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Author Topic: The Suzuki Method for Teaching Music  (Read 10885 times)
The Architect
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« on: November 28, 2008, 08:12:01 AM »

The Suzuki method was discussed in this thread:

I'd like to start a dedicated thread on this method, and call on all of you who have experienced this method to contribute (again if necessary).

There are two good sites on the Suzuki Method:

Suzuki Association of the Americas:

International Suzuki Association:

If anyone knows of any other good sites, or related resources, please share!


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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2008, 11:12:44 AM »

I didn't know we had it in America.


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« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2008, 03:03:19 AM »

I attended a introduction seminar to Suzuki recently, and it was very interesting.

One point that I feel really distinguishes it from many other music programs is that it does NOT emphasize on taking and passing exams at all - in fact, they will never prepare you for an exam, so if you want your child to take exams you'd have to prepare for it yourself.

Instead, the focus is on the enjoyment of music and the playing of musical instruments.  I think this approach is absolutely wonderful, and also totally in line with what we try to emphasize in relation to early learning in general.

Having been taught the piano the 'traditional' way where the focus was just on passing exams year after year, I am convinced that the typical exam-oriented approach is not only a great way to kill your child's love for playing music, but it also is far less effective in teaching your child 'musicality', where you would intuitively understand music better and be more able to play an instrument by ear and improvise, instead of just slavishly playing by reading notes or from memory.

Don't get me wrong - the ability to sight-read a written piece of music is also a great skill to have.  What I'm talkign about more is the emphasis of the lessons. Almost all the people I know who were taught through exam-oriented courses gave up the instrument after finishing the exams (at whatever level).  I believe that this is largely because they never enjoyed playing the instrument in the first place, and because all they could play were the pieces they had learned, very soon they would find there's nothing they could play, since either they had forgotten how to play those pieces, or don't have the written pieces anymore.

Any of you with experience of learning a musical instrument when you were young? What was your experience? What are your thoughts on this?


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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 07:36:04 AM »

When I was growing up, my older brother chose to play the violin, and I (idolising my sibling as one is often wont to do smile ) decided to play the violin as well.  Our parents never pushed us into playing instruments, and were fairly apathetic towards the whole idea, instead pressuring us in our academic pursuits, so we only really had each other to drive and motivate ourselves to improve and practice (to sheet music).  Exams came and went but it was never the main point;  for us the emphasis was on playing the piece as well as possible, to serve the orchestra as a whole when we eventually performed.  It also meant that sight-reading, "feeling" the music and reacting to the volume/intensity of everyone around you played a bigger part than rote learning and repetitive practice.

As I grew up my tastes fell away from classical music and I picked up guitar, which traditionally has a much deeper scope for improvisation than violin (violin pieces are typically quite carefully composed and rehearsed before performing).  By learning to improvise and adapting to other people's styles, I found a passion for music that resulted from simply enjoying playing the instrument...  In developing that musicality, my own desire to learn more of the theoretical side of things grew quite naturally, simply because learning all the relationships between notes, scales and rhythms suddenly became much more relevant.

I guess in other words, my thoughts are that instilling the love of music is more important in the long run, than pushing your little one to memorize/practice their scales!  Wink



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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2009, 08:00:23 AM »

Thanks for the info.

Do you know how much do they charge?

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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2009, 04:06:16 PM »

Unfortunately, unavailable in Singapore from the websites. Anyone knows otherwise, whether this method is available in Singapore?


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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2009, 12:31:48 AM »

First of all, listening to the music to be learned is the key pedagogical principle in the Suzuki Method, auditory learning happened only after the ability to play the music was developed. By hearing the recording before learning a piece, students internalize an overall concept of the music. The process of absorbing the entire piece through the ears supports what educators call "whole to part" learning.  In other words, you need to give him to listen to the suzuki's cd daily in order to make memorizing and performing easier and more secure.

Secondly, Repitition. Children listen to the recordings of their music over and over again and play their assignments many times. They need to practice every day so the parent and teacher should provide opportunity and incentive for as many repetitions as the child needs.

If you want to go more details for the suzuki method, you should buy some books for the head start.
I would highly recommend "Studying suzuki piano" or Nurtured by Love, It is a must for either parent or teacher if they want to teach their child in suzuki.

You could get them from

or go to
which is a good site for further teaching a little child in reading music notes and theory in fun and easy way.

I started to teach my child when he was three  and he has been playing Twinkle variations for couple months since this piece is the most difficult one in the Vol 1, Unlike the the traditional teaching, once you manage the techniques, you will feel great when you play the rest of the pieces and your child will become more confident and more motivated then, That is the intention of the suzuki method. Now I teach my son scales, what impressed me is he can play it very legato and beautiful.

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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2009, 07:13:14 AM »

Thanks for that, jump9 - karma to you!

iyph, they do have it in Singapore. Check this site out:

For those in Asia, also see the Asia Suzuki Association site:

Baby, re pricing, best to find the relevant country's suzuki centers and ask them directly.


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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2009, 07:58:34 PM »

My daugter has been going for Suzuki piano sine she was 3 and a half. This early introduction to music has made her a confident young girl at the piano , now at 5 yrs. Its the same belief as introducing numbers and alpahabets at an early age. She is encouraged to listen to the Kataoki music cd over and over, while playing, sleeping, in the car, so that she is familiar with a piece of music before her teacher introduces it to her. Most often, she takes not more than a few days, three maximum to learn a piece on the piano, with both hands. Then there is the group lessons with the other kids and end of semester performace. She is not afraid of the stage and she is a natural. Here is a site that tells you more about it. We are in Memphis, TN , USA and Suzuki is a popular teaching of Piano here.
Studies show that it also develops the children's brain and they are more adapt at learning math at a quick pace, understanding concepts easily. I already see that in her when some new math concept is introduced to her. While other kids struggle, she has no problem whatsoever.


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« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2009, 01:16:51 AM »

Thank you KL! I will check it out about their program. Cheers!


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« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2009, 03:32:22 AM »

My husband and son are doing Suzuki violin lessons right now. My son is 2 so his official "lessons" won't start for a few months yet when he turns 3.

Here's what I know for certain. My husband has never played any instrument in his life. He didn't know how to read music. He had never held a violin. He can now play several simple songs. And he loves it!! He enjoys violin so much.

And Timothy begs and begs to play. He's super interested in it. He always says "Listen--daddy's practicin'ing." I don't think it will be a problem at all to get him to want to play.

I'm at the very early stages (it's just been 5 months) so I can't say what happens with it yet, but we really enjoy it!!



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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2009, 12:32:56 PM »

Wow Texaslay thats really nice !!!!!This will encourage me to learn music for my son.Thanks a lot for sharing!!!!!!!!


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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2009, 01:08:40 PM »

That sounds really encouraging texaslady! My son just started Suzuki violin last week. The teacher taught me as well so I can practice with my son. Hopefully I will get to play a few simple songs as well! Did your husband get his own violin?

KL, I checked the website on Singapore Suzuki school. They have a list of registered teachers, but my teacher is not in the list. I am not sure what this means but she was highly recommended by a friend.  unsure

I will probably have a better idea in a few months to see how we progress.

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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2009, 05:12:26 PM »

I don't think it necessarily means anything bad that the teacher is not registered. Why don't you just ask her about it? Or you could write to that association to ask.

BTW, I'm happy to announce that Felicity just started Suzuki lessons. After 1 private lesson and 1 group lesson, she's been learning about feet position and getting familiar with a violin, including practicing how to handle and hold it properly.  Right now she's just using a little foam violin, but I now have to get a real violin - we parents will have to be learning the violin alongside her!

Will keep you all updated!


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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2009, 02:48:04 PM »

Thanks KL. I didn't want to ask the teacher directly for fear that it might offend her! Anyway we've had two classes so far and she's been pretty good.

How to you motivate Felicity to practice? My son wanted to learn BUT doesn't want to practice. It's so frustrating.

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