What's the Suzuki Method about? Why study Suzuki Guitar?
What is involved? Who is this Stephen Bondy, anyway?
What is the Suzuki Method?
The Suzuki method was created by and named after Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. To read more about the life of Dr. Suzuki, click here or read the book, "Nurtured by Love." The Suzuki method is now being taught all over the world, to hundreds of thousands of children. It is widely recognized as a highly successful method for teaching very young children to play music. There are several basic principles in the Suzuki Method which are outlined below.
Mother Tongue Approach

The Suzuki method is often referred to as the Mother Tongue Approach. In the Suzuki method we try to teach music the same way we "teach" language. Just as we learn to speak our mother tongue well before we can read or write, students in the Suzuki method also learn to play music and develop a level of instrumental competence before they read music on the instrument. Just as a baby is surrounded by language, so must the Suzuki student be immersed in the music they will study. The student listens daily to a recording of the music they will study, hopefully many times a day. Knowing the music intimately frees the student to be concerned with the quality of the tone they create, and with the technical accuracy and efficiency of their playing.

Everyone understands that their child will become literate in their mother tongue, and the situation is no different for the Suzuki student. We expect them to develop full competence in music literacy. If you have heard that students in the Suzuki Method do not read music, you have heard incorrectly. Historically there have been teachers associating themselves with the Suzuki method who did not teach music reading, but they were not Suzuki teachers. Any worthwhile method should demand the student become musically literate, and the Suzuki method is clearly worthwhile in this regard!

Parental Importance

Children learn their mother tongue from their parents, so it is necessary that if we call this the Mother Tongue Approach, surely the bulk of the learning comes from the parent. This is exactly true.

The importance of the parent in this method is impossible to overstate. Since young children are incapable of making long term commitments, it is the parent's responsibility to make the commitment on behalf of the child. The parent is committing to regular attendance at two lessons per week, daily practice with the child, and daily listening to the recorded music. In the Stephen Bondy Guitar Studio, the parent who assumes responsibility for the daily practice (hereafter referred to as the "Home Coach) will attend four Home Coach training sessions where they will learn the tools they need to help their child succeed. This includes information about the Suzuki method, the rudiments of playing the instrument, strategies for practicing with their child and a great deal of moral support! The Home Coach is embarking upon a fantastic journey with their child, and these sessions are designed to prepare the parent and child for success.

Small Steps

The repertoire in the Suzuki method is designed in such a way that the child can progress from music that is very simple, to very demanding repertoire, always with a feeling of mastery. The student will take small incremental steps which lead to thorough confidence and mastery on the instrument. The job of a Suzuki teacher is to take the smallest task and break it down even further for a student. We need the student to feel confident andsecure, not frustrated. The repertoire is arranged very well to accomplish this task, as generally speaking, each piece presents one new demand on the student, so the student is free to focus on the one new issue, as the previous issues are completely assimilated into their playing mechanism. It is a well researched pedagogy and is reaping benefits for thousands of children.

Two Lessons a Week

In the Suzuki studio, the child will attend two lessons each week. One lesson will be a private lesson where the student is given very specific personal instruction on how to play the instrument. The other lesson is a group lesson where the student has the opportunity to play his/her instrument and learn more about music in the company of peers. The group lesson is a brilliant motivating force for children. It allows them to see other children their own age doing what they are doing. The group does not introduce negative competition in anyway, but rather the children come to rejoice in their friend's accomplishments. While different students may be at different levels in the repertoire, they are all continually working on excellent tone, ease of playing, and beautiful musicality.

Better People Through Music

Dr. Suzuki was adamant that he was not trying to create an army of super children with freakish musical abilities. He was not even trying to create professional musicians. Rather, he felt that the study of music helped to create beautiful people. Surely continued study of beautiful music must penetrate deep into children's beings and create warmer, fuller, more beautiful people. We hope to create a lifelong love of music and beauty, but the end goal is that this beauty manifest itself in the children. As simplistic and perhaps idealistic as it sounds, we hope to create a better world through the study of music.

 

What is the Suzuki Method about? What's involved? Why study Suzuki Guitar? Who is Stephen Bondy?
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