Suzuki piano education
The Suzuki piano approach is based on the philosophy and teaching methods of the Japanese violinist, pedagogue and humanitarian, Dr Shinichi Suzuki. Dr Suzuki believed that every child can be educated to a very high level using the same principles as those used for language acquisition.
Some of the basic principles underlying the Suzuki approach:
- All children possess enormous musical potential; all depends on how it is developed. (There are no auditions, no belief that one child is more 'talented' than another.)
- Environment is the motivating force behind natural learning. The stronger the musical environment, the easier and more successful the natural learning. The Suzuki learning environment includes: weekly lessons, group classes, a home practice and listening programme, participation in concerts and workshops, absorption of the musical mastery of professional artists by listening to CDs, watching DVDs and attending live concerts.
- Parental involvement is central to the child's success. Undertaking the role of Suzuki parenting is an important decision, as parents play a fundamental role in the Suzuki learning process. The Suzuki parent attends all lessons, and organises and supervises the home listening programme and daily practice.
- A child should start as young as is practical in a step-by-step process according to each child's individual needs. The early years are the best years for sensory learning, and this period is crucial for listening and responding to the world of music. The earlier the start, the better. Children from the age of 3 can begin, as decided by the teacher. (See also MusicNOW!)
- A daily musical routine of practice and listening is the basis for
ability development. Regular review of repertoire and the refining of the basics
in the child's playing leads to more expressive playing.
“As they advance, their musicality, sense of tempo, and expressiveness will develop, and they will progress faster and faster.”(Suzuki)
- Children follow each step of the Suzuki repertoire sequence. Each piece in the repertoire is a building block for the student's careful development. Constant review and careful repetition of known pieces is the secret of increased memory and performance ability.
- Group learning is key to the Suzuki approach, and is achieved (1) in the form of 'shared' individual lessons, (2) through observation of other students' lessons, (3) in the weekly musicianship classes, and (4) by participation in concerts and workshops.
- Never hurry; never rest. This was one of Suzuki's favourite sayings, and reminds teachers, parents and students of the importance of patient and persistent effort in training excellent skill and developing great ability in any area of life.
Dr Suzuki's approach is concerned with the education of the whole child through music:
‘Our purpose does not lie in a movement to create professional musicians, but to create people of beautiful minds and fine ability through an unparalleled, uniquely musical approach. We engage in human education through music so that children will grow beautifully with high sensitivity.’