Information for parents
Background to the Suzuki method
The Suzuki method or Suzuki talent education is a method of teaching music that is underpinned by a philosophy that promotes the nurturing and development of the whole child. It is often referred to as the “Mother tongue” approach because the child learns music in much the same way that he or she learns to speak. Children learn to speak by hearing their native language spoken over and over again. With the right environment, and encouragement from their parents, they imitate the words that they hear. Later, after they are able to speak the language with ease, they learn to read and write it. The same principles can be seen at work in the Suzuki method where a student learns to play the music (by ear) before he or she learns to read it.
Listening to the CDs
For the Suzuki method to work effectively it is, therefore, imperative that the student is immersed in the music that he or she will learn. Listening to CDs of the Suzuki repertoire needs to become part of his or her daily routine, even before formal lessons begin. In addition to this, creating an environment at home, in which students are exposed to all sorts of music, is also encouraged.
Learning cannot take place without significant parental support and involvement. The Suzuki method works within a teacher—parent—child triangle. While the teacher is the “expert” on the music, the parent is the “expert” on the child and acts as the child’s home teacher. It is expected that one parent (the same parent each week) attends lessons with the student and takes note of what has taken place and what needs to be practised. At home, he or she is then responsible for establishing consistent daily practice with the student. The extent of parental involvement is extremely important and lessons cannot progress without it. Parents need to consider whether or not they can maintain this level of commitment when considering whether or not the Suzuki method is the right approach for their child and family circumstances.
If you and your child decide to learn the Suzuki method, it will involve in practical terms:
Listening to the Suzuki repertoire on CDs every day (in the background)
Daily practice on the piano (parent and child together)
The parent attending all lessons with the child
The student playing at first by ear and then later learning to read music
Establishing a happy and supportive learning environment at home
Joining the Suzuki Music Association
At least one teacher-parent meeting prior to the commencement of formal lessons
Please note: it is expected that piano students have access to a piano at home. Students cannot learn the correct technique or good sound production on a keyboard or digital piano.
Lessons are scheduled during public school terms and are not given on public holidays or during school camps (providing notification is given at the beginning of the term). Accounts are payable by the term in advance and due by the second lesson in each term. Further information on fees and policies can be provided on application.
For more information about the Suzuki method and the Suzuki Association, refer to the Suzuki Music (Victoria) website at: http://www.suzukimusic.org.au
It is also recommended that the following text be purchased and read: Suzuki, Shinʼichi. Nurtured by love. Melbourne: Centre Publications, 1969.