s ability to learn music like that of a mother’s unconditional belief in her child’s ability to learn to speak.
Beautiful tone is central to Suzuki teaching. Daily immersion in Suzuki repertoire recordings helps children naturally learn their songs while developing memory and musical sensitivity. This creates in their ear an aural learning model as a basis for imitation, and provides a method of learning music independent of visual symbols.
Mastery of small steps
Each skill is broken down into the smallest possible segments that can be easily mastered by the student. Each step is thoroughly mastered before proceeding to the next step to guarantee success in the learning process. Every child learns at his/her own pace.
Constant repetition is essential to developing basic skills when learning to play an instrument. Students use each new musical skill in different ways while gradually expanding their musical repertoire, just as they do when learning to speak language.
Learning with other children
Children participate in regular group lessons and performances in addition to weekly private lessons. Children motivate each other and learn through observation of other students as well as Teacher and Parent.
Dr. Suzuki carefully selected songs which he then arranged by design in a sequential technical and musical progression. This provides motivation to individual players and groups alike and a common, international language shared by students worldwide.
Suzuki students constantly review the repertoire they have learned to reinforce memory, refresh technical skills, and refine musical expression.
Children learn differently, each in his/her own way and at his/her own pace. A Suzuki Teacher’s job is to discover how each child learns and employ methods best suited to the individual.
Delayed music reading
Learning to play music precedes learning to read musical notation just as one learns to speak before learning to read. All Suzuki learning in the early years is by memory with no printed music. Students first learn to play well with proper posture, beautiful tone, and technical skill while they develop physical control and an “ear to hand” connection. Key program components that differ from traditional instruction include:
Significant Parental involvement
Daily listening to Suzuki repertoire recordings
Regular group lessons in addition to weekly private lessons
Four Essential Points for Teachers and Parents
The child should listen to the reference recordings every day at home to develop musical sensitivity. Rapid progress depends on this listening.
Tonalization, the production of beautiful tone, should be stressed in the lesson and at home.
Constant attention should be given to correct posture, proper bow hold, and accurate intonation.
Parents and Teachers should strive to motivate the child so he/she will enjoy practicing at home.