"Where love is deep, much can be accomplished."
Suzuki method requires that the student have an adult who participates in every lesson and practice session with them. This person is often referred to as the "practice partner," and is vital to the success of the student. The participating adult does not need to have any prior musical experience.
Complex ideas and skills are broken down into very small steps, and each step is mastered before moving on to the next. Students learn by observing, imitating, and then repeating every technique and piece, so that ownership of the skill can develop.
Using a "mother tongue approach," Dr. Suzuki realized that children could learn music the same way that they learn their spoken language: by listening, trying simple sounds, and gradually building into a fluent speaker of something so complex. Similarly, Suzuki students are expected to listen to a recording of their repertoire daily, so that they may become fluent in the language of music.
Suzuki method uses positive encouragement and specific feedback to nurture the child in a loving environment. This rewarding environment creates an enthusiastic learning experience for the student and parent.
Every Child Can
Suzuki believed that every child had the ability to learn music, regardless of whether or not they were born with "talent." The Suzuki approach is a whole-child approach, and works to grow the child into a "noble human being," as well as building musical ability. The skills acquired in a child's Suzuki lessons often spill over to every area of their lives. In addition to a musical education, Suzuki students learn creative problem solving, teamwork and leadership skills, how to work independently, how to prioritize, and other important life skills that will serve them regardless of whether or not they someday choose a career in music.
A child is never too young to begin Suzuki instruction! From ages 0-3 years, we teach a Suzuki Early Childhood Education class. Instrumental instruction often begins between the ages of 4-8 years old.
Suzuki students grow up in a community and participate in group classes. For children in the Suzuki Early Childhood Education program, the group class is their learning environment, where they can learn from each other as well as the adults in the room. For students in the instrumental programs, the group classes provide an environment where students can learn, experiment, perform, lead, and follow together. It gives them skills that prepare them for orchestra and chamber music. Participating in a group setting is highly motivational for students, and is often the reason that students continue to enjoy playing through the years. Adult practice partners are expected to be present for group classes.
Students who are 4 years or older participate in weekly individual lessons. The lessons are about 30, 45, or 60 minutes long, depending on the age and ability of the student. The student's adult "practice partner" is required at every lesson, where they take notes and learn what needs to be duplicated for the practice each day at home. At times during the year, the individual lesson may be used as a parent lesson, or parent-teacher conference time.
With the mother tongue approach, just like in learning a spoken language, reading is delayed until aural and instrumental skills are developed. Suzuki students begin their instruction through rote learning and imitation, and learn to read sheet music when it is developmentally appropriate for the individual child.