The Suzuki Method

I want to make good citizens. If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.
— Shin'ichi Suzuki, Nurtured By Love

The Suzuki Method was conceived in the mid-20th century by Suzuki, a Japanese violinist who desired to bring beauty to the lives of children in his country after the devastation of World War II. As a skilled violinist but a beginner at the German language who struggled to learn it, Suzuki noticed that children pick up their native language quickly, whereas adults consider even dialects "difficult" to learn which are spoken with ease by children at age five or six. He reasoned that if children have the skill to acquire their native language, they have the necessary ability to become proficient on a musical instrument.

He pioneered the idea that preschool age children could learn to play the violin if the learning steps were small enough and the instrument was scaled down to fit their body. He modeled his method, which he called "Talent Education" (才能教育, sainō kyōiku), after his theories of natural language acquisition. Suzuki believed that every child, if properly taught, was capable of a high level of musical achievement. He also made it clear that the goal of such musical education was to raise generations of children with "noble hearts" (as opposed to creating famous musical prodigies).


...all children can be well educated...
— Shin'ichi Suzuki

[citation needed]

The central belief of Suzuki, based on his language acquisition theories, is that all people can (and will) learn from their environment. The essential components of his method spring from the desire to create the "right environment" for learning music (he believed that this positive environment would also help to foster excellent character in every student). These components include:

Saturation in the musical community.

This includes attending local classical music concerts, developing friendships with other music students, and listening to recordings of professional musicians in the home every day, starting before birth if possible.

Deliberate avoidance of musical aptitude tests or auditions to begin music study.

Suzuki believed that teachers who test for musical aptitude before taking students, or who look only for "talented" students, are limiting themselves to people who have already started their music education. Just as every child is expected to learn their native language, Suzuki expected every child to be able to learn to play music.

Emphasis on playing from a very young age,

typically starting formal instruction between the ages of three and five years old. (See Technique).

Using well-trained teachers.

Suzuki believed in training musicians not only to be better musicians but also to be better teachers. Suzuki Associations worldwide offer ongoing teacher-training programs to prospective and continuing Suzuki teachers.

In the beginning, learning music by ear is emphasized over reading written musical notation.

Suzuki observed that children speak before learning to read, and thought that children should also be able to play music before learning to read. To support learning by ear, students are expected to listen to recordings of the music they are learning daily. Other methods—such as Simply Music, the Gordon Music Learning Theory, and Conversational Solfège—have students playing before reading notes, but may not have the same focus on daily listening and learning by ear.

Memorization of all solo repertoire is expected.

The focus on memorization continues even after a student begins to use sheet music to learn new pieces.

Music theory and note reading are left to the teacher.

The Suzuki method does not include a formal plan or prescribe specific materials for introducing music theory & reading, in part because Suzuki created the method in a culture where music literacy was routinely taught in schools.

Regular playing in groups (including playing pieces in unison) is strongly encouraged.
Retaining and reviewing every piece of music ever learned is also strongly encouraged.

This is intended to raise technical and musical ability. Review pieces, along with "preview" parts of music a student is yet to learn, are often used in place of the more traditional etude books. Traditional etudes and technical studies are not used in the beginning stages, which focus almost exclusively on a set of performance pieces.

Frequent public performance makes performing feel like a natural and enjoyable part of being a musician.

The method discourages competitive attitudes between players, and advocates collaboration and mutual encouragement for those of every ability and level. However, this does not mean the elimination of auditions or evaluations of student performances. (This statement contradicts the second bullet in this section: “Deliberate avoidance of musical aptitude tests or auditions to begin music study . ”, the two statements, if both true, should be clarified and perhaps brought closer together to better explain the distinction.)

The parent of the young student is expected to supervise instrument practice every day, instead of leaving the child to practice alone between lessons, and to attend and take notes at every lesson so they can coach the student effectively. This element of the method is so prominent that a newspaper article once dubbed it "The Mom-Centric Method."[1]

(Source: Wikipedia)

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New Suzuki Workshop date: April 23-25, 2021 - Jaap Delver Suzuki Recorder Education

New Suzuki Workshop date: April 23-25, 2021

27 May 2020 - Registration open: Suzuki Workshop June 26-28 Delayed - new date: April 23-25 April 2021... read more »

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