Violinist and teacher Shinichi Suzuki developed what is known today as the “Suzuki Method” after he realized the implications of the fact that children all over world learn to speak their native tongue effortlessly. He began to apply the basic concepts of language development to the learning of music and named his method Talent Education. Suzuki believed that “musical ability is not an inborn talent but an ability which can be developed. Any child who is properly trained can develop musical ability, just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. The potential of every child is unlimited.” Here at Meredith College we have adopted Suzuki’s philosophy that every child can learn to play a musical instrument. Some key components to the success of this approach include:
An Early Beginning
The early years of development are most crucial for learning muscle coordination and training the ear. We recommend that you get your child listening to music as early as possible and we recommend that children start formal lessons at age three or four. Although starting musical training at an early age is beneficial, we believe that you are never too old to begin.
Parents are required to attend lessons and serve as their child’s at home teacher. This may sound like a daunting task, but the instructors at Meredith College will help you to learn the basics of your child’s instrument.
Listening and Repetition
Just as your child learned how to speak by listening to thousands of words daily, your child can learn music by listening every day. Repetition is essential to learning how to play an instrument. Children learn and store music in the same way that they store words.
It is through constant praise and encouragement that this method is most successful. Although Suzuki believed that every child can learn and develop, he believed that every child learns at their own rate. Breaking down learning into small steps that can be mastered by the child helps build their confidence.
Children will have private and group lessons. The group lessons are to help reinforce techniques learned in private lessons and to build a sense of community within the program. It is important for students to be around other young violinist in order to stay motivated.
Delayed Note Reading
We believe that it is important to develop nice playing posture and refine your child’s musical ear before we introduce note reading. This way, instead of focusing on how to read music, they first learn how to create a beautiful tone that will bring them joy for the rest of their playing career.