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suzuki method


ken_barlow
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My daughter, who's a promising young violinist, taught in the "traditional" way, asked me last night what the Suzuki method was. I thought I knew, but after a couple of minutes of "well, it's like you know, errrrr" type noises emanating from my mouth, i realised I did not. Could someone give a succinct description?

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It's a great method with great repertiore, challenging the student way more than other instructional books. The skills and level increase a great amount from each book, and the repertoire keeps the student's focus, instead of having boring exercises and little songs. The Suzuki method just basically consists of advanced repertoire, which is why it's not a bad idea to get supplements along with it. It is not only great for young violinists, it's great for everyone learning the violin. Hope this helps...

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Suzuki method, when taught from preschool years, starts with Rote learning- learning by physically doing, and by watching and imitatin the teacher and a parent. The concept is that basically the chile learns a musical instrument in the same way they learn their first language- by imitating their primary caregiver from an early age. This means that an adult- usually Mom, is learning the violin before the child does does, and that Imitating the parent is how they learn it, just as imitating parental language is how children learn heir "mother tongue". About the time a child would start learning to read letters in that spoken language, then they would also start the basics of reading music and relating their playing to the written symbols.

It IS a good method for families that have the resources to pursue it. It can be adapted to school use as well, making it more accessible to less affluent families by making the daily practice an imitation of the teacher, rather than a family member. This was beautifully portrayed in the movie "Music of the Heart".

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Hi,

I wish someone could give a fair explanation what is Suzuki's method without worry about how good it is or how bad it is.

(1) Start real young say at age 3 or 4 ?

(2) Child's parent involved in what way? Learn along too?

(3) Learn by ear only?

(4) A lot different from tradition?

etc. /yuen/

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My two grand children learn piano by using Suzuki method.

Their mother (my daughter) plays piano quite well,the children's teacher did not have to teach thier mom. By age 6 and 8 this Summer, they are playing book 2 and book 3 respectively.(can play and can read) Amazing. Many children of their ages can not do these kind of things. We have to give Suzuki method some credits.

Here is the problem for a music teacher. If the parent of a child do not want Zusuki method,(want traditional) "stay away" Suzuki, then the Suzuki teacher would not have that student. On the other hand, if the parent wants Suzuki method, then teacher better not mention "tradition".(considered old fashion). The teacher has a guessing game in hand.

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I have had only the first teacher training level in Suzuki, and have taught a book one level in that program while my daughter was learning. However, I have been classically trained from age 9 on. I graduated college with a double major: Violin Performance and Music Education. Since I'm now 47.5, it's fair to say I've been intimately acquainted with the violin and other aspects of music education for MANY years now. While I don't have as much hands-on-experience in the Suzuki method, I do have the basics and respect for how it trains young musicians when done right. If someone with better credentials answers, this request of Yuan's, by all means, take their answers over mine.

When followed from babe-in arms stage,

The Mother is expected to start learning with a teacher from the childs earliest weeks outside the womb. As the mother practices at home, and in lessons, baby is listening/watching and taking in the music as they take in everything in their new world.

The following can be begun at any time from 1 yr(walking) on once the child is stable enough to stand still for a couple of minutes,and is showing good interest in imitating other activities of the mother, he can be given a proxy violin- an appropriatly shaped and proportioned cardboard or plastic model and shown how to hold the "violin". At this stage, Mom is practicing daily and gives the toddler his proxy for short sessions to hold during her practice session, guiding him/her to a correct hold. The little one's attention span is very short at this time, one or two minutes, but several short 1 minutes holding sessions is enough just now.

I will return to this and try to finish answering your questions. I have to go now to deal with other committments outside my home.

Norma,

maestramusica

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Thank you, Musica

I have senn very young child (followed by his grandmom) holding a violin walked around in a teacher's studio ,did

nothing. To me the child was not learning anything,( a kind of wasteing money),but now I think if the child can play advanced piece by age 8 or 10 (some played Mozart Concerto # 5,) I must say it is a remarkable success.

Maybe traditional would do the same. Who know? /yuen/

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The parent playing/modeling is also aided by a requirement that the student listen to the Suzuki repetoire every day on CD/tape.

After six months or so my daughter could "figure" out parts of her current song by herself. In her lesson, the teacher plays the next section slowly and then my daughter tells her what the notes are and plays it back. Quite effective for one who cannot read yet. I can't do it (yet), so there appears to be some value in educating children's ears when they're young. When I look at the music, she calls it cheating!

The traditional knock on Suzuki is that students don't learn to read music. To avoid this, my daughter's teacher is part of a larger group of Suzuki teachers that meet with their students about twice a month for a morning of music "classes." They begin with group play, then have a period of recitals and then end with music theory or muscianship class. The kids are broken up into groups by experience and age. Many of the kids segue into local orchestras, sometimes at a very young age.

Hal

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'traditional knock on Suzuki is that students don't learn to read music'.

Yes, we've all heard it. I'd think a lot of teachers would supplement the core Suzuki material with other standard classical etudes and repertoire. I wonder if Suzuki certified teachers are not allowed to use other material.

In any case I guess at a certain point it would help to be aware of and do some of the traditional material from Wolhfahrt to Kreutzer in parallel.

The Suzuki concept and content though is wonderful.

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I'm curious how you know where that point is. My daughter is a long ways from worrying about it but the daughter of a co-worker was said to have stayed in Suzuki too long. She switched after completing Book 8 at 9 years old.

So what do you look for in deciding to switch?

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> I wonder if Suzuki certified teachers are not

> allowed to use other material.

The Suzuki books are only a starting point for instruction. It is expected that other materials (scales, studies, etc.) will be introduced when appropriate.

>So what do you look for in deciding to switch?

If a student has beent taught correctly, there isn't any "switch." The method provides a way to teach very young children to experience music by playing an instrument, as well as offering a selection of musical works in a sequence that is extremely efficient in teaching the technical and musical skills required to do so. The level of complexity of the material discussed can be adjusted to the age and maturity of the student.

However, beyond the first three books, the remaining repertoire is not all that different (Vivaldi and Bach concerti, Handel sonatas, Mozart concerti, various other works of similar level) from what we might consider "traditional" repertoire.

I personally find the first three books excellent, but use other available editions of the works beyond volume 4. With most of my students, scales are introduced as soon as they can reasonably deal with them (so four year olds no, and ten year olds absolutely).

Really, it is all about the quality of teaching, and not the materials used. I have colleagues who went through Suzuki programs that took them through all ten books, but as a result also got exposure to weekly performance classes (for ALL students) and chamber music (for more advanced students) which some of my other colleagues who did not attend a Suzuki program did not even experience until college! The "not learning to read music" issue is way overblown. That is a problem with the teaching, and not with the method.

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One of the misunderstandings about Suzuki students is that they are weak at reading music. i think this comes from the fact that the students often start at a very young age and they start learning by ear. This makes all the sense in the world when you realize that this is how kids learn to speak. Just as you would not teach a 3 year old to speak by showing him the words "mommy and daddy", you can't teach a 3 year to play by teaching him/her "this is a c#". I studied under the Suzuki method and all four of my kids study Suzuki. To me, the greatest success of the Suzuki program, is that I have never met a "burned-out" Suzuki student or one who end up hating music. Suzuki stresses a positive, patient and loving environment (although this might seem obvious, it is not true of all styles).

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Qwie

' ...Really, it is all about the quality of teaching, and not the materials used...The not learning to read music issue is way overblown. That is a problem with the teaching, and not with the method'.

- I would agree.

4fiddlinkids

'...the greatest success of the Suzuki program, is that I have never met a "burned-out" Suzuki student or one who end up hating music'

- I would agree also. Never having met someone disgusted with Suzuki as opposed to some unfortunate kids not able to get thru ten pages of theory, never using the bow at all, and finally quitting.

H_Axel

'...daughter of a co-worker was said to have stayed in Suzuki too long. She switched after completing Book 8 at 9 years old'

One can't say without listening to the kid play. I'd guess however that going thru 8 Suzuki books without any exposure to standard classical reperrtoire, intensive scale work and etudes would not help her in making that next move to conservatory. In her case though she still has years to practice the traditional stuff.

I'm not sure what the average suzuki learning pace is - one book per year? Is there a recommended pace to sometimes slow some students down, or is it purely based on individual performance?

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With regards to the lack of classical repertoire, I would have to disagree. From book one, students are introduced to simple Bach minuets. Books 4 and 5 cover the 1st movement of the Bach double and books 9&10 are Mozart concertos. That being said, I know of several teachers who choose to introduce pieces from outside the Suzuki books (my kids' teacher starts around book 5 I believe). I took a Suzuki break between books 9&10 to study the Mendelssohn. On the subject of pace, I don't think there is a recommended pace. Each child learns at his/her own pace and it is more important to learn the technique that each piece is trying to demonstrate than to pass the piece without mastery. One of my kids started a few months before the others, but for the 3 who started at the same time, one is one the 5th song and one is still on Twinkle.

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Quote:

'traditional knock on Suzuki is that students don't learn to read music'.

Yes, we've all heard it. I'd think a lot of teachers would supplement the core Suzuki material with other standard classical etudes and repertoire. I wonder if Suzuki certified teachers are not allowed to use other material.

In any case I guess at a certain point it would help to be aware of and do some of the traditional material from Wolhfahrt to Kreutzer in parallel.

The Suzuki concept and content though is wonderful.


Delurking here: Suzuki teachers are not certified, rather, teachers (whether they adopt the moniker 'Suzuki' or not) enroll in teacher training classes taught by teacher trainers registered by the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA). The classes are broken down by book level. After completion of each course the teacher trainer gives a form to the teacher that states s/he completed the requirements of the class. The teacher can send a copy of said form to the SAA, thus 'registering' completion of a segment of teacher education.

As a Suzuki teacher of nearly 20 years registered in teacher training through Book 10, the Suzuki teachers I respect have always supplemented the Suzuki repertoire. It is simply common sense to do so.

In my opinion based on the years I've been involved in the Suzuki movement it is the teachers who've only taken one or two teacher training courses, start calling themselves Suzuki teachers, don't take any supplemental teacher training (Suzuki or traditional, there's a lot of teacher education out there), don't learn how to transition their students from rote to reading, teach only the seven pieces in Book 3 without scales and extra repertoire/etudes and then throw their poor students straight into Book 4 that give Suzuki teachers a bad rap, amongst other egregious sins.

Omygosh, that was a rant!! Whew. I needed to vent, obviously...

I welcome the conversation between teachers. A good teacher is a good teacher, whatever label one chooses to attach to her/himself.

violingeek

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Takumi, this is what I have. Maybe someone will let us know if it is not accurate.

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 1

=============================

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Variations composed by Shinichi Suzuki

Lightly Row composed by traditional

Song Of The Wind composed by traditional

Go Tell Aunt Rhody composed by traditional

O Come, Little Children composed by traditional

May Song composed by traditional

Long, Long Ago composed by T.H. Bayly

Allegro composed by Shinichi Suzuki

Perpetual Motion composed by Shinichi Suzuki

Allegretto composed by Shinichi Suzuki

Andantino composed by Shinichi Suzuki

Etude composed by Shinichi Suzuki

Minuet 1 composed by J.S. Bach

Minuet 2 composed by J.S. Bach

Minuet 3 composed by J.S. Bach

The Happy Farmer composed by R. Schumann

Gavotte composed by F.J. Gossec

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 2

=============================

Chorus From "Judas Maccabaeus" composed by G.F. Handel

Musette composed by J.S. Bach

Hunters' Chorus composed by C.M. von Weber

Long, Long Ago composed by T.H. Bayly

Waltz composed by J. Brahms

Bourree composed by G.F. Handel

The Two Grenadiers composed by R. Schumann

Theme From "Witches' Dance" composed by N. Paganini

Gavotte From "Mignon" composed by A. Thomas

Gavotte composed by J.B. Lully

Minuet In G composed by L. van Beethoven

Minuet composed by L. Boccherini

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 3

=============================

Gavotte composed by P. Martini

Minuet composed by J.S. Bach

Gavotte In G Minor composed by J.S. Bach

Humoresque composed by A. Dvorak

Gavotte composed by J. Becker

Gavotte In D Major composed by J.S. Bach

Bourree composed by J.S. Bach

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 4

=============================

Concerto No. 2, 3rd Movement composed by F. Seitz

Concerto No. 5, 1st Movement composed by F. Seitz

Concerto No. 5, 3rd Movement composed by F. Seitz

Lullaby (Tonalization) composed by F. Schubert

Lullaby (Tonalization) composed by J. Brahms

Concerto In A Minor, 1st Movement composed by A. Vivaldi

Concerto In A Minor, 3rd Movement composed by A. Vivaldi

Concerto For Two Violins, 1st Movement, Violin 2 composed by J.S. Bach

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 5

=============================

Gavotte composed by J.S. Bach

Concerto In A Minor, 2nd Movement composed by A. Vivaldi

Concerto In G Minor composed by A. Vivaldi

Country Dance composed by C.M. von Weber

German Dance composed by K.D. von Dittersdorf

Gigue From Sonata In D Minor composed by F.M. Veracini

Concerto For Two Violins - 1st Movement - Violin I composed by J.S. Bach

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 6

=============================

La Folia composed by A. Corelli

Sonata No. 3 composed by G.F. Handel

Allegro composed by J.H. Fiocco

Gavotte composed by J. Ph. Rameau

Sonata No. 4 composed by G.F. Handel

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 7

=============================

Minuet composed by W.A. Mozart

Courante composed by A. Corelli

Sonata No. 1 composed by G.F. Handel

Concerto No. 1 composed by J.S. Bach

Gigue composed by J.S. Bach

Courante composed by J.S. Bach

Allegro composed by A. Corelli

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 8

=============================

Sonata in G Minor (H. Eccles)

Tambourin (A.E. Grétry)

Largo arranged from Sonata III in C Major for Solo Violin, BWV 1005 (J.S. Bach)

Allegro from Sonata in E Minor for Violin and Continuo, BWV 1023 (J.S. Bach)

Largo Espressivo (G. Pugnani)

Sonata (F.M. Veracini)

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 9

=============================

Concerto in A Major, K. 219 composed by W.A. Mozart

=============================

Suzuki Violin School Volume 10

=============================

Concerto In D Major, K. 218 composed by W.A. Mozart

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Thanks for the info - violingeek and 4fiddlinkids.

No need for disagreement here, I'm just looking for info, not knowing much about Suzuki.

1)Is the classical repertoire in the advanced books the real thing, or simplified?

2)So a student can't get to conservatory purely on Suzuki training?

3)Are there specific scale/etude methods that combine well with suzuki and relate to specific books in progression?

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From what I've seen, the repertoire is the real thing, although some (even Suzuki instructors) take issue with certain of Suzuki's bowings and fingerings. But, as a rule, bowings and fingers are altered by Suzuki instructors -- just as so-called traditional teachers put their own bowings and fingerings in other standard editions.

Regarding conservatory entrance, a student who's played ONLY the pieces in the Suzuki books (no standard scale work, no etudes, no theory/ear training, no sight reading)would most likely be inadequately prepared for the rigors of conservatory training (I remember a thread here from a few years ago when a member of the NEC faculty opined on this very issue -- a young woman who believed she was an advanced player because she could play pieces out of the Suzuki books; he had to give her some hard but valuable news about the prep she would need -- which, btw, she didn't take too well, if I recall). However, it's sort of a trick question since, as many have noted, any good suzuki teacher employs the same scale methods/etudes that so-called traditional teachers use.

I'm sure any good teacher would ensure that technical work (etudes/scales) worked in tandem with the repertoire being studied.

Just my (inexpert) ha'penny.

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Quote:

Regarding conservatory entrance, a student who's played ONLY the pieces in the Suzuki books (no standard scale work, no études, no theory/ear training, no sight reading)would most likely be inadequately prepared for the rigors of conservatory training (I remember a thread here from a few years ago when a member of the NEC faculty teacher opined on this very issue -- a young woman who believed she was an advanced player because she could play pieces out of the Suzuki books; he had to give her some hard but valuable news about the prep she would need -- which, btw, she didn't take too well, if I recall). However, it's sort of a trick question since, as many have noted, any good suzuki teacher employs the same scale methods/etudes that so-called traditional teachers use.


Most accurate, I'd say and in keeping with my experience...

For what it is worth.....in regards to reading notes; the best and the worst of my students have come from Suzuki backgrounds. I also note that the *best* come from the same 'stable'.....it's not a huge leap to realize that the method is only as good as the teacher.

This particular Lady uses many other sources of repertoire and never neglects scales. The combination of her grounding and my continuation with higher repertoire and études has produced some of the absolute top 'junior' (13-20 y.o.)

players in this country...I could do much less 'finishing' work if they couldn't read or didn't have 'fantastic' aural skills.

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Kind of on the subject of "learning by ear", but one of the funniest criticisms I received as a Suzuki student was when I told someone it helped me to listen to recordings of a piece while learning. Their reply was "Weel, then you will just sound like the person on the recording!" How stupid of me, spending all of those hundreds of hours practicing when all I had to do was listen to Yehudi Menuhin play the piece 30 or 40 times and I was set....

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