Suzuki Method Piano
Developing the Whole Child
The Suzuki approach deals with much more than teaching a child how to play an instrument. It seeks to develop the whole child, to help unfold his natural potential to learn and become a good and happy person. The purpose of Suzuki training is not to produce great artists, but to help every child to find the joy that comes through music-making.
The Suzuki Approach
The Suzuki approach, based on the so-called “mother-tongue” method, differs from traditional methods of teaching instrumental music because it involves the student at a very early age, thus necessitating much participation on the part of the parent (usually the mother) in the role of home-teacher. Older students and even adults can also benefit from this method of instruction. Some of the basic principles and ingredients of the Suzuki approach are:
1. Begin as early as possible. Formal training may be started by age 4.2. Move in small steps so the child can master the material with a total sense of success, thereby building his confidence and enthusiasm for learning. Each child progresses at his own pace.
3. An adult usually attends all lessons so that they understand the learning process, and can feel secure when working with the child as home-teacher. The most important single ingredient for success is the parent’s willingness to devote regular time to work closely with the child and the teacher.
4. Daily listening to recordings of the Suzuki repertoire is the nucleus of the Suzuki approach. The more the student listens to their recordings, the more quickly they learn. This approach derives from the way all normal children learn to speak their native language.
5. Postpone music reading until the child’s aural and instrumental skills are well established, just as we teach children to read a language only after they can speak.
6. Follow the Suzuki repertory sequence, for the most part, so that each piece becomes a building block for the careful development of technique. Constant repetition of the old pieces in a student’s repertoire is the secret of the performing ability of Suzuki students.
7. Create in lessons and home practice an enjoyable learning environment, so that much of the child’s motivation comes from enthusiasm for learning and desire to please.
8. Performances are valuable aids to motivation. The child learns from their peers possibly more than he does from his adult teacher directly – children love to do what they see other children do. The honors recitals, Christmas, and Spring recitals are most beneficial.
9. Foster an attitude of cooperation not competition among students, of supportiveness for each other’s accomplishments.