The Suzuki Method

Learning Method (from SAO website)

The Suzuki Method was founded over fifty years ago by the Japanese violinist Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. He observed that young children all over the world speak their mother tongue naturally and easily, just by hearing the sounds and rhythms of the language in their environment. Loving parents encourage and reinforce their children’s efforts to learn their language. The Suzuki method applies these same principles to develop the whole child through the study of a musical instrument.

The method has been developed for violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, flute, harp, guitar, recorder, voice, and Early Childhood. Listening to recordings of the repertoire to be learned, as well as other fine music exposes young children to an environment of music at home. Children are motivated to learn when they live in an environment where music is present and they see other students their age performing and having lessons. Suzuki teachers are trained to establish a studio environment where children can learn at their own pace.

Teaching Method

Establish a working relationship: An atmosphere of mutual respect and courteous behaviour will create a good environment for learning. All three members of the Suzuki “triangle”, child, parent and teacher, need to make this respect evident in their relationships in lessons at home and in the studio. Respect for the child will be reflected in our attentiveness and sensitivity to his or her feelings as well as our awareness of realistic levels of expectation. Both child and teacher will show their respect for parents by listening to what they have to say and being aware of their feelings and efforts. Respect for the teacher will be apparent in coming to lessons on time as well as being prepared and attentive. Much time in the early lessons may be spent working on these intangibles; it will be time well spent.

Posture: The teacher will strive to develop good playing form in the child from the very first lesson. Sitting position and the proper placement of all parts of the body in relation to the instrument will be carefully taught. Tone, phrasing, facility with left and right hands, and advanced techniques all depend on good posture.

Tone: The teacher will work with the child from the earliest lessons to produce a full, rich tone.  A heavy, big tone can be refined as the child’s muscles and ears develop, but a weak tone is much more limiting.

Listening: From the first lessons the child is asked to listen, play, listen, play, imitating not only the note or rhythm but the sound quality as well. The achievement of beautiful tone is dependent upon the child’s ability to recognize subtle variations in tone quality. Sensitive musical phrasing and good rhythmic sense can only come if the child really hears exactly the sounds he or she is making.

Practice Habits: Teachers and parents try from the first lesson to motivate children to practice regularly, carefully and productively. The importance of habits established in the early weeks cannot be over-estimated. Good teaching will aim to create the result of the teacher no longer being necessary.

Musicality: With attention to the basics listed above, musical sensitivity and the ability to make beautiful music will be achieved. Children who are respected and encouraged, who are nurtured in a rich musical environment and surrounded by a community of adults and children who are working together towards high standards will play with heart as well as technique.

Why is it so Powerful?

Suzuki teaching is based on a philosophy of respect for the child. Dr. Suzuki has said talent is not inherited and the potential of every child is unlimited. All children are respected as unique human beings and they are capable of developing their musical abilities as well as they develop their linguistic abilities. Dr. Suzuki’s main goals are for the child to build a noble soul, to develop an appreciation of beauty, to give a sense of purpose to life, to learn the discipline of acquiring a skill and to become a fine human being. Dr. Suzuki called it Talent Education. He believed that with the proper education and environment, every child can learn. Talent can be learned, ability can be developed, and just as each child learns to speak his native language, he can learn a musical skill through the Mother Tongue approach.

Nena’s Philosophy

Suzuki teachers place particular emphasis in the early years on certain aspects of musical training. A slow, careful start is essential, parents should not try to hurry through the first stages. In the long run it is much better to take the time necessary to establish a good learning environment and to build a solid foundation than to be faced with remedial work later on.