What is the Suzuki Method Anyhow?
Practice makes perfect!
If you’ve started to look into violin lessons for your child, chances are you’ve come across plenty of people talking about the “Suzuki Method.” What in the heck is the Suzuki Method?
The Suzuki Method is named for its originator, Shin’ishi Suzuki, a Japanese violinist, who created a way of teaching the violin. The basic idea behind the Suzuki Method comes from the idea that children have an amazing capacity to learn language. Suzuki noticed that young children quickly and easily picked up new languages, whereas it tended to be much more difficult for older people. He reasoned that because learning to play music is much like learning to speak a new language, children could become proficient at violin if taught properly.
The Suzuki Method emphasizes a number of points that play into this idea:
- Immersion Into a Musical Community
Just like language can be learned through immersion, the Suzuki Method emphasizes listening to high-caliber music from a young age, and having a support structure of other musicians around the student.
- Learning From a Young Age
Every child is different, and we believe that age minimums help to make sure children are ready to have fun and get the most out of their lessons, but the Suzuki method emphasizes starting to learn music from a young age. Just like younger kids learn language easier than older children, the idea is that the basics of music and technique become second nature when they’ve been learned from a very young age.
- Learning By Ear First
This is another idea influenced by Suzuki’s language studies. Just like children learn to speak before learning to read and write, the Suzuki Method has its youngest students learn to hear and “speak” (play by mimicking) before introducing the written musical language.
- Frequent Performance
Anything we do becomes less stressful with repetition and practice. People are often afraid of public speaking, but those who speak in public often become skilled. Likewise, performing often helps students become comfortable with their own musical “voice.”
Of course, the Suzuki method isn’t the only method for teaching violin (or other instruments) and there are many other fantastic curriculums out there. The way we look at it, some teachers get through to certain students better than others. The Suzuki method is a great teacher, but it’s another tool for helping students find a love of music, just like any other.