FAQ’s : Some commonly asked questions about the Suzuki Method™

"What is Suzuki?"

Suzuki is a positive, specialized method of developing musical ability in youngsters.  Based on the principles of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki of Japan, it has been proven that all children can develop their inherent musical abilities the way they learn to speak; through listening, repetition, and a rich motivational environment created by the parents.

Dr. Suzuki's primary goal was to help every child achieve his or her highest potential while fostering a sense of self-worth and sensitivity to others.

"Why the Suzuki Method™?"

In general, since the parent is actively involved in the learning process, a wonderful exchange takes place during lessons, observation periods, and at home.  Children learn about much more than their instrument.  Experiencing the joy of music, aided by a trained Suzuki instructor, is what Suzuki is all about.

Specifically, children who pursue the Suzuki method are at an advantage because they learn skills that will help them all their lives.  These skills include listening, concentrating, focusing, and problem solving in a step-by-step approach.

"I have heard that Suzuki students don't read music.  Is this true?"

Suzuki students do learn to read music.  The Suzuki Method™ is also referred to as the "mother-tongue" method.  All students learn the language of music the way they learned to speak their native tongue; by firstlistening and then imitating what they hear. All children in the world are able to speak long before they acquire reading and writing skills.

Once Suzuki students have learned to "speak" their musical language through sound production on an instrument, they are taught to read and write music.  In musical language as in the spoken language, reading and writing skills develop at an independent rate.

"Why is the parent actively involved?"

Dr. Suzuki believed that because children learn musical ability the way they learn to speak, the parent is an integral part of the learning process.  The parent attends all lessons and assumes the role of home teacher on a daily basis, helping to guide the progress of the child.  In this way, the parent is an equally important part of the parent/teacher/child relationship.

Why does the Suzuki Method™ work?

An Early Start - The best time for children to begin musical training is between the ages of four and eight - the most flexible age - when the brain is growing the fastest and absorbs the most.  Pre-exposure (listening to recordings, attending lessons, classes and concerts) may be started much earlier.

The Postponement of Note Reading - In the Suzuki Method, children learn to play by imitating the recorded pieces that they listen to every day.  This follows the same procedure by which children learn to speak their native language.  A child learns to play the instrument, mastering many of its technical aspects first, and learns note reading later, just as he learns to speak his native language before he reads.

Parental Participation - Many parents are attracted to Suzuki study because they value spending quality time with their child(ren), and understand that they will have many opportunities to enjoy, teach and nurture their child(ren) in meaningful ways.  The parent’s level of involvement, and the environment they create in the home, has a direct impact upon the success of the Suzuki Method.

Mastering Each Step - A slow, careful beginning is essential in any method; each step must be thoroughly mastered before moving on to the next.  Every step, no matter how small, is recognized as an achievement.  Success builds success!

In speaking their mother tongue, children never forget their first words; likewise, Suzuki-trained students are able to perform any of the pieces they have learned at any time.  They perform with poise and confidence, since they have participated in group classes and concerts from the beginning of their music study.

More Than Music - Suzuki-trained students develop musical sensitivity, memory, discipline, endurance, coordination and self-confidence as well as a life-long appreciation of classical music.  Suzuki families find their lives enriched in many ways, musically and otherwise, due to the establishment of a positive environment full of encouragement and praise.

The teacher, parent and child work very closely together.  While lovingly correcting inaccuracies, Suzuki teachers and parents always urge children to continually strive for beautiful sound but, at the same time, are more concerned with the student’s total self development than with turning out expert musical performers.

In conclusionThe Suzuki Approach is much more than teaching a child how to play an instrument.  It seeks to develop the whole child and unfold his natural potential to learn.  The purpose of Suzuki training is not to produce great artists, but to help every child find the joy that comes through making music.  Through the Suzuki growing process, children thrive in a total environment of support; they develop poise, confidence and self esteem, the determination to try difficult things, self-discipline and concentration, as well as a lasting enjoyment of music, and the sensitivity and skill for making music.