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What is the Suzuki method?

ShinichiSuzuki

The Suzuki Method, or Talent Education, is named for its founder the violinist, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki of Japan.  Dr. Suzuki upheld that every child has high ability.  He taught that just as every child learns to speak a native language, so can every child learn to speak –and play and sing, a musical language.  The Suzuki method emphasizes tone, technique and enlists lots of parental involvement.

What will my child learn in piano lessons?

Of course in piano lessons children learn “to play.”  Traditional piano students learn note-reading first, however, Suzuki students learn note-playing first, including all the correct skills and positioning to create beautiful musicality and sensitive artistry.  Learning to play the piano is a study of skills rather than pieces.  Children may learn many important technical skills in piano lessons however they may also learn crucial life skills such as discipline, perseverance, focus, tenacity, grit, productivity, creativity and the list goes on and on.

What can I do to help my child at home?

Ability grows at home; parents/coaches become the home teachers and accept the responsibility of daily practice and listening through genuine praise and consistent repetition.  Combine these two elements and success is rapid and can often surprise adults. Forget this and progress will become slow and arduous. Guilty feelings never produce fine musicianship. 1-be sincerely kind and look for ways to complement your children. 2-allow time to practice daily; consistent short practice times work well. 3- press play so your children can listen to the Suzuki songs (see Listening and Practicing under Policies).  4- correct fingering.  Homework skills are learning notes, fingering and rhythm; teaching these basics is a poor use of our time.  Children can easily learn the notes and rhythm of a piece directly by listening.  Parents and home coaches can correct fingering by looking at the editor’s markings in the music. 5- keep trying.  Of course we expect ups, downs and plateaus but we keep trying.  Keep encouraging and be open to new challenges in order to foster a safe and confident musical environment that children will thrive on.  Allow joy and success to permeate your home.

How do I practice with my child?

Repetition.  Once a child achieves perfection in a particular passage they either repeat it or forget it.  Children are fast learners, but they are also fast forgetters.  Dr. Kataoka stated “listening until we remember is not enough; we must listen until we cannot forget.”  This is true of practice.  Ability is proportionate to repetition.  You have heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect?” This is true only when the practice is perfect.  Allow children to learn musical concepts correctly first and then commit them to memory through repetition.  Don’t worry I’ll help you with lots of ways to make it fun!

What changes can I make to help my child progress?

By repeating an action for a few days nothing whatsoever will happen –certainly not success.  By continuously repeating an action, however, over a period of ten years success certainly will happen. If you’re informal and unscheduled, practice will be too, that is not to say that you cannot change gradually.  Remember success occurs in many small steps rather than one big one (Michiko Yurko), and it is the parents who can make that success a reality for their children.  If your child resents your help change your methods.  Parents with smiling faces have children with smiling faces (Dr. Suzuki). Just as your child imitates their musical recordings and teacher, they will imitate you.  That is why it is so important for parents/coaches to set the environment of learning as enthusiastic, happy and fun.