What is the Suzuki Method?

The Suzuki Method was created by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki as a method that could be used to teach all children to play the violin. He thought that if all children can learn to speak their native language they must also be able to learn to play music if given a similar immersive environment.  His theory has become a well-developed method for several musical instruments besides just violin, having been proven again and again throughout the world for decades.

What makes Suzuki different from other methods?

The Suzuki Method is based on the premise that every child can learn to play music.  There are no auditions, tests or talent evaluations before beginning lessons.  Instead, children of all backgrounds and abilities are welcome to come and learn together in a musical community that is immersive, the same way they learned to speak as a small child.

The Suzuki Triangle

IMG_2256.jpgIt takes a whole community to help develop a child as a musician.  While the student and the teacher are obviously essential to the process, it is the parents who are the third side of the triangle.  A parent's involvement in their child's learning is crucial.  Parents are responsible for coming to lessons with their child, taking notes so they can repeat the lesson at home and providing opportunities for listening to music on a regular basis.  In recent years, a 4th side has been added to make the triangle into a pyramid.  This 4th side is the students' peers.  This side can be especially important when a child does not have a family situation that allows for parental participation.

Why are group lessons important?

While private lessons are when a student gets the individual attention of their teacher, group lessons is where so many musical skills are developed and practiced.  Group class gives students a chance to play music with other kids, developing their sense of timing, spacial awareness, intonation and so much more.  It is also where our  community comes together to share music.  Essentially, the group class is the whole point!

Why do Suzuki students learn to play before they learn to read music?

Children learn to speak long before they learn to read.  The Suzuki Method applies this same principal to learning music.  Children will learn by ear before they start to learn to read musical notation.  This develops strong aural skills and an understanding of music theory that is based in what they are hearing and not just what is on the page.  By the time they are introduced to reading musical notation, their technical and musical skills will be established so they will better understand what they are seeing on the page.