What is the Suzuki Method?
“Tone has a living soul without form.”
- Dr. Suzuki
The Suzuki Method is based on “Mother-Tongue” learning. Just as children grow up knowing the language spoken to them in infancy, an early, carefully guided immersion in music imparts the language of sound.
Additionally, as children are taught to talk before they read, so does the Suzuki student learn to master the technique of their instrument before they are challenged by learning how to read written music. Tone offers beginning to advanced musicianship and theory courses as well as improvisation at the earliest stages of instruction that mirrors the progress a student has on their instrument.
The goal from the very first day is to foster a deep love and appreciation for music. Through positive reinforcement and the constant support of instructors and parents, each child is given the opportunity to explore and grow at their own pace.
And as with all disciplines, learning an instrument does take dedication, but while some families are ready to enroll in a full program of classes others choose to experiment with simply private lessons first. Tone is a great place to investigate the Suzuki Method as well as the commitment to your schedule. Our weekly, half-hour Music Prep or Beginning Musicianship classes are wonderful ways to learn the basics of the Suzuki philosophy without tacking on extensive practice time.
Most importantly, we at Tone believe any time we spend with our children enjoying music is time well spent!
The Three Pillars of the Suzuki Method
1. Mother-Tongue Learning
It might seem obvious to expect babies who grew up in Japanese-speaking households to speak Japanese and not, say, German, but it was Dr. Suzuki who applied the concept of learning a native tongue to talent education. By first being encouraged to listen to music in a nurturing environment, children are able to learn technique and expression in their own time with lots of encouragement along the way. We all know children are “little sponges,” but to see Mother-Tongue learning in action is quite remarkable.
2. The Suzuki Triangle: Parent-Student-Teacher
Many adults’ early experiences in music instruction involve being forced into lessons, coerced into practicing, and frustrated by lack of attention. In a Suzuki environment the parent, student, and teacher are all equally important. The student has freedom to express and explore, the teacher acts as a guide, and the parent learns at the same time as the child in order to be a better “at home” teacher. The importance of a parent experiencing both the frustration of learning something foreign and excitement at the mastery of a skill is elemental to the joy parent and child will share in the journey.
3. The Law of Ability
Dr. Suzuki believed, as all parents know to be true, that our children have inborn talent. As educators and parents, it is our duty and responsibility to tap into that well of natural learning ability. Through various interaction in group classes, concerts, student recitals, and private lessons, the vast ability of our children can be nurtured to grow.