The Suzuki Method was developed by Japanese violinist, Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998) and has been taught in the United States for over 50 years. The philosophy is based on the following core principals:
Every Child Can - Suzuki based his approach on the belief that “Musical ability is not an inborn talent but an ability which can be developed. Any child who is properly trained can develop musical ability, just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. The potential of every child is unlimited.” Dr. Suzuki’s goal was not simply to develop professional musicians, but to nurture loving human beings and help develop each child’s character through the study of music.
Mother-Tongue Approach - Suzuki believed that all children can learn music just as all children learn to speak their native language. Children spend the first year of their lives listening to their parents speak, then saying small sounds, then put sounds together to form words and eventually, after countless repetition and practice, learn to speak full sentences. In much the same way, children learn to play an instrument.
Parental Involvement - The parent is the most important and influential person in a young child's life. Therefore, the parent is the student's primary teacher. In the Suzuki Method, parents learn the basic skills of the instrument along with their child in order to be the "home teacher" throughout the week. Each small success of the student is met with praise and encouragement from both the teacher and parent, promoting a warm nurturing environment that inspires the child. This parental involvement fosters an intense, loving bond between the parent and child that grows stronger over the years.
Community - Students play music with their peers in a weekly group class. Group classes provide the opportunity for children to learn from each other, be inspired by other children, learn how to play as a group and how to follow a leader. Cooperation, encouragement, and good social behavior are taught organically. Group classes provide parents with the opportunity to meet other families, swap ideas, and build a musical network.
Private Lesson - Each student will receive a 30, 45, or 60 minute private lesson depending on age and level. In the private lesson, the teacher teaches the student the fundamentals of playing their instrument as well as music theory in an engaging and developmentally appropriate manner. The parent participates actively in all lessons, taking notes and engaging with the teacher forming what is known as The Suzuki Triangle - teacher, student, parent. Parents are given the tools with which to practice daily with their child and help their child achieve the goals the teacher has set forth.
Group Class - All students are required to attend a weekly group class. Students are placed in group classes along with other students who are at a similar level. In group class, the students play games to reinforce techniques, play current and review pieces, perform for each other, and work on ensemble skills. The group class provides the social element that is fundamental to music making allowing students to form bonds with other children.
Listening - Daily listening is a fundamental part of the Suzuki method. Children learn to speak by listening to the people around them and imitating what they hear. Children learn to play music in the same way. We would never expect a baby to learn to speak by reading the words on a page, so we must provide the same listening opportunities for music that children have for speech.
Daily Practice - Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument. The teacher will give the parent many ideas in which to make practice a fun and enjoyable experience.
Performances - One of the most fun and motivating aspects of playing an instrument is performing. Many performance opportunities are given to students ranging from casual get-togethers with friends to formal concerts and recitals.