ALL children have talent and it is environment, not genetic background, that will determine the success of a child. There is no such thing as a genius and inherited talent does not exist. Any child with the right training, environment, hard work, nurture and encouragement can develop an ability or talent.
Children absorb their mother tongue. Surround a child with music and their music learning will be easier, more fulfilling and more effective.
I was brought up in the Suzuki method and the philosophy has stayed with me, not just in my career as a professional musician.
As Dr. Suzuki himself said, “There are people who think that art exists for its own sake, but I do not think so. Art exists for the human species. I think that all the people who love art, those who teach art…should burn with the obligation to save the world. It is necessary to be concerned about the importance of educating a really beautiful human spirit.”
If you are interested in your child learning music in the Suzuki method then do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Suzuki method and my teaching:
Why start young?
In the Suzuki Method we believe that it is important to start education at a young age. We recommend that the child starts learning as young as 3 or 4 years old. These early years are crucial for the development of mental processes and muscle coordination. However, it is never too late to begin!
What is the parent’s involvement?
In Suzuki Method we see the parent as the “home teacher” and they should aim to practice daily with the child. Each week I will guide the parent on how to practice what the child has learnt in that lesson. 10 minutes practice a day is better and more beneficial for the child’s learning than 1 hour the day before a lesson. We will discuss together how best to fit this regular slot into your day to suit you and your family. I am here to help both you and your child enjoy the process of learning to play beautiful music!
Why individual lessons?
Individual lessons allow each child to learn at their own pace. As their teacher, it is my job to find out how the child learns and to meet them there in order to help them grow and develop their innate confidence and ability. For each individual the process will happen at a different rate, always building on small steps so that each one is mastered. However, every child will reach the same ability, some sooner, some later. They will all achieve and have fun in the process!
Why group lessons?
Group lessons allow the children to share their music with others whilst reinforcing important skills introduced in the private lesson. Also, the children learn how to play together which develops their aural skills further. The group lessons also develop the love of music because playing together is fun. There are many social benefits to group lessons too and the children can make life-long friendships. They are encouraged to support each other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation. In this way the group lessons are also a tremendous aid in the motivation to practice.
What is so special about the Suzuki repertoire?
Children do not practice exercises to learn how to talk but use language for its natural purpose of communication and self expression. The pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are chosen specifically to teach technical issues in the context of the music rather than with dry technical exercises. Using this repertoire, your child will learn the importance of producing a good sound in a balanced and natural way will
When will my child learn to read music?
Initially, my students will be introduced to note learning in a fun way but it will not take precedence. In the same way that children do not learn to read until the ability to talk is well established, my Suzuki students will have basic technical competence at the violin before being taught to read music. However, the foundations for reading music will have already been explored.
Is listening to the CD important?
It is crucial to the Suzuki Method to listen to the CD daily. The child is learning aurally and listening to the CD helps the child (and the parent) to learn and memorise the melodies and to hear how good violin tone sounds. It also aids the development of accurate pitch and rhythmic pulse.
Why is review and repetition important?
Children do not learn a word or piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways. Therefore the child internalises what they have learnt. Reviewing pieces also helps to give them a sense of achievement because they can see how far they have come.
Why memorise the music?
Good memory is also a learnt ability and a valuable life long skill. By playing from memory it helps the child develop good concentration in the lessons and allows the child to have eye contact and to connect with the teacher in a lesson or the parent during practice. A music stand acts as a barrier to this. Memorising music also allows the child to internalise his learning and allows him to revisit what he has learnt more easily.
Will my child perform to others?
The Suzuki Method encourages children to perform with pride and ease from a young age with their peers in the groups and on their own too. They are nurtured through this process and as they see their peers and elders doing it they realise that it is a joyful process to share music with others.
Will my child have fun?
Dr. Suzuki understood that happiness and fun must be part of a child’s learning and education. As a teacher I will aim to always make the learning enjoyable and creative because this is the way children learn best. Group lessons help a great deal with this sense of achieving whilst having fun and each group lesson will include fun musical games and activities relevant to what the children are learning. Scolding and hardship are not part of learning in the Suzuki Method or in my teaching. Sincere praise, encouragement and nurturing are key to your child’s success and learning.
Is my child ready?
If you are not sure, I always suggest the parent and child come to observe some other children’s lessons and some group lessons to assess the readiness of their child to learn. Once it is established that the child is ready, they will start to have individual lessons and join in group lessons too.
Why learn music using the Suzuki method?
Although many Suzuki students become professional musicians, this is not the main aim of the method. The emphasis of the Suzuki approach throughout is on the development of the whole child and an education through music. Your child will learn many life long skills including: self-confidence and presentation skills; concentration; discipline; the ability to learn and to problem solve in a constructive way; the knowledge that if you work hard you can achieve anything and that achievement is fun and rewarding; the ability to explore all genres of music and appreciate them all and find joy and beauty in music.