BENEFITS OF SUZUKI INSTRUCTION
Music is an art form. If the students take that art form to a high level, it will have an impact on everything else they do. A child who has learned to struggle with difficult tasks in their violin lessons, transfers this skill over into their school work and all of their other life activities. Children who grow up in an environment that is rich in music will be able to develop musical talent. What I hope to achieve, is to instil in all children a love of music. Through the Suzuki growing process, children thrive in a total environment of support; they develop confidence and positive self esteem, determination to try difficult things, self-discipline and concentration, as well as a lasting enjoyment of music, the sensitivity and skill for making music.
HOW IT WORKS
Suzuki called his teaching method the Mother-Tongue approach, inspired by the fact that children so effortlessly learn to speak their native tongue. Prompted and encouraged by the parents' love and the family environment, the child responds and develops this most difficult of skills, that of intelligible speech. Suzuki closely follows the parallel with language learning and recommends that music should become an important part of the baby's environment from birth (or even before). When the child's environment includes fine music as well as the sounds of the mother-tongue, it is understandable that the child will develop the ability to play a musical instrument (with technical guidance) before being required to read.
Children learn to speak by listening and imitating the spoken language they hear around them. In Suzuki teaching, much emphasis is placed on daily listening to recordings of the Suzuki repertoire, as well as music in general. The more frequently the students listen to the recordings, the more easily they learn to play. Constant listening to music performed with beautiful tone provides children with a role model for their playing. In the lessons, the production of fine tone and sensitive playing is stressed from the beginning.
Parents play a crucial role in Suzuki. Learning takes place in an environment of co-operation between teacher, parent and child. The parent's role includes attending each lesson with the student, taking notes and then guiding them through their practice at home - they essentially become the 'home teacher'. Parents also need to ensure that they play the Suzuki CD daily to help create a musical environment for their child, and also to attend the workshops, concerts and group lessons.
A positive, nurturing environment is created in the lesson and is also essential at home. Children learn enthusiastically when they are supported with sincere praise and encouragement. They learn to recognise one another's achievements, creating an environment of co-operation.
One of Suzuki's major contributions to music education is the unique order of the repertoire. Each carefully chosen piece becomes a building block for future learning. Technique, musicianship and style are developed through the study and repetition of these pieces. Through the common repertoire, children have a bond with Suzuki students world-wide. Whilst we primarily use the core Suzuki repertoire, pupils also explore other genres such as folk, jazz, popular, film and country music.
Music Mind Games is used in lessons to introduce note reading / music theory from the beginning, first without the violin and then with the instrument following the acquisition of good aural, technical and musical skills.
All students have an individual lesson every week, lasting 30-60mins depending on age and level. A typical lesson starts with review of previously learned repertoire, which builds technique, good posture, beautiful tone, careful intonation and musicality. The Suzuki Method is all about listening and review so the main focus in lessons is on making the previously learned repertoire even more beautiful. All my pupils learn to read music and learn theory using Music Mind Games.
PLAY is the work of the child and so a feature of lessons are the games used to capture their imagination, to engage and motivate.
Parents are a hugely important part of the lesson as they take notes to guide home practice.
All children attend regular group lessons on Sunday mornings. These sessions offer the opportunity to review the skills learned in the private lesson whilst adding important ensemble skills necessary to perform with others. Group sessions also add the social aspect of making music with other children. All of these things are wonderful motivational tools - children love to do what they have seen other children doing.