Suzuki For Life
"Teaching music is not my main purpose," Suzuki said.
"I want to make good citizens — noble human beings. If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth, and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance."
What Is Suzuki Method?
As of 2022, Suzuki method is a worldly recognized method, but it had a humble beginning…
In 1945, more than 75 years ago, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki founded Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. In 1930s, Dr. Suzuki taught at the Imperial Conservatory, a former Tokyo University of Arts before, but he wanted to start teaching young children. One day, long before Neuroscientists discovered how a day old new born baby uses music part of brain to process their parents’ talking, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki had an eureka moment to understand that every child could learn language with 100% success rate and if we would immerse children to violin music like language, every child could play the violin. His approach is that talent is learned, and every child can be educated, and environment is the key.
Some parents come to me and say, “ I do not play the violin. I am not a musician. Can my child still learn to play the violin?” The answer is YES! Every Suzuki Method Books comes with a CD or you can just download music (Google Alfred Music and search Suzuki Violin Music in their website.) and you can start playing them now. Just imagine music learning as a language learning – it takes lots of listening, lots of repetition even before a child mutter a word. These recordings for the Suzuki program is made by world class violinists as Hillary Hahn and they create the best aural model in the child’s ear. Also, you can frequently play classical music softly as a background, particularly during your child waking hours. You can take them to live concerts. You can bring children to a group class and observe. The possibility is endless! You do not have to be a musician.
So, when do you start?
You child is absorbing everything from the moment they were born, or even before they were born. I would recommend listening to the classical music from the day 1, or even when you just found about your pregnancy!
At age 3-5 is ideal because they are more neurologically receptive to aural learning, loves repetition, like to imitate adults. And they have far more time to listening and practicing than school age children. While the talent is something we can learn, more quantity of practice brings faster learning.
In Suzuki method, we believe not only Students, but Parents plays an important role. Teacher, Student and Parents form a sturdy tripod. We need each other to support so we can all grow with your child. Teacher and Parents both mindfully provide loving, encouraging environment. My former boss was surprised when a 4 year old student squealed with joy when she came to my lesson. He was wondering why my students were not sullen. Why? Because I am here to support a whole person, wherever they are. A child who draws a picture with a smiley face with legs growing directly from smiley? Yes! That is a precious expression they can only make when they are young. There is music only 4 year old can make, only in that moment. Let’s celebrate. At the early stage especially, I make steps smaller, so child has an easier time to succeed. I am here to celebrate every step of their accomplishment with you.
Also, in group classes, you will meet other Parents and Students! Now we can make a Suzuki village to celebrate our growth together! It takes a village to raise a child. Let’s encourage each other, let’s applause louder for each other’s progress.
When I started teaching the violin at the age of 24, right after graduating from a college, I was just a teacher, I was so called “traditional teacher” with a flavor of Suzuki due to my Suzuki upbringing. Back then, I was not trained in the Suzuki Method. I did not even think about helping Parents at home. I regarded that home practice is something that parent should deal with, not me. ( I am so sorry!) Now I am a Suzuki teacher, a mom of two, I know that all of us learn to become parents. Being a home teacher is also a learned skill, like parenting. Everyday is a new challenge. I am here to help you figure out your own style which suits your own child and build a strong relationship with your child. Trust me, though I feed the same foods to my kids, they are opposite! They are all unique and so you are.
Teacher’s responsibilities with Parents:
- Educating the parent as home teacher
- Suggesting how to practice, listen to the recordings, take notes
- Affirming and encouraging the parents’ role
- Playing the recordings
- Attending lessons and taking notes, keep practice log
- Attending students recitals, group lessons, workshops
- Practicing with the child, being a home teacher
- Becoming aware of how the child learns
- Observing and learning from other children’s lessons.
When does my child learn to read music?
I first want to make sure your child can hold the instrument correctly, stand correctly, can play some easy tunes first from ear and produce good pitch and good tone. That being said, instead of note reading, I include easy exercises for dictation, which the Teacher plays a note and and Students play back, sing back, or tell the name of the notes) to prepare note reading from the beginning.