The main concern for parents should be to bring up their children as noble human beings. That is sufficient. If this is not their greatest hope, in the end the child may take a road contrary to their expectations. Children can play very well. We must try to make them splendid in mind and heart also. —Shinichi Suzuki
The Suzuki instructors at PCS are experienced teachers who themselves were taught using the Suzuki method when they were students. Our qualified instructors have gone on to pursue not only Pedagogy degrees, but also further training in the Suzuki method.
Why Choose the Suzuki Method
The Suzuki method is particularly well-suited for younger beginners whose parents are interested in actively participating in the weekly lessons and in daily practice at home.
The teacher and parent have equally important roles in the success of each child’s experience with the Suzuki method. By attending all lessons, supervising daily listening, and practicing with the student, the parent is an active participant in the learning process. The teacher, student, and parent form an all-important “triangle” of learning to support the child’s musical growth.
Getting started in Suzuki lessons at PCS
To help students and parents get started in Suzuki lessons, we offer introductory group classes throughout the year. Of course, students can begin private lessons at any time. Simply call the office at 232-5010 or register online to get started. If you’re not sure whether to choose the Suzuki lessons or traditional lessons, you may find the following information from the Suzuki Association of the Americas to be helpful. You are also welcome to give us a call so that we can answer your questions and offer some suggestions.
How the Suzuki Method differs in its approach from traditional lessons
Thoughtful teachers have often used some of the elements listed here, but Suzuki has formulated them in a cohesive approach. Some basic differences are:
- Suzuki teachers believe that musical ability can be developed in all children.
- Students begin at young ages.
- Parents play an active role in the learning process.
- Children become comfortable with the instrument before learning to read music.
- Technique is taught in the context of pieces rather than through dry technical exercises.
- Pieces are refined through constant review.
- Students perform frequently, individually and in groups.
THE SUZUKI APPROACH
Every Child Can Learn
More than fifty years ago, Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother-tongue approach. The ideas of parent responsibility, loving encouragement, constant repetition, etc., are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach.
As when a child learns to talk, parents are involved in the musical learning of their child. They attend lessons with the child and serve as “home teachers” during the week. One parent often learns to play before the child, so that s/he understands what the child is expected to do. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.
The early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to music should begin at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four, but it is never too late to begin.
Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Listening to music every day is important, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the child knows them immediately.
Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument. Children do not learn a word or piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.
As with language, the child’s effort to learn an instrument should be met with sincere praise and encouragement. Each child learns at his/her own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered. Children are also encouraged to support each other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.
Learning with Other Children
In addition to private lessons, children participate in regular group lessons and performance at which they learn from an are motivated by each other.
Children do not practice exercises to learn to talk, but use language for its natural purpose of communication and self-expression. Pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are designed to present technical problems to be learned in the context of the music rather than through dry technical exercises.
Children learn to read after their ability to talk has been well established. In the same way, children should develop basic technical competence on their instruments before being taught to read music.
The Suzuki Twinkler is a copyrighted publication of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc. © 1998.