Suzuki Program Structure
The Suzuki Program is based on the philosophy and the ‘mother tongue’ teaching method of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. Beginners learn to play by ear, by listening and imitating – much like a child learns to speak or communicate. Talent is nurtured in a positive environment and parents provide support by attending lessons, helping the children to practice and listening to recordings together at home. Parents are not required to have a musical background. Encouragement and praise in the classroom and at home are essential tools in your child’s success and musical growth.
Group lessons are an integral part of this program. Children learn to play in groups to reinforce their skills. In addition to private (or semi-private) lessons each week, students have a group class every other week. External Suzuki students may join the VCM Suzuki Groups.
Why Music Lessons For Children?
Studies have confirmed Suzuki’s theories that music lessons taken at an early age will greatly enhance a child’s experience and rate of success in school and in life. In fact, evidence strongly suggests that early music training has a direct link to cognitive development in children. Scientists came to this conclusion after testing the memory, attention and IQ of Suzuki violin students specifically.
- Music is the international language
- Music lessons at an early age will enrich a child’s range of experience;
- Music is good for the soul!
The Suzuki Philosophy
Dr. Suzuki emphasized the importance of education in the first six years of a child’s life. Suzuki teaching is based on the respect for each child’s uniqueness and their individual pace of learning. Dr. Suzuki has said “talent is not inherited… and the potential of every child is unlimited.” Young children develop their linguistic abilities with ease. Similarly, with the Suzuki method they can develop their musical abilities.
The Mother Tongue Method
“The child has a mind able to absorb knowledge. He/She has the power to teach him/herself. A single observation is enough to prove this. The child grows up speaking his parents’ tongue, yet to grownups the learning of a language is a very great intellectual achievement. No one teaches the child, yet he comes to use nouns, verbs and adjectives to perfection.”
The Mother Tongue Method takes the principles of learning speech and language – including imitation, repetition and encouragement – and applies them to learning music. Since its introduction to Canada in the mid 1960′s, the Suzuki Method has become the accepted and often preferred way for young children to learn violin, cello, piano, and at least ten other instruments.
Parental Involvement is Key
Either the mother or father attends all lessons so that the learning process is understood and the parent can then feel secure when working with the child as a home-teacher. Instruction is given in correct playing posture and all of the beginning steps including the playing of simple pieces.
The Benefits of Suzuki Training
The Suzuki approach extends to many facets of a child’s life. It deals with much more than teaching a child how to play an instrument. It seeks to develop the whole child – to help unfold his or her natural potential to learn and become a well balanced person. The
purpose of Suzuki training is not necessarily to produce a professional musician, but to help every child find the joy that comes through music-making. Through the Suzuki process, children thrive in an environment of total support. They develop confidence and self-esteem, memory and concentration, self-discipline and determination to try difficult things. Most importantly, they gain the sensitivity and skill for making music, and they obtain a lasting source of enjoyment.
At the Victoria Conservatory of Music the Suzuki Philosophy and the Mother Tongue Method are used in the following ways:
- Beginning with the child in lessons as early as age three;
- Emphasizing the importance of creating a musical environment at home through listening to Suzuki CDs and other recommended music;
- Moving in small steps
- Encouraging parental participation at all lessons so that the parent understands the learning process and can be prepared to act as a home-teacher;
- Establishing the student’s aural and instrumental skills before introducing musical note reading;
- Providing an enjoyable learning environment in the private lesson, in the group, and at home as a natural motivator for the child.
- Rejoicing in all of the child’s achievements, no matter how small.