More than fifty years
ago, Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki realized the implications of the fact
that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He
began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of
music, and called his method the Mother-Tongue Approach. The ideas of parent
responsibility, loving encouragement, constant repetition, etc, are some of the
special features of the Suzuki approach.
The early years are
crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to
music should begin at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four,
but it is never too late to begin.
Children learn words
after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Listening to music every
day is important, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so
the child knows them immediately.
is essential in learning to play an instrument. Children do not learn a word or
piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or
repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.
As with language, the
child’s effort to learn an instrument should be met with sincere praise and
encouragement. Each child learns at his/her own rate, building on small steps
so that each one can be mastered. Children are also encouraged to support each
other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.
Children do not practice
exercises to learn to talk, but use language for its natural purpose of
communication and self-expression. Pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are designed
to present technical problems to be learned in the context of the music rather
than through dry technical exercises.
Children learn to
read after their ability to talk has been well established. In the same way,
children should develop basic technical competence on their instruments before
being taught to read music.
Once reading has
commenced it is practiced on a daily basis and the Suzuki student becomes a confident
reader because of this. The reading repertoire is separate from the Suzuki
books and students can join ensembles, chamber music and orchestra to further
develop their reading skills.
Suzuki Music Graduations
The Graduation is a
celebration of the student’s achievement on reaching a high level of playing at
each book level.
There are 10 Suzuki
books and post book 10+ graduations.
The last graduation
is the complete Concerto in E minor by Mendelssohn.
The Graduation piece
is recorded with accompaniment and sent into the Victorian Suzuki Association
to be audited.
The student will
receive a written report and certificate.