As a young man, Dr. Suzuki spent several years living in Germany to study violin. It was there that he discovered children's innate ability to fluently speak their native language with ease and accuracy where as he was struggling to learn a new language. Based on his observations he concluded that all things can be taught and learned the way we learn our "Mother Tongue." We first learn through hearing, then imitating, and then with words turning into sentences and beyond. As a result, the 'Suzuki method' for learning music was born.
The Suzuki Method is about more than just learning how to play the violin, viola, or cello. It is about learning skills for a lifetime as well as developing the entire person to be the best human they can be.
Success is based upon the relationship between parent, teacher, and child. Each component is equally important and act as a footing to develop a strong environment based upon trust.
When our children are born we nurture and support them as they go through various stages. First they learn to hold their heads and kick and move their arms. As they master these skills they add to their repertoire by learning to roll over, sit, crawl, stand and then to those exciting first steps. It is with that same level of nurturing and involvement that students go from being unable to hold the instruments to playing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to concertos.
Sensory development is integral to the Suzuki method. In the beginning attention is paid to developing the ear, motor skills and mental processes. These qualities begin at birth, however, ages 3-5 are wonderful for formal training. It is never too late to begin.
The Keys To Success
Listening: Listening is a vital skill for all people, especially those learning a musical instrument! All people, especially children, learn through repetition. It is very important to listen daily to the Suzuki repertoire so that a child and parent know the music intimately.
Repetition: When learning any new skill, repetition is key. Each learned piece is added to the student's 'vocabulary' and is continuously practiced with new nuances and details so skills are continuously improved upon.
Delayed Reading: When learning a language, one learns how to speak before one learns to read. It is in this manner that music is learned. Students must first acquire certain skills and abilities before another aspect of musical education is given to them.
Learning with Others: In addition to private lessons, students participate in group lessons and recitals to help motivated one another.
Encouragement: As with any new skill, we foster an environment that allows for trial and error with gentle correction through demonstration. We offer sincere praise and encouragement so children are comfortable learning at their own pace and constantly build on new skills.
Graded Repertoire: Children don't practice exercises when learning to speak or walk, and the same applies for music. We allow it to develop naturally in order to facilitate communication and independence. The pieces are structured in order to learn new techniques in the context of making music.