Students who learn "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" get to put their hands on a "Twinkle Garden"
Studying music using the Suzuki Method can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do with your child. The Suzuki Method allows you to take part in your child's learning experience to positively influence their education. This is a joyful but intense experience that can fundamentally change your relationship with your child. Understanding the philosophy behind it can enrich the process.
Dr. Suzuki recognized that music could transform a child. He made it his life's mission to develop a comprehensive teaching method that could capture this unique possibility. From his home in Matsumoto, Japan he worked to show teachers and parents the simplicity of this philosophy. Understanding the Suzuki Method and its unique combination of educational philosophy, systematized teaching techniques and graduated repertoire will help you get the most out of the experience.
While Suzuki's concepts were not all new (sharing much in common with many well know educators from Johann Pestalozzi, Emile Dalcroze, Maria Montessori and the Waldorf System of Rudolph Steiner) the clarity of his vision makes the Suzuki Method one of the most influential learning methods today. It is perhaps no surprise that today, many hundreds of thousands of children learn music with the Suzuki Method
the parental bond
In every stage of learning the parent/child bond is the key to success. It is the parent who provides a child with their first learning environment when they learn to speak. It is the parent’s loving encouragement that motivates a child to take their first brave steps to learn. In the Suzuki method, the parent is recognized as the central part to the learning process. The Suzuki parent is the integral part of a “Suzuki Triangle”, the three-part bond between the teacher, child, and parent. No matter what your musical background, every parent holds the key to a successful Suzuki experience since that experience is based on love.
The Suzuki parent attends lessons, watches group classes, provides praise and offers encouragement. At home the Suzuki parent provides the student with a structured timetable and creative environment to make learning successful and enjoyable. The parent assumes the role of the home teacher, providing a daily reminder of the classroom lessons to help the student practice.
the mother tongue approach
Dr. Suzuki observed how even the youngest child can pick up words from it's parents. Children imitate, experiment and perfect words - a learning process they develop to a high art from the moment they are born. He realized the power of this early learning skill and the similarity between learning a language and learning music. Music is a language that transcends boundaries. If we are surrounded by music as we are surrounded by speech, then we can learn to use it before we read or write.
Using popular folk melodies and classical tunes he developed a sequence of music that introduces concepts in such small steps that even a child of three can understand. Each step is taught by ear in a natural learning process that mimics the way a child first grasps how to speak.
There are three steps to mastering any skill.
- Observing the skill.
- Experimenting with it.
- Turning our experiments into knowledge and skill.
Suzuki observed that at each stage of the learning process the richness of experience determines the level of success. To awaken inner musical creativity at every level Suzuki parents surround their children with beautiful music. The Suzuki approach uses active and passive listening for a richer learning experience. Continually through the day a child listens to their music so it becomes second nature to them. By the time they come to play the repertoire they have formed their own personal bond with the tunes.
the social context
The stimulus of playing with others provides a child with fun and different ways of experimenting with music. The gift of playing and sharing music with others and for others is an invaluable part of the creative learning experience of Suzuki. Children participate in weekly group classes and regular performances, where they learn how to interact with others, playing learning games in a fun social setting and learning the discipline of good social behavior. Playing music in groups develops the musical ear, the technical control, and enables students to hear and learn from their fellow students. Cooperation is fostered and care is taken to avoid any negative effects of peer competition.
the positive environment
The natural learning process of the Suzuki method is founded on the principle of positive reinforcement. Our teachers are highly trained musicians who have received specialist Suzuki training in the principles of positive learning. Each year we encourage them to keep these skills fresh by continuing professional renewal at specialist training centers. While discipline and structure guides a child, the positive environment provided in a Suzuki School offers the motivation to practice and perfect the skill of playing an instrument. Children gain confidence, self-respect and an admiration for others.