The Suzuki Method was founded over 50 years ago by the Japanese violinist and educator, 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. He also observed that loving parents encourage and reinforce their children’s efforts to learn their language.
The Suzuki method applies these same principles to the study of a musical instrument. This method of learning is called the Mother Tongue Method.
In the Suzuki approach the emphasis is placed on learning to play by ear. Recordings of the current pieces the student is learning are played daily at home. The student becomes familiar and comfortable with what they hear regularly and will begin to develop a “musical memory” of pieces played repeatedly. Once a piece is memorized in this way the student will soon be able to reproduce it on the piano or instrument of study.
The Suzuki Philosophy
- Every child can learn
- Ability develops early
- Environment nurtures growth
- Children learn from one another
- Success breeds success
- Parental involvement is critical
- Encouragement is essential
Dr. Suzuki’s main goals for the child were 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.
“If love is deep, much can be accomplished.” Shinichi Suzuki
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 he/she understands what the child is expected to do.
In general, the younger the child the more involved the parent must be. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.
The Suzuki Piano Student
- Attends weekly private lessons as well as regularly scheduled group performance classes
- Listens daily to the recording of the pieces he/she is learning
- Has access to a good quality acoustic piano (electric keyboards are not recommended)
- Practises daily
- Accepts gentle direction at home from a parent who also attends the lesson
- Can begin as early as 3 years but is never too old to start
Why choose the Suzuki Method?
- The Suzuki Method ensures students develop the ability to play by ear.
- Developing the ear increases a child’s ability to listen. The ability to listen increases attention span which is an invaluable asset to learning in school or otherwise.
- Learning to play by ear enables a student to learn more advanced pieces earlier on because the brain is not engaged in the complex process of reading music. This becomes a great source of motivation.
- Having a good ear is the single most important factor in being a great musician. Although music reading is an essential musical skill many great musicians do not read music.
- For some children the process of learning to read music can be so frustrating that they quit the instrument before ever having experienced the joy of playing.