The Suzuki Method
The Suzuki Method is a wonderful way to teach very young children how to play an instrument. Suzuki teachers go through extensive training that gives them the tools needed to teach young children according to the way they learn best. Even though it is especially well-suited to young children, older children and adults can reap the benefits of a Suzuki Music education. Below is some information about Dr Suzuki and his method. For more information about The Suzuki Method please go to http://www.suzukimusic.org.au/ or contact me.
Dr Suzuki and his philosophy
Dr Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998) played the violin and taught it to many children (and adults) over many years. In a moment of insight, he realised that all children learn to speak their own language easily and fluently, everywhere in the world. He noticed that this happened because of the child’s environment. They learnt the language that was spoken to them every day by their parents and others and heard it spoken everywhere around them. This is why the Suzuki Method is also referred to as the Mother Tongue Approach. He realised if all children could learn to speak their Mother Tongue in this way, then they could also learn to play a musical instrument by creating a similar learning environment. He strongly believed that any child could develop musical ability and that this ability was not inborn. The Suzuki philosophy is very much summed up in his much-quoted premise:
“Character first – ability second”
Dr Shinichi Suzuki
The Suzuki Method is not about learning pieces. It is about developing a child’s character through the study of music. The key elements that make this method work are: listening, repetition, step by step mastery, motivation, memory, vocabulary, parental involvement and love. They are the same principles that are at work when learning to speak. Just as children speak before reading or writing, they learn to hold their instrument and play their pieces fluently by memory before focusing on reading musical notation. Similar to learning new vocabulary, when new pieces are learnt they are ‘added on’ to the well-learnt pieces. As with language we do not stop using learnt vocabulary when adding new words. Probably the most important factor is the love and constant encouragement of the parent and the close working relationship between the parent, teacher and child.