Suzuki method

From Academic Kids

The Suzuki method is a way of learning to play music. It was invented in the mid-20th century by Dr. Shin'ichi Suzuki. Dr. Suzuki noticed that children pick up their native language very quickly and seldom fail to learn it, so he modelled his method, which he called "Talent Education," after the process of natural language acquisition. Dr Suzuki believed that every child, if properly taught, was capable of a good level of musical achievement.

The method emphasizes playing from a very young age. Scaled down instrument sizes are used for children studying stringed instruments in order to facilitate this.

In the beginning, learning music by ear is emphasized over reading musical notation. The method also encourages, in addition to individual playing, frequent playing in groups (including playing in unison) and frequent public performance, so that playing is so far as possible natural and enjoyable.

The method discourages competitive attitudes between players, and advocates collaboration and mutual encouragement for those of every ability and at every level.

Another important feature of the method is that the parent of the young student is expected to supervise instrument practice every day (instead of leaving the child to practise alone between lessons) and to attend every lesson so as to be able to supervise the practice effectively. It is not necessary for the parent to be able to play as well as the child (or at all); only that the parent knows from the lessons what the child should be doing and how the child should be doing it.

The most common criticisms of the Suzuki method from more traditional teachers are that its methods of group playing and the copying of playing styles by ear can (a) compromise sight reading skills and (b) tend towards rote learning at the expense of individual musicianship although a high degree of early technical ability is thereby produced. So far as the first criticism is concerned, more sight reading exercises are now incorporated. So far as the second is concerned, the Suzuki method should not compromise individual musical development but should facilitate it, both by providing a sound technical base from an early age, and from encouraging the study of the instrument in the first place.

The Suzuki method can be taught on any instrument, although it is most commonly taught on violin. Suzuki literature has also been published for viola, cello, piano, bass, flute, guitar, harp and voice.

See also: Music lesson

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