Where to Buy Digital Versions of Suzuki Violin School 1–10 by Shinichi Suzuki?


Recommended Posts

22 minutes ago, violinnewb said:

Philip, 

Overall, I agree with your perspective with the Suzuki Method.  Having said that, I am a product of the method, and even though my first non-Suzuki teacher did not like the Suzuki method and told me that I had to pretty much start from scratch, the reality was that I had a solid foundation.  

I use the Suzuki method to get my students to a certain level.  BUT--I also do alot of creative work arounds for many of the pieces because I also disagree with some of the technical aspects.  

The umbrella goal of Dr. Suzuki was not to make hundreds of millions of world-class violinists.  In fact, he says, not verbatim (and I am not entirely sure how accurate I am being), that one of his goals is to make caring human beings through the art of music.  

I always tell the parents of my students that: 1) I am not here to make your child the next Hilary Hahn, 2) I am here to teach your child how to make beautiful music for the sake of music and nothing more, 3) the benefits of a learned approach and structure to learning music will help the child's overall abilities in math, reading, science, etc.  Based upon my understanding, the Suzuki method closely mirrors my goals as a teacher.  Again, I disagree with many of the technical skill studies, amongst other things, but it is a well-established system that introduces music quickly to students.

I hope that you don't hate me for sounding like I am a proponent of the Suzuki method.  Just my 2 cents.

Oh I don’t hate anybody for anything, I don’t deny that there is validity in the approach, and I certainly hope I didn’t come across that way. You were doing and Andrew did, exactly what anybody could do, which is take the best of Suzuki and ignore the rest.

I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something like, “our desire is to produce a loving child.” Or something like that. And of course I agree.

To understand great music is to appreciate the ability to evoke and express emotion, and in order to do that, We must develop our own ability for empathy, understanding, and sympathy. Because how can you evoke emotion or express it, if you do not first feel it?

All of that emotional stuff is left out of the Suzuki method In favor of mechanics. That’s why so many violinists have a reputation for being robotic. Even when teaching something like crescendos or decrescendo’s, the emphasis is on the mechanics and not on the emotional aspect. 

I also intensely dislike the assembly line quality, because it rejects individuality.

Regarding your Hillary comment, I share with every single one of my students, a quote from the movie all that jazz:

”I can’t make you great, I can’t make you good, but I can make you better.”

To which I add, “the rest is up to you and to God.”

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 107
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I’m on page 94, and enjoying this book immensely. There’s a lot to respond to so far, but so far, my own problems with Suzuki teaching are verified by the research shared in this book. Once I finish, I will have to read the whole thing a second time. I’d like a solid copy of this book so I can make margin notes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

Seems like you misread the OP who just wanted a digital copy for analysis.

Yes I did indeed. However A chance to discuss methods is never to be missed.

Also, rereading the original comment, it is a logical inference that he’s going to be using it in his teaching, and the question remains valid.

Edited by PhilipKT
Addendum
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm. I have looked at all kinds of "methods"...and I use a mix. ^_^

FWIW, I also have the Suzuki viola and cello books and I'm never going to teach viola or cello. :lol:

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Rue said:

Hmm. I have looked at all kinds of "methods"...and I use a mix. ^_^

FWIW, I also have the Suzuki viola and cello books and I'm never going to teach viola or cello. :lol:

 

I also own a sizable pile of Suzuki books, as well as all for strings, strictly strings, string explorer, and too many others.

They are like those embarrassing relatives who visit and never leave, and I’m embarrassed about throwing them out, but I certainly don’t want to keep them around.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

....

They are like those embarrassing relatives who visit and never leave, and I’m embarrassed about throwing them out, but I certainly don’t want to keep them around.

Do your relatives know?

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/12/2021 at 11:14 PM, PhilipKT said:

To the OP: have your thoughts on Suzuki as the ne plus ultra of pedagogy been changed at all?

I've always known one violin method is never enough to nurture an all-around violinist. Basics exercises, scales and studies (études) must be introduced. I'm just getting a digital copy for analysis of what most current beginners are learning from. I'm also going to analyze Early Start on the Violin by Egon Sassmannshaus.

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

Seems like you misread the OP who just wanted a digital copy for analysis.

I've got my digital copy on Amazon. Never expected this post to become an academic debate. However it's interesting the probably most popular violin method is actually criticized by a considerable amount of people (not the first time I heard someone saying the Suzuki method is flawed). My only problem was the old monochrome blue editions I have contain almost no explanation of the pieces. This makes a teacher difficult to judge what does the specific notation and symbols Suzuki used in the pieces imply. With recording some clues are revealed, but it's better to have the actual direction itself.

Now I'm reading and playing through the revised editions, I found out apparently Suzuki uses the term "staccato bow stroke" for détaché on staccato notes. From the books I've read staccato is a polysemic term; it can mean an articulation (staccato notes) or a bow stroke (a sequence of martelé in the same bow direction). I wonder if this will make the student more confused.

However, violin terminology is always complicated and ambiguous on a lot of levels, same as musical symbols, especially the staccato dot and tenuto mark. I think it is important for me to analyze these methods to understand what different editors and arrangers mean with their ways of using musical symbols.

P.S. after all these years I still haven't heard a concrete definition of the portato bow stroke (not portato articulation).

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, tchaikovsgay said:

I've got my digital copy on Amazon. Never expected this post to become an academic debate. However it's interesting the probably most popular violin method is actually criticized by a considerable amount of people (not the first time I heard someone staying the Suzuki method is flawed). My only problem was the old monochrome blue editions I have contain almost no explanation of the pieces. This makes a teacher difficult to judge what does the specific notation and symbols Suzuki used in the pieces imply. With recording some clues are revealed, but it's better to have the actual direction itself.

Now I'm reading and playing through the revised editions, I found out apparently Suzuki uses the term "staccato bow stroke" for détaché on staccato notes. From the books I've read staccato is a polysemic term; it can mean an articulation (staccato notes) or a bow stroke (a sequence of martelé in the same bow direction). I wonder if this will make the student more confused.

However, violin terminology is always complicated and ambiguous on a lot of levels, same as musical symbols, especially the staccato dot and tenuto mark. I think it is important for me to analyze these methods to understand what different editors and arrangers mean with their ways of using musical symbols.

P.S. after all these years I still haven't heard a concrete definition of the portato bow stroke (not portato articulation).

Hi!  From the many posts you have authored, I take it that you are much younger than me.  If you are starting out as a new teacher for young students, I do in fact support your decision of using Suzuki.  As you know by now, many of us either disagree with the Suzuki method in one aspect or another.  From experience, I will tell you that if you are teaching students under the age of 10 years, you have to remember attention span.  I know that there are exceptions, but most need nurturing of the art itself more so than the technique behind the art...at least at the beginning.  

To comment directly on your recent comment, some of the earlier books, like book 2 for example, teach a very simplified technique for a more interesting and technical piece.  Take the Boccherini Minuet.  The recordings and book suggest the eighth and sixteenth notes to be played staccato.  I teach spiccato, at the very basic level, pretty early on.  So when my students are ready to play that song, they play those passages off the string.  I also have them return to book one and play the Happy Farmer with a leggerio/spiccato stroke.  You will find that in a lot of these arrangements.  The point being, the Suzuki books are pretty good for a centralized compilation of repertoire that you can supplement with scales and etudes, go back and polish up for a second learning. 

 

Good luck! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I’m on page 94, and enjoying this book immensely. There’s a lot to respond to so far, but so far, my own problems with Suzuki teaching are verified by the research shared in this book. Once I finish, I will have to read the whole thing a second time. I’d like a solid copy of this book so I can make margin notes.

Yes, it's interesting.

I'm going to read it too and I think we should restart this discussion in a couple of days, maybe it should have it's own thread.  In general I got very negative feedback on Suzuki from Central European teachers. US ones tend afaik to have a rather positive attitude towards it. But this does not compare apples to apples ad all the European teachers I spoke to went to a music school, a music high school and then to a Conservatory.  In general that is a very different trajectory from their US colleagues. That may have little bearing on playing ability but it surely will make a BIG difference in the approach.  I am having at least a temporary problem with the claim ( if made... :) ) that Suzuki method teaches music. I know nobody who at am early age went to study music. The other thing I am having an issue with is the idea that Suzuki is a method.  I do not understand what the method consists of, what exactly defines it as a method. I saw some rather vitriolic criticism of Suzuki which I think it is pretty irrelevant. None the less, the more I read the more I see a distinct marketing component. But I do not think there is anything inherently wrong in that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Carl Stross said:

I do not understand what the method consists of, what exactly defines it as a method. I saw some rather vitriolic criticism of Suzuki which I think it is pretty irrelevant. 

My children took violin lessons from an Asian woman.  The teacher, who I am fond of, taught some sort of hybrid Korean-European method which consisted of short melodies and lots of scales and short etudes.  She would also teach theory at every lesson.  Honestly, my children got really bored, really fast.

I cannot tell you what the Suzuki method consists of as I am not a certified Suzuki teacher, but I can tell you, for me, it is alot like this:

As children, we learn spoken language early on.  We do not generally learn about the exact structure, diction, grammar, etc. until we enter grade school.  My kids could play the simple melodic theme to the Beethoven vln cto, courtesy of All For Strings violin book 1, but were inundated with technique and scales.  My students on the other hand, don't learn the circle of fifths until they can play the Suzuki arrangement of Humouresque.  I teach my students how to play songs before getting into too many technical studies.  

Ever watch the Karate Kid?  yeah.  That doesn't capture a 6 year old's attention for very long.  Wax on and wax off all day, but at the end of the day, that kid is going to quit Karate.  That is my take on the method.  Does any of this make sense? lol

Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, violinnewb said:

My children took violin lessons from an Asian woman.  The teacher, who I am fond of, taught some sort of hybrid Korean-European method which consisted of short melodies and lots of scales and short etudes.  She would also teach theory at every lesson.  Honestly, my children got really bored, really fast.

I cannot tell you what the Suzuki method consists of as I am not a certified Suzuki teacher, but I can tell you, for me, it is alot like this:

As children, we learn spoken language early on.  We do not generally learn about the exact structure, diction, grammar, etc. until we enter grade school.  My kids could play the simple melodic theme to the Beethoven vln cto, courtesy of All For Strings violin book 1, but were inundated with technique and scales.  My students on the other hand, don't learn the circle of fifths until they can play the Suzuki arrangement of Humouresque.  I teach my students how to play songs before getting into too many technical studies.  

Ever watch the Karate Kid?  yeah.  That doesn't capture a 6 year old's attention for very long.  Wax on and wax off all day, but at the end of the day, that kid is going to quit Karate.  That is my take on the method.  Does any of this make sense? lol

It has to be fun.

I start with sounds. The joy the kids have just making a sound and being able to say, “wow listen to what I am doing.” Is amazing. At the very first lesson I have with every one of my students, before the end of the lesson they are playing a slow full bow on an open string and I slowly improvise above them. Octaves, fourth, fifth, simple intervals that sound great, and the kid is overwhelmed with joy, and the mother is videotaping and usually crying because she’s so happy at what her child is doing. For the first few weeks all we do is play, and I add fingers and hands and Bow changes and string crossings. 
Making sound effortlessly is the first goal.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

It has to be fun.

I start with sounds. The joy the kids have just making a sound and being able to say, “wow listen to what I am doing.” Is amazing. At the very first lesson I ever had with everyone of my students before the end of the lesson they are playing a slow fall bow on an open string and I slowly improvise above them. Octaves, fourth, fifth, simple intervals that sound great, and the kid is overwhelmed with joy, and the mother is videotaping and usually crying because she’s so happy at what her child is doing. For the first few weeks all we do is play. And I add fingers and hands and Bow changes and string crossings. 
Making sound effortlessly is the first goal.

That's SUPER. That's to my mind the right way. I hope you add drumming exercises where they try to copy ( or make up ) rhythms. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

That's SUPER. That's to my mind the right way. I hope you add drumming exercises where they try to copy ( or make up ) rhythms. 

No! That never occurred to me! I think in duple time and I do talk about walking across the room to create an even beat, when we do syncopations I have them imagine limping across the room, and when we do triplets I have them speak the word “tri-puh-let” but I’ve never done anything more substantial.

can you share some exercises with me?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, this is the end of this little boy’s first thirty minute lesson. He rotated to an additional string a time or two, and his shoulder is a little high, but he is relaxed and steady and in the 5 months since then he has developed a solid first position and is relaxed enough that he is starting to vibrate without any input from me.

this kind of initial playing helped develop not just sound quality but phrasing because I suggest they change bows and loudness to match me( trying to phrase with me is why he was hitting the other string, an easy fix)

 

Edited by PhilipKT
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

No! That never occurred to me! I think in duple time and I do talk about walking across the room to create an even beat, when we do syncopations I have them imagine limping across the room, and when we do triplets I have them speak the word “tri-puh-let” but I’ve never done anything more substantial.

can you share some exercises with me?

 

Not really - never thought about looking for some either as I stopped playing ages ago and never gave lessons. Or would.  There must be some books / exercises for drummers out there on YT - I'll look for and send links. My 2nd teacher would always start the class by having everybody copy rhythms he would bang on his desk. He would look for and try to develop in his pupils an ability to imitate. He would tolerate some intonation mishaps but never bad rhythm. Wonderful man - one of those people whi lived for teaching young children. Always a but drunk and always with a cigarette in his mouth. He could play passably close to any instrument in an orchestra. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

BTW, this is the end of this little boy’s first thirty minute lesson lesson. He rotated to an additional string a time or two, and his shoulder is a little high, but he is relaxed and steady and in the 5 months since then he has developed a solid first position and is relaxed enough that he is starting to vibrate without any input from me.

this kind of initial playing helped develop not just sound quality but phrasing because I suggest they change bows and loudness to match me( trying to phrase with me is why he was hitting the other string, an easy fix)

 

Wonderful ! Absolutely wonderful.

I always envy cello players - they actually do have a reasonable idea of what is coming out. That's not at all the case with violin unless a couple of things really do come together. I long ago noticed that lot of people are very expressive performers on guitar and some people are very expressive on cello. You have to look hard for the ones who are expressive on violin... :) 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

Not really - never thought about looking for some either as I stopped playing ages ago and never gave lessons. Or would.  There must be some books / exercises for drummers out there on YT - I'll look for and send links. My 2nd teacher would always start the class by having everybody copy rhythms he would bang on his desk. He would look for and try to develop in his pupils an ability to imitate. He would tolerate some intonation mishaps but never bad rhythm. Wonderful man - one of those people whi lived for teaching young children. Always a but drunk and always with a cigarette in his mouth. He could play passably close to any instrument in an orchestra. 

 

Your teacher reminds me of a story about Glazunov, I think. He drank too much, smoked too much and could play everything.

During a rehearsal of one of his symphonies(7?)a French Horn player complained that Glazunov had written an unplayable note. Glazunov stepped off the podium, walked over, took the horn and played the note, and then returned the horn, hahaha.

Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, violinnewb said:

1. My children took violin lessons from an Asian woman.  The teacher, who I am fond of, taught some sort of hybrid Korean-European method which consisted of short melodies and lots of scales and short etudes.  She would also teach theory at every lesson.  Honestly, my children got really bored, really fast.

2. I cannot tell you what the Suzuki method consists of as I am not a certified Suzuki teacher,

3. but I can tell you, for me, it is alot like this:

 As children, we learn spoken language early on.  We do not generally learn about the exact structure, diction, grammar, etc. until we enter grade school.  My kids could play the simple melodic theme to the Beethoven vln cto, courtesy of All For Strings violin book 1, but were inundated with technique and scales.  My students on the other hand, don't learn the circle of fifths until they can play the Suzuki arrangement of Humouresque.  I teach my students how to play songs before getting into too many technical studies.  

4. Ever watch the Karate Kid?  yeah.  That doesn't capture a 6 year old's attention for very long.  Wax on and wax off all day, but at the end of the day, that kid is going to quit Karate.  That is my take on the method.  Does any of this make sense? lol

1. In other words, she did it the traditional and proven way with the usual effect on the poor kids. We often forget that for a long long time learning violin was not supposed to be fun and children getting bored not a concern. 

2. Well, nobody can. :) 

I know at least 20 people teaching at various ( some prestigious ) Conservatories OR being teachers of some "weight" in NY or LA ( for example ). Not a single one understands what Suzuki method consists of. Or if they do, they did not want to tell me....  Quite a number of teachers or professionals teaching in Europe will not take as pupils children ( even older children ) started on Suzuki. 

3. I understand. I agree, the circle of fifths is not needed but other things might be and there is a body of experience which shows that some theory not done early enough can not be learned later. I am sure you are aware that some BIG Opera names can not read a score.....  :)

4. No. I boxed as an amateur. Karate is for girls. Real men want their nose broken, kidney displaced etc...  :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice to see Philip in action! ^_^

My daughter was very enthusiastic about boxing...until she was hit in the nose, broke it, and had it "set". :rolleyes:

I like the general Suzuki philosophy. I like most of the selections in the first 5 books at least. I like that students learn to play an entire short piece from the get-go, versus just 2 rows of something or other indefinitely. 

I don't like that reading notation doesn't happen right off the bat. Three-year olds understand what symbols are. Most can write their names. 

For some reason the older we get the more we fear learning a new language. So why not learn before that fear sets in?

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

Your teacher reminds me of a story about Glazunov, I think. He drank too much, smoked too much and could play everything.

During a rehearsal of one of his symphonies(7?)a French Horn player complained that Glazunov had written an unplayable note. Glazunov stepped off the podium, walked over, took the horn and played the note, and then returned the horn, hahaha.

He was an incredibly gifted individual and taught music. It wasn't violin, it was music using the violin. But at that time I was way too young and too stupid to understand how much I could've learned from him. He was a real gypsy violin player who later in life, after a bad car accident, went to night school and later to Conservatory and got a degree in Music Pedagogy. Had serious gaps in his  knowledge of violin classical repertoire - pretty amusing, I must say.  I remember meeting him by accident some 10 years after I stopped playing - he was as usually teaching a group of 10 y/o's . The night before he had just heard part of a wonderful composition probably by Bach :) and after a bit of humming it seemed to have been the Chaconne.  I spent the next two hours playing various bits of it for him to learn. Wonderful man ! He was by the way, very VERY fond of D Major and hated D Minor. I find that very interesting...

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Carl Stross said:

He was an incredibly gifted individual and taught music. It wasn't violin, it was music using the violin. But at that time I was way too young and too stupid to understand how much I could've learned from him. He was a real gypsy violin player who later in life, after a bad car accident, went to night school and later to Conservatory and got a degree in Music Pedagogy. Had serious gaps in his  knowledge of violin classical repertoire - pretty amusing, I must say.  I remember meeting him by accident some 10 years after I stopped playing - he was as usually teaching a group of 10 y/o's . The night before he had just heard part of a wonderful composition probably by Bach :) and after a bit of humming it seemed to have been the Chaconne.  I spent the next two hours playing various bits of it for him to learn. Wonderful man ! He was by the way, very VERY fond of D Major and hated D Minor. I find that very interesting...

I have many people like that in my past, including one of my own cello teachers, and to this day I regret not being aware of how much all those people had to offer.

As reminded in the Desiderata,”they too have their story.”

I wish I could go back and chastise my younger self for being so careless.

Edited by PhilipKT
Doubling
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.