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The Suzuki Method

The Suzuki method of music education was developed in Japan by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998) in 1945 and was introduced to the United States in the 1960s.  The Suzuki method is based on the mother tongue approach to learning; just as all children learn to speak their native language through a natural process of listening to, imitating, and repeating what they hear, so can children first learn to play the violin and subsequently learn how to read notes.  Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy is designed to develop concentration, awareness, and attention in student’s growing appreciation for the art of music.  The Suzuki method is recognized and used worldwide as a great tool for the training of the arts.

features of suzuki's method

Early Beginning
Talent Education usually begins at an early age.  Dr. Suzuki has suggested that parents repeatedly play recordings of classical musicfor their infants and toddlers.  Formal training may begin at age three or four, but it is never too late to begin.


Parental Involvement
As when a child learns to talk, Suzuki parents are involved in the musical learning of their child.  They attend lessons with their child and serve as “home teachers” during the week.  In the beginning, one parent sometimes learns to play before the child, so the parent understands what the child is expected to do.  Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.  Parental commitment to the child’s daily practice is the single most important ingredient for success.

Children learn to speak by listening and imitating the language spoken around them.  By listening to recordings of the literature they will learn, as well as listening to other music, children absorb the language of music just as they absorb the sounds of their mother tongue.  Developing good listening skills is the nucleus of the Suzuki approach.

Positive Environment
A positive, enjoyable learning environment is established at lessons and at home so that much of the child’s motivation comes from enthusiasm for learning and the desire to please.  Each child learns at his/her own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered.  Teachers and parents meet the child’s efforts with sincere praise and encouragement.  Children are also encouraged to support each other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.

All Suzuki students follow the same sequence of musical materials for their particular instrument, with each piece becoming a building block in the careful development of technique.  Through constant repetition of pieces, children strengthen old skills and gain new ones.  This repetition of pieces in a student’s repertoire is also the secret to the performing ability of Suzuki students.  This standardized repertoire also provides strong motivation as younger students want to play music they hear older students play.

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