How We Use the Elements of The Suzuki Method at Trio School
The Suzuki Method of teaching music has been around for about half a century. Since its start in Japan, it has spread across the world. While being popular in many circles, it’s been also criticized for various reasons. Here in the U.S., most of those reasons have to do with the cultural differences between Japan and America. It is true that some of the details of the Suzuki Method do not translate very well, but the main idea does still work and is completely valid. That idea is to instill a sense of Love in the students and to foster their Commitment to music. If children are in an environment that is filled with the beauty of music, they will want to learn more and more of music, and through learning they will develop habits that will help them become better people.
The Japanese violinist, Shinichi Suzuki, has pioneered the teaching very young children (2.5 year-old and on) how to play the violin. His method was based on an idea that children start learning speech while in the womb, and that is why they learn their mother tongue so quickly. In fact, children can speak fluently before they learn to read or write. He has decided to apply the same concept to music. In his opinion, that way, children would be developing good habits in their most informative years. He also believed that, if children could learn music and to play an instrument, they would apply their findings to their lives. In doing so, they would become better people who would help improve the world. He wrote, “I want to make good citizens. If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.”
How We Apply the Suzuki Method
When a mother, who believes that music education is important for her future child, finds out that she is expecting, she should start playing music for the baby every day. She can use recording and also learn how to play some instrument. In our Prenatal Music and Language Program, we do teach future mothers and fathers the basics of music theory, singing, and piano playing. This way, the babies start to learn the music while still in the womb. After the child is born, the mother should continue to sing and to play music. This creates a proper environment for the child to stay immersed and interested in it. Classical and folk music are the preferred types. The parents who have mastered playing piano, start to teach their children when those are 2+ year-old. For that, they need to have smaller instruments that fit the child’s body. Usually, it is a tiny keyboard. Violin teachers use properly-sized violins. The learning by ear is emphasized. Children listen to the music and figure out how to match the sounds. As for reading music, under the normal Suzuki Method, children do not learn to read notation until they are older. But at Trio School they start right away, and usually they learn the notation fast. Our three-year-old pianists are ready to read music in both treble and bass clefs in two-three months after they’ve been exposed to music.
Why Should Parents Learn?
The parent involvement is very important. Without it, the children do not feel that music is as important as it should be, and they lose the motivation. In the early childhood, children can only learn through play, and it’s challenging for adults to always teach through the play. Parents should attend lessons and record them, and it’s also recommended that they learn to play the instrument themselves. This way, they will be able to stay involved in their child’s practice at home and keep the child excited about music. Children will be much more likely to stay interested in music if they see their parent has a passion it.
Why Go to All the Trouble?
Like Suzuki, he Trio School teachers believes that music can make people better. Music can teach children to be serious and dedicated adults who still have an appreciation for the finer things in life. They will go on to seek out lives that are not easy but full of meaning and purpose. Music reflects the beauty of the world, and through music, children and will make the world more beautiful. They will change the world. Research shows that students trained in music are better students and workers. They have better time management and study skills and are generally able to handle stress better.
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