The Suzuki method is a method of learning the violin invented in the mid-twentieth century by Dr. Shin’ichi Suzuki. It can be used for any instrument but the violin that she has the most fields of application.
Origins of Suzuki method
The Suzuki method is a way of learning to play music. It was invented in the mid-20th century by Dr. Shin’ichi Suzuki. Dr. Suzuki noticed that children pick up their native language very quickly and seldom fail to learn it, so he modelled his method, which he called “Talent Education,” after the process of natural language acquisition. Dr Suzuki believed that every child, if properly taught, was capable of a good level of musical achievement.
The method emphasizes playing from a very young age. Scaled down instrument sizes are used for children studying stringed instruments in order to facilitate this.
In the beginning, learning music by ear is emphasized over reading musical notation. The method also encourages, in addition to individual playing, frequent playing in groups (including playing in unison) and frequent public performance, so that playing is so far as possible natural and enjoyable.
Importance of parents in Suzuki method
Another important feature of the method is that the parents of the young student are expected to supervise instrument practice every day (instead of leaving the child to practise alone between lessons) and to attend every lesson so as to be able to supervise the practice effectively. It is not necessary for the parent to be able to play as well as the child (or at all); only that the parent knows from the lessons what the child should be doing and how the child should be doing it.
Currently, many teachers of all backgrounds, invite parents to attend their child’s violin lessons : it allows the child to more easily integrate the remarks of his violin teacher in daily practice sessions, to progress quickly and to remember the advices given by the teacher, parents can be musicians or not, since the goal is to retake with the child what was worked with the teacher on a daily basis.
Suzuki method Vs traditional method
The commonest criticisms of the Suzuki method from traditional teachers are the following:
- Compromise sight reading skills.
- Tend towards rote learning at the expense of individual musicianship although a high degree of early technical ability is thereby produced.
So far as the first criticism is concerned, more sight reading exercises are now incorporated. So far as the second is concerned, the Suzuki method should not compromise individual musical development but should facilitate it, both by providing a sound technical base from an early age, and from encouraging the study of the instrument in the first place.
The Suzuki method can be taught on any instrument, although it is most commonly taught on violin.