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Suzuki Philosophy 101

Dr. Suzuki's philosophy was "Every child can."  He came upon this idea when observing Japanese children from different regions easily speaking the dialect of that region.  From this observation, he developed his teaching method also known as "The Mother Tongue Approach".  His idea that children/people can learn music the way they learn their language, through their senses, created the opportunity for children to begin violin lessons at a very young age.   Delaying learning to read music until after a child knows how to play the instrument, allows the teacher and student to focus on technique and tone. 

When learning music through the senses, the most important element to include in the environment is listening.  There can never be too much.  The more familiar a child is with a song he/she is trying to learn the easier it will be to learn it. 

Review or playing known songs is the next vital component of learning music through the senses.  Mastery of technique is achieved through playing songs that are well known. 

Does your child complain that these are "baby songs", too easy, or boring?  Try adding challenges.

Play with your eyes closed.

Answer questions while playing w/o stopping or making a mistake.

Walk around the room.

Stand on one leg.

Piano students can place a quarter on their wrist near the bone. 

Create distractions, such as loud noise, tv, another song playing, or dog barking.  Student should be able to maintain accuracy of music and technique.

Try playing as slow as possible or as fast as possible.

Learning Priorities:

The most important aspect to successful music learning, after the listening environment, is correct posture or instrument set-up.

When your child is practicing, that is the first focus of mastery.  If posture, ie placement of instrument, position of fingers on the violin or the bow, or position of student at the piano is incorrect, trying to play with good tone, intonation, or proper technique is a losing battle.

When proper posture can be maintained, then attention can be given to tone.

Ability to find good or resonant tone is followed by adding new notes with good tone.

When the student understands how to release the resonant tone from the instrumen,t attention can be given to coordination.  Next to playing with good tone, string crossings and finger changes are the coordination challenges.  A student has to learn how to hide these in the bow changes.

When coordination is set, the student can then begin to figure out the songs that have been playing in the environment.

Once this process starts, the student is well on the way to mastering the instrument and only needs time with the instrument to increase the skill and playing level.