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Music Lessons: suzuki method, traditional method or other?


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My son takes violin with the Suzuki method. We really like that he is learning by ear, as well as the opportunity for group lessons and performances throughout the year. It requires a lot of time on the part of the parent as you have to go to all lessons and participate in practicing at home. For us, it has been a wonderful experience.

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We have gone the traditional route for music lessons. I prefer my kids to know how to read music from the beginning-- I've known a handful of kids who have learned via the Suzuki method (mostly piano) and have been shocked at their inability to read music (including sight reading very simple pieces) even after playing their instrument for many years.

 

Not sure one is better than the other... just my preference!

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We found a wonderful teacher who uses both methods. Dds have taking piano lesson with her for many years now. Dd (13) for 6 years and dd (7) for 3 years. Our teacher uses the Suzuki method with about 1/2 emphasis and traditional for the other 1/2. All of her students are required to participate in Festival and Guild each year. She also encourages participation in Sonata/Sonatina contest. Each year the girls must work on their levels for Festival and Guild with scales, chords (cadences) and arpeggios. (Hopefully, I spelled that correctly.:001_smile:) They have theory books and work through these as well. When my dds were younger, she would play matching and counting games for theory practice. Thus, they listen and play from a Suzuki book, have some class meetings but not too many, practice reading music and theory and learn and play traditional music. We love her!!

 

So, all that to say (:tongue_smilie:) that perhaps you could find a teacher who incorporates both methods.

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How does your child learn? I always expected to go Suzuki for my DD because I teach in a school of music which has a huge Suzuki program. But by age 2, it was obvious that DD was fascinated with symbolic language and learned mostly visually, and Suzuki would have denied her the part of music that really attracted her. She was ready to learn to read music, and while we've worked to develop her ear, reading is still a stronger modality for her.

 

For most of the students I teach (I teach toddler and preschool classes which either are pre-twinkle or accompany early levels of Suzuki), Suzuki is right for them because, simply put, at the ages I have them (0-7), they're not ready to read yet. Not text, not music. Suzuki lets them progress and enjoy playing an instrument while they can learn the theory (from me) at a level they can handle it-which might be months where our primary theory skill is simply recognizing and moving appropriately for eighth notes vs quarter notes.

 

The key, I believe, in any early childhood music instruction, is to not neglect the other way of learning music. So, if you're using a traditional program, still spend time on listening, on picking out melodies by ear, of hearing inflections and technique, and of developing audiation. If you're using an auditory program, immerse the child in seeing music early, and provide that bridge. It doesn't mean that they'll be able to read the rhythm that corresponds to "Mississippi-hot dog" at age 3-but I can tell you that around age 6, when my students read a rhythm and clap it, most of them can say "Oh, that's in X song in book 2!" And soon after that, they really make a jump in sight reading on violin or piano.

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How old are your dc? It is better to start Suzuki with dc between the ages of 3-6. Suzuki instruction tries to imitate how language is learned. First you learn to speak then you learn to read. First you learn to play then you learn to read music. Learning to read music is supposed to start at the same time as learning to read books. In a "pure" Suzuki Method, dc are supposed to listen to the music for several months before instruction is to start. If you dc already knows how to read books, the Suzuki Method will still work, but may not work any better than a traditional method. Especially if the traditional method has your dc listen to a recording of the music they are learning.

 

My suggestion- If you dc are 7+ years old, go with the method you are most comfortable with. If your dc are 6 or under I would defiantly go with Suzuki.

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My two 5 YO sons recently started violin lessons (they have had 4 or 5 lessons so far, 30 minutes each lesson, although they are doing the lessons together). Their teacher uses a mix of Suzuki and traditional and it seems to work really well. She teaches them whole note, whole rest, quarter note, quarter rest, etc. by playing games. They also put out a bunch of notes, rests, etc. on the carpet and clap the timing/rests to music (composing on the carpet). They are also practicing holding the violin and bow properly, learning the notes of the strings (E, A, D, G) and playing each string, so they can learn the proper way to pull the bow back and forth, how far to go, proper motion, etc.

 

They are really enjoying it and seem to be learning a lot. The mix of games and learning to play together keeps their interest.

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My daughter started playing violin just shy of age 5 (after begging to play for over a year).... We started with the Suzuki method because of her age and the fact it was a lot easier to find a teacher who would teach someone that young. She is now 7 and her current teacher is teaching Suzuki and at the same time, helping us with teaching her to read music.

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I agree with whoever asked "how do your children learn?"

 

I went with Suzuki because my kids are ear-driven. I am also, and I was frustrated beyond belief by traditional lessons - and they didn't even get me to read music well that way.

 

Our Suzuki school starts note-reading at the same time as traditional lessons - around 6-7yo. It's just that a lot of kids have been playing for years at that point, and their playing level is well above their note-reading, but they do learn to note-read. Since my kids are ear-driven, they'll sometimes try to sluff on the note-reading, but the teacher will have them do the note-reading first and eat up a lot of the "fun" part of the lesson, so the next week they buckle down.

 

However, if you have a visual rather than ear-driven child they may be driven as nutty by Suzuki as we'd by by traditional lessons.

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Which method do your children use in musical instrument lessons: suzuki, traditional or other? Why did you choose this method?

 

Suzuki 'cause they were young when they started. A traditional teacher wouldn't take them.

 

After they had played for a few years the Suzuki teachers added sightreading. Now, although they all study with Suzuki teachers, the older 2 could easily switch to traditional and would have no trouble. We won't, though, 'cause our experience with Suzuki teachers has been excellent.

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My son does Suzuki piano, as will his brothers in the fall.

 

I chose Suzuki because of the ear training method and because the teacher clicked with me and with my son.

 

After....gosh, almost 6!...years, I think the relationship with the teacher is the most important part, even more important than method. We were fortunate to find a teacher who's a great combination of high standards and flexibility. She accommodates my sometimes wiggly attention-challenged son, encourages his strengths and expects him to work at his best. My son loves her. He comes away from his lessons encouraged and inspired to play more and play it well almost every week.

 

Cat

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She has incorporated all sorts of music "strands" into dd's lessons--theory, ear training, artistry, note reading, composing, etc.

 

This is important too.

 

When choosing a teacher, I'd ask about how the teacher incorporates these into a student's lessons and practice as the student progresses.

 

Cat

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After....gosh, almost 6!...years, I think the relationship with the teacher is the most important part, even more important than method.

 

I have to strongly agree with this too. We have such a great relationship with our music teachers (piano and violin). My kids really want to work hard for them.

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My boys have all learned with Suzuki and my daughter has always done traditional piano lessons.

 

What I notice about Suzuki is that no matter where we are or who our teacher is it seems like the community is a very important aspect of music. The children take group lessons right from the start and learn how to play together, how to lead a group, how to play up in front of a group, how to be a member of the audience, how to notice something a friend is doing very well, etc.

 

Being part of a musical community means the teachers are well supported as well. They have all tended to be active learners who enjoy watching other teachers teach, who admit they still have a lot to learn, and who enjoy working with other teachers. All of our traditional piano teachers have tended to be on their own - not really any collaboration with other teachers or with students as a group.

 

Being part of a musical community also means that our teachers encourage us to attend camps and other opportunities to learn from other teachers and with other kids. And it means they've all been committed to give back to our community. Most of our performances with our Suzuki groups have been at retirement homes where the old people absolutely love seeing our kids.

 

I really love the emphasis on being part of a community. Instead of feeling like we're competing with other students we feel like we're all part of the same team and we share in each other's successes.

 

I drive an hour each way to our music school for our Suzuki lessons, but I'd drive way further if I had to. Watching the teachers working together with the students is amazing and well worth a long drive each week.

 

As an aside, our first teacher did a lot of foundational note reading activities during group. Things like banging out rhythms, marching in rhythm, laying out sticks to represent the rhythm, working on names of the notes (we used to make alphabet snakes), etc. By the time the kids were about halfway through book 1 they started using a separate book to learn how to note read. By the time my ds was at the end of book 1 he was able to read all of his music. Now he's in book 4 and listening is still a huge part of what we do, but he learns his new pieces by reading the music.

 

The teacher we have now starts the little ones off with music to look at (she colour codes the stems for which string they play on and she writes finger numbers under the notes at this stage). I do notice that ds (5) has posture issues when he's concentrating too hard on the notes. There are a lot of things for a young person to keep in his head when playing a song, when the kid is relying on the notes that's where his eyes are. I like having them independent of a book in the beginning so they can check on their fingers and their bow grip and other things without getting lost.

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I think I forgot to answer the actual question :)

 

We began Suzuki lessons because that was all that was available for such a young age, but we continued with them because I learned as much as I could about the Suzuki method and decided that was what I wanted for my children.

 

It mirrors a lot of my ideas about homeschooling.

 

Central to the Suzuki philosophy is the parent/child/teacher triangle. They place a big importance on this - each corner of the triangle is of equal importance and the parent is the child's teacher at home. It made a lot of sense to me, being a homeschooler, I think parental involvement is an important element of success.

 

Another central idea is creating an environment that will support music learning and inspire the child to learn. You play the songs on your stereo so the child hears them, in many studios the parent learns to play the violin first so the child gets excited and wants to play, you go to live performances and have friends play their music for you. I love what the Montessori method teachers about creating a learning environment and so much of that is emphasized in the Suzuki method.

 

I also really like the support. There are a number of books about the Suzuki method that have been so helpful to me. They've shaped the way we practice and even the way I parent (to some degree). I love receiving the Suzuki Journal in the mail. I just received my latest copy today and there are some fantastic articles about how to make practicing more productive. I love going to institutes and being taught by like-minded teachers there who are able to bring in a fresh perspective but still have a consistency of underlying values and goals.

 

I love the focus on quality rather than quantitiy. It's really about the process rather than how many songs someone can play.

 

Yes, there are going to be fantastic traditional teachers who also have similar values, but I like knowing I'm a part of a community of musicians and learners who have all signed up for the same thing. And when we've had to change teachers, knowing the next teacher is a Suzuki teacher helped us narrow down our choices because we knew that they would value the same things we did.

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How does your child learn? I always expected to go Suzuki for my DD because I teach in a school of music which has a huge Suzuki program. But by age 2, it was obvious that DD was fascinated with symbolic language and learned mostly visually, and Suzuki would have denied her the part of music that really attracted her. She was ready to learn to read music, and while we've worked to develop her ear, reading is still a stronger modality for her.

 

For most of the students I teach (I teach toddler and preschool classes which either are pre-twinkle or accompany early levels of Suzuki), Suzuki is right for them because, simply put, at the ages I have them (0-7), they're not ready to read yet. Not text, not music. Suzuki lets them progress and enjoy playing an instrument while they can learn the theory (from me) at a level they can handle it-which might be months where our primary theory skill is simply recognizing and moving appropriately for eighth notes vs quarter notes.

 

Just to give an opposite perspective, my son is also very visually oriented and was a very early reader, and that's precisely one of the reasons I've been so pleased with our Suzuki experience. The focus on listening (they do learn note-reading and theory, but the emphasis is on the ear) has been great for him, and that's something that I never in a million years could have taught him myself.

 

My son is in year 2 of a Suzuki cello program at a local conservatory, and it's just an all-around stellar program. His individual teacher is superb, and the group classes and frequent performances -- while admittedly a pain in the neck scheduling-wise -- have been such valuable learning experiences. In general, I think that this particular program, at least, is just a perfect combination of a serious approach to music, but in an age-appropriate way.

 

That said, it is a huge commitment of time, money, and parental involvement.

Edited by JennyD
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We have gone the traditional route for music lessons. I prefer my kids to know how to read music from the beginning-- I've known a handful of kids who have learned via the Suzuki method (mostly piano) and have been shocked at their inability to read music (including sight reading very simple pieces) even after playing their instrument for many years.

 

Not sure one is better than the other... just my preference!

 

That's definitely not normal for Suzuki! We've gone to Suzuki institutes for five years and we've never come across a child who was advanced enough for orchestra but couldn't read the notes. The Suzuki kids we know also do chamber music and play in orchestras and definitely can read without any sort of a problem.

 

Our first Suzuki teacher did a lot of theory in her group lessons and had the kids working through a note reading book by about the middle of book 1. By the end of book 1 my ds was reading all of the songs he could play. He is a very strong reader now. As are all of the kids in his current Suzuki group and the kids at his level at summer camp.

 

Just because they don't learn to read at the same time that they are learning how to hold a bow, get the violin up on to their shoulder, fix their feet, keep their bow on the highway, keep their left thum soft and straight and their right thumb bent, open and close their bowing arm like a gate, keep their scroll up, keep their nose pointed toward their scroll, keep their head up and their shoulder soft, etc, doesn't mean that they don't begin reading until it's too late :)

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That's definitely not normal for Suzuki! We've gone to Suzuki institutes for five years and we've never come across a child who was advanced enough for orchestra but couldn't read the notes. The Suzuki kids we know also do chamber music and play in orchestras and definitely can read without any sort of a problem.

 

Our first Suzuki teacher did a lot of theory in her group lessons and had the kids working through a note reading book by about the middle of book 1. By the end of book 1 my ds was reading all of the songs he could play. He is a very strong reader now. As are all of the kids in his current Suzuki group and the kids at his level at summer camp.

 

Just because they don't learn to read at the same time that they are learning how to hold a bow, get the violin up on to their shoulder, fix their feet, keep their bow on the highway, keep their left thum soft and straight and their right thumb bent, open and close their bowing arm like a gate, keep their scroll up, keep their nose pointed toward their scroll, keep their head up and their shoulder soft, etc, doesn't mean that they don't begin reading until it's too late :)

 

:iagree: This has been my experience too. I have heard from others that Suzuki kids don't learn to read music, but that's not what I've seen having been involved with Suzuki for 7 years. My violinist just got accepted into the upper level orchestra here - she has no problem with the note-reading. And a large percentage of the kids in the orchestra are fellow Suzuki students.

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Learning to read music is supposed to start at the same time as learning to read books. In a "pure" Suzuki Method, dc are supposed to listen to the music for several months before instruction is to start. If you dc already knows how to read books, the Suzuki Method will still work, but may not work any better than a traditional method.

 

I disagree with that last sentence. In our experience, learning to read music, books, and learning with the Suzuki Method are independent things (unrelated to one another).

 

1st child learned to read (2nd grade level) by 5. Soon afterwards he started Suzuki cello. 2 years later he learned to sightread. (Suzuki teacher introduced it.)

 

2nd child started Suzuki viola at 3.5. Two years later she learned to sightread. (Again, Suzuki teacher introduced it.) A year and a half after that she was reading at a 2nd grade level.

 

3rd child started Suzuki cello at 4.5. A few months later, now 5, he is reading at a 2nd grade level. He is not ready to learn to sightread.

 

I would say that learning with the Suzuki Method works, for my children, loads better than with the traditional method. Oldest 2 have wonderful relative pitch and learn well by ear. 2nd child has perfect pitch. Both sightread very well and play in orchestras and chamber groups.

 

I'm glad they study with the Suzuki method and I wouldn't do it any other way.

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However, if you have a visual rather than ear-driven child they may be driven as nutty by Suzuki as we'd by by traditional lessons.

 

My oldest is a strong visual learner. It's his prefered modality. He started (and continues with) Suzuki lessons and I'm glad we did. It's been more work for him than for his auditory sister, but (although he still prefers to learn things visually) he has developed quite a good ear. He's less lopsided than he would have been if we would have favored his strengths.

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My boys have all learned with Suzuki and my daughter has always done traditional piano lessons.

 

What I notice about Suzuki is that no matter where we are or who our teacher is it seems like the community is a very important aspect of music. The children take group lessons right from the start and learn how to play together, how to lead a group, how to play up in front of a group, how to be a member of the audience, how to notice something a friend is doing very well, etc.

 

Being part of a musical community means the teachers are well supported as well. They have all tended to be active learners who enjoy watching other teachers teach, who admit they still have a lot to learn, and who enjoy working with other teachers. All of our traditional piano teachers have tended to be on their own - not really any collaboration with other teachers or with students as a group.

 

Being part of a musical community also means that our teachers encourage us to attend camps and other opportunities to learn from other teachers and with other kids. And it means they've all been committed to give back to our community. Most of our performances with our Suzuki groups have been at retirement homes where the old people absolutely love seeing our kids.

 

I really love the emphasis on being part of a community. Instead of feeling like we're competing with other students we feel like we're all part of the same team and we share in each other's successes.

 

 

This is really the reason my kids love music so much and the reason we continue.

 

I'm so glad you added this -- a very important thing for people to know about the Suzuki method!

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My oldest is a strong visual learner. It's his prefered modality. He started (and continues with) Suzuki lessons and I'm glad we did. It's been more work for him than for his auditory sister, but (although he still prefers to learn things visually) he has developed quite a good ear. He's less lopsided than he would have been if we would have favored his strengths.

 

Yes, this is what I was trying to get at above wrt my son (who is also a visual learner doing Suzuki cello), but you put it much more clearly.

 

I have to say, being a strong visual learner myself, not to mention 38 years old, I am amazed by how my own (tin) ear is improving after 1.5 years of this. I can tell whether the cello is in tune about 1000 times better than I could at the beginning. I still can't tune it precisely, of course, but at least I can now tell when the whole thing is completely out of whack.

 

It's great to hear that the community aspect is common to Suzuki, not just our program, since that's been one of the things that we've enjoyed the most.

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It's great to hear that the community aspect is common to Suzuki, not just our program, since that's been one of the things that we've enjoyed the most.

 

Do you all do the School for Strings? We attended a summer institute there once. The teachers were great -- and there really was a strong sense of community. The kids were also very warm and welcoming (even of us "outsiders").

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Do you all do the School for Strings? We attended a summer institute there once. The teachers were great -- and there really was a strong sense of community. The kids were also very warm and welcoming (even of us "outsiders").

 

No -- we're actually at a different program. We did a fantastic parent-child music program at SFS, but it was so inconveniently located and the schedule just didn't work for us. The one we chose was structured very similarly but easier (or, 'slightly less nightmarish,' I should say) to get to and considerably less expensive.

 

I went back and forth on the whole thing, but as it turned out, our teacher also teaches at SFS and we probably would have been assigned to him, so in retrospect it was probably six of one, half dozen of the other.

 

The School for Strings has a recital at Carnegie Hall every five years and they invite all Suzuki students in the city to participate. It's this May -- should be quite the experience!

Edited by JennyD
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US:

 

Suzuki ages 3-11/13ish, depending on needs/teacher/etc.

 

Traditional ages 6 & up.

 

Why?

 

If a good Suzuki teacher is available, I'd advise that for ages 3-8ish for sure. A good Suzuki teacher is the perfect combo of musician/music teacher and early childhood educator.

 

Starting at ages 8ish, I think the choice is more dependent on the individual teacher.

 

Suzuki does have some very unique benefits in the way it presents advanced concepts to an early student, but in such an incremental way that the student can master advanced concepts early. The quality of the teacher is very important in Suzuki since young kids are by nature more sensitive to the personal interaction, and could be turned off to music altogether if you choose poorly.

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Which method do your children use in musical instrument lessons: suzuki, traditional or other? Why did you choose this method?

 

My younger takes Suzuki violin (started at 4), my older takes Suzuki piano (started age 5 1/2). I think for young kids, it's the best approach. In particular for an instrument like violin where having a good ear can make you much more successful. Our Suzuki piano teacher prioritizes reading from day one, so there really has been no down side to my son's Suzuki piano. He's been taking 4 1/2 years, is finishing Suzuki book 4, and could transfer to a traditional teacher tomorrow without problem. Actually, only 1/4 to 1/2 of what he is doing now is Suzuki repertoire.

 

I know there are kids that don't read well that are using Suzuki, but there are also kids that don't read well that take traditional lessons. You learn what you practice. Music reading isn't particularly difficult, but you have to practice it to gain skill. I know in my son's piano teacher studio, he has some kids that just never practice reading even though our teacher puts very high value on it and has and encourages his kids taking theory exams. You can lead a horse to water ... :001_smile: Our piano teacher also does piano guild auditions. I think good Suzuki piano teachers now take a very balanced approach.

 

I wouldn't recommend Suzuki to a parent who wasn't enthusiastic about being very involved in the process. I'd recommend waiting until your child was old enough to take lessons on themselves. From what I've seen (I see hundreds of kids play every year through competitions and recitals my older plays), the Suzuki students are always stronger in artistry and technque. Might just be a side affect of starting earlier.

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From what I've seen (I see hundreds of kids play every year through competitions and recitals my older plays), the Suzuki students are always stronger in artistry and technque. Might just be a side affect of starting earlier.

 

I think it comes from what one practices.

 

Some friends' kids study piano and violin traditionally. They don't go back and practice pieces they've been playing for the last 4-5 years on a regular basis. Once it's played, it's collected so to speak and music moves on like "grades." The kids don't want to play a simple piece if they can play a Sonatina for example.

 

Suzuki kids keep all of their repertoire polished, but the real reason is because they use those polished pieces to practice new skills, artistry, and techniques. It's like scaffolding. It's easy to practice vibrato when you're practicing it on a simple piece you could play inside out and backwards blindfolded, on one foot, and while having a conversation. (For those who don't know Suzuki --I'm not exaggerating: Suzuki kids do this kind of thing for kicks sometimes in group classes. Of course it's used to reinforce the point that they should practice a piece until they *can* play it that way so they can spend their time focusing on the musicality and not getting the right notes/rhythm.)

 

Anyway, Suzuki kids will play their Twinkles, even after 6+ years. Those Twinkles sure do sound different, though! The kids learn that music is not a progression and it's not *what* you can play but *how* you play that counts.

 

I've noticed, in groups of friends getting together for a concert, the traditionally-trained kids don't want to play "easy" pieces, even with friends, b/c they've moved beyond that level. (They'll even sit out the group songs if they're too "easy.") The Suzuki kids, though, will play easier pieces in a heartbeat if it means doing it with a friend and just playing beautiful music. (They'll usually volunteer to play a harmony part, but they're happy to play the familiar melody, too.)

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My son takes violin with the Suzuki method. We really like that he is learning by ear, as well as the opportunity for group lessons and performances throughout the year. It requires a lot of time on the part of the parent as you have to go to all lessons and participate in practicing at home. For us, it has been a wonderful experience.

 

I've heard good things about Suzuki, and used to teach traditional lessons. Either way, your child will do best if you sit down and help them, at least for the first year or two, particularly if they're young. Expect this stage to take longer, perhaps much longer, if lessons are your idea, not theirs. I was consistently able to tell whose parents were involved. And by "involved" I'm not talking about nagging at them to "go get your practicing done," but more of a "sit down with me & show me what you're doing" scenario. Have them perform for you, help them make sure they follow all the instructions and remember to do their theory/sight reading/drill games/etc. Some kids won't need a lot of assistance, but most kids will benefit from it, even if they don't absolutely require it.

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I think it comes from what one practices.

 

Some friends' kids study piano and violin traditionally. They don't go back and practice pieces they've been playing for the last 4-5 years on a regular basis. Once it's played, it's collected so to speak and music moves on like "grades." The kids don't want to play a simple piece if they can play a Sonatina for example.

 

Suzuki kids keep all of their repertoire polished, but the real reason is because they use those polished pieces to practice new skills, artistry, and techniques. It's like scaffolding. It's easy to practice vibrato when you're practicing it on a simple piece you could play inside out and backwards blindfolded, on one foot, and while having a conversation. (For those who don't know Suzuki --I'm not exaggerating: Suzuki kids do this kind of thing for kicks sometimes in group classes. Of course it's used to reinforce the point that they should practice a piece until they *can* play it that way so they can spend their time focusing on the musicality and not getting the right notes/rhythm.)

 

Anyway, Suzuki kids will play their Twinkles, even after 6+ years. Those Twinkles sure do sound different, though! The kids learn that music is not a progression and it's not *what* you can play but *how* you play that counts.

 

I've noticed, in groups of friends getting together for a concert, the traditionally-trained kids don't want to play "easy" pieces, even with friends, b/c they've moved beyond that level. (They'll even sit out the group songs if they're too "easy.") The Suzuki kids, though, will play easier pieces in a heartbeat if it means doing it with a friend and just playing beautiful music. (They'll usually volunteer to play a harmony part, but they're happy to play the familiar melody, too.)

 

You've made a good point. This is a *huge* difference between traditional and Suzuki. My boys can play every song they have ever learned and they use them to learn new techniques and skills. I remember when ds started playing in book 2 and his teacher encouraged him to continue making his book 1 pieces even better, "Now play them like a book 2 student," she would say.

 

It's pretty neat when you can stand up and play a ton of music, beautifully, without using a book because you've internalized it all. And I always get teary eyed when I see the entire institute stand up and play Twinkle together at the institute concert. I love seeing the big teens up there with the little pre-twinklers.

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After....gosh, almost 6!...years, I think the relationship with the teacher is the most important part, even more important than method.

 

 

:iagree:Yep, I'd have to agree with this. I had one young lady come to me from a teacher she'd not been "clicking" with for quite some time. I normally teach beginners, and she really stretched me, but we got along very well, and we learned from each other. Her family moved shortly after, and she's gone on to do competitions & all kinds of things, because I was able to help her rediscover the joy of music, and once she'd done that she took it and ran with it. Her new teacher, after their move, has continued to be a great match for her, and had the resources to help her continue to progress.

 

As a side note, you may be able to find a traditional teacher that will start younger than 6ish: I used to start at 5 routinely, and had one that was barely 4 and did great. As long as the student wants it, it can work nicely. If the student doesn't want it, in my experience age is pretty immaterial: they won't learn unless they choose to.

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My kids have all done Kindermusik through the two-year "Young Child" course (ages 5-7), in which they learn to read the treble clef, and play songs on the glockenspiel, dulcimer, and recorder. Then, they moved on to traditional piano. After three years, they're given the option to continue piano, switch to another instrument, or both (piano and another).

 

Doing the Kindermusik first gave them a full musical experience at a young age in which they learned musical concepts (dynamics, tempo, musicality, etc), note reading, singing, playing by ear and by reading music, and dance, all in a fun, pressure-free, movement and games environment. They learned about a few composers and were introduced to different instruments and styles of music from all around the world, from folk songs to opera, from banjo to orchestra. It's a wonderful experience that transitions beautifully to traditional instrument study at about age 7.

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I remember when ds started playing in book 2 and his teacher encouraged him to continue making his book 1 pieces even better, "Now play them like a book 2 student," she would say.

 

This is an awesome idea. I'll probably use it with Monkey when I start him soon. I'm definitely going to have to remember this.

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I chose it because a good suzuki teacher knows that it's supposed to be fun, that criticism is not helpful when you are trying to learn something hard, and because I wanted them to stick with it long-term and I thought suzuki had the best chances of that.

 

As an aside I would add that when he was 16, my ds took violin lessons for one year at the local expensive music academy (the one where Hilary Hahn first studied). We were taken by surprise at the sounds-their tone was *terrible*, even playing at fairly advanced levels. Well-trained suzuki string students have nice tone right from the very beginning.

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. This is a *huge* difference between traditional and Suzuki.

 

It's pretty neat when you can stand up and play a ton of music, beautifully, without using a book because you've internalized it all.

 

Hmmm.. This is interesting. Just based on my own experience, my kids can all go back and play pieces they used to play when they were younger. They enjoy playing what they 'used' to play and also what they are playing now. I wonder if this is not so much a matter of Suzuki Vs traditional; rather a matter of a child's interest or a parent's encouragement.

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Hmmm.. This is interesting. Just based on my own experience, my kids can all go back and play pieces they used to play when they were younger. They enjoy playing what they 'used' to play and also what they are playing now. I wonder if this is not so much a matter of Suzuki Vs traditional; rather a matter of a child's interest or a parent's encouragement.

 

Of course, any traditional parent or teacher could see the value in this, the difference is that it's a core part of the Suzuki philosophy. If you're taking lessons from a Suzuki teacher review will be an important part of every practice. It will be where you get good at new techniques and skills. You will continue to polish old songs and make them even more beautiful.

 

I imagine the number of traditional teachers who emphasize the importance of review is very, very low whereas the number of Suzuki teachers who emphasize the importance of review is very, very high.

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