in Child’s Every Day Life
for the child to become successful in music, we must surround the child with classical music to create what Dr.
Suzuki calls a ‘Musical Environment’. Music can be played to a child from high quality CD’s, the child should be
taken to classical music concerts that are appropriate for the child’s age, the child should be able to observe
music being practiced and performed by other people and the child should be encouraged to make friends with
other children who play musical instruments. Without role models, environmental stimulus, classical music and an
interest to continue practicing an instrument the child will not likely succeed. Dr. Suzuki said “Man is a Son of His
Environment”, which means, that if we raise a child in a musical environment, he will learn to like it and music
will become a second mother tongue for him.
important years in laying a foundation for the child’s intellectual, emotional and sensomotoric developments are
the years before age of 5 years old. Those are the prime years also for starting lessons. Although said that, it
is never too late. We have seen even 70 years ‘young’ beginners becoming successful in violin through hard
involvement is very important. The Child-Teacher-Parent triangle forms a core workgroup in the Suzuki Method.
The Parent’s role is to attend the lessons, take down notes from the lesson, to practice and follow through all
of teachers’ instructions with the child at home. Sometimes it can happen that parents are not in a position to
attend the lessons and practice with child at home. Any adult person that knows the child and has the time and
energy, a grandparent, uncle or auntie or even a nanny can successfully fill that role and open doors to a
wonderful world of classical music for the child who otherwise couldn’t do it.
beginners are encouraged to come and observe other children’s lessons before starting their own lessons. The
Observation Lesson period could last from few months up to a full academic year.
goal for a new Suzuki Parent is to try to establish a steady, daily
practice routine with the child. Practice sessions do not have to be long in the beginning. Short regular
practices done in a positive atmosphere are far more productive than long irregular practices done arguing and
whining. Pleasure, fun and reward in music comes from accomplishment. There is no accomplishment without work.
Therefore we simply have to learn a new habit during our first year of lessons; to practice every day. Dr.
Suzuki said: “Only practice on the days you eat.”
Well balanced practice sessions, where all elements for success are met, is
the second goal for a Suzuki Parent. Good practice session should include working on improving playing
techniques and tone (‘Tonalization’), studying a new piece, repertoire review and at more advance level a
sight reading practice. Advanced students might need to work also on a daily basis on their chamber music and
orchestra materials. As the child grows and progresses, also the length of a practice sessions needs to grow
in order for him to accomplish all the work.
Build New Skills on Top of Old
the home practice is the most important factor in a process of creating ability and successful violin playing.
The Teacher will spend 4-6 weeks with the parents before the private lessons begin, explaining ‘How to Practice at Home’ during Parent Orientation. Mastering playing techniques and songs following a
step-by-step learning process, the teacher will guide the student to a path way, where we are building new
skills on top of truly mastered old skills. Repetition in high
numbers is a key to mastering these skills. By rushing through the pieces without learning the skills to do it
right will never lead to success. Solid playing techniques and skills open doors to successful and fast
progress. Suzuki students are requested to memorize and to keep up each piece. The Suzuki repertoire is also
designed so, that each piece makes a new step and building block towards the next piece and next skill set.
Therefore constant review is necessary.
learn their own mother toque through listening and imitation. The same way Suzuki students learn their first
book(s), by listening, watching and imitation. The most important listening recording for them is the Suzuki CD
that should be played on a daily basis at home. If we want to teach classical music to our children, we should
play a good variety of that frequently to our children. There is nothing wrong with pop music. The balance
between pop music and classical music what we offer, just has to be right to send a correct message to the child
about our own likes and dislikes. Just like, if we want our children to learn to speak fluent English and they
hear us only speaking German or French, there is no way they would become fluent in English. We cannot expect
them to learn to appreciate classical violin music or to become passionate about it, if they never hear it and
if we don’t show that we like it.
Group Lessons and
Lessons provide students an opportunity to get together with a teacher and other students of a same level
ideally once a week, to study common repertoire, to review pieces together, to play musical games and to
experience the social aspect of doing music. Parents are expected to follow their children also to group
lessons. Group practices lead to group performances taking place a number of times through the year. These
performances can be quite spectacular when tens and sometimes in the workshop situations hundreds of children
join together to give a high energy performance. Good unison playing skills are necessary towards good orchestra
Solo Recitals and other public performances are a child’s opportunity to demonstrate his or her skills and
progress. These performances are extremely important building blocks for strong self esteem. Nothing is as
rewarding as a performance that goes really well after months of hard work and practice. We should never
pressure a child to perform in a concert, if the child is not ready for that. Every effort should also be made
by teachers, parents, friends and relatives not to turn these concerts into comparisons or competitions between
children. We should instead turn these situations into celebrations of each and every child’s individual
accomplishment under given circumstances. Every student’s very best
effort is what counts. Correct performance piece selection is very important in preparation towards the concert.
Where a student and sometimes a parent may think that it is a good idea to pick the last piece learned to be
performed, since they have recently worked most on that piece, teachers usually would suggest that it is not the
best choice. We should never select a piece for a performance that is not fully “sunken in” and not carefully
prepared. Most accidents that students have in concerts, happen
with pieces that have been most recently studied and memorized. Good preparation for a public performance is to
organize a small home concert for the closest family members and friends in a very casual atmosphere.
Motivation and Positive
factor is naturally built into the Suzuki Method when done right and when everything is in place in this puzzle.
The biggest challenge that teachers and parents both face is to build a nurturing, positive and encouraging
atmosphere when working with a child. This can be especially challenging for parents who have do their practices
in the evening after long hours in their day jobs and when the whole family is tired. We should always remember
the encouraging words of Dr. Suzuki “If Love is Deep Much Can be Accomplished”.