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SUZUKI Violin, Piano, Music Lessons, Method, opinions, cost, experience, etc.

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
Hello ladies!

I have read a lot recently about the SUZUKI method of teaching music.
I am interested in hearing what your opinions are.
I would like to know if any of you have gone to the Suzuki Music camps, if so, in what part of the country, what was the cost, would you recommend it to others, was it worth while the price?

Have any of you had experience with either Suzuki style of teaching with Violin, Piano or other instruments?
Do your children have a Suzuki method Violin teacher, Piano teacher, and or any other instrument?
One of the things I liked when reading about Suzuki, is that they encourage parent involvement from day 1
What is the approx. cost of private violin & or piano lessons, for 1/2 or
1 hour ?
Are there any Co-Ops using these teachers & where? And how much $$ ?


Please, let me know what you think, your experiences, recommendations,etc.
Thank you
post #2 of 59
I'm a classically trained professional musician- who is on a hiatus from playing much these days as family demands preclude much travel. However, I'm a brass player (french horn) so it's never really been a part of my training. There, you have the 'where I'm coming from' preface.

I'm not a huge fan of Suzuki alone- I think a lot of what is emphasized in this method is positive, and you can do within the family (I truly believe life needs an amazing soundtrack- a rich variety of music throughout our lives can become the basis for our child(ren)'s soundtracks, and from their, they can branch out and build their own... but in agreement with this methodology.. saturate their lives with music.

However, I find that many people trained with this method alone come to have weaker sight reading skills than they might otherwise, and they don't always have a great deal of strength in terms of interpretation on their own...
post #3 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thank you!

Thank you for your reply!
So, in your professional opinion, would you go with an instructor that has been trained in both, or just in classical ? Will a child get confused with both methods?
And at what age would you recommend to start? An ideal age that a child will not get tired of it, but still make it a part of their life. So they can play
in a public place at a young age.
I have read about children starting with the Suzuki method, are playing at the age of 3, is that too young ?
At what age could a child start to play the saxophone ?
thank you for your help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by confustication View Post
I'm a classically trained professional musician- who is on a hiatus from playing much these days as family demands preclude much travel. However, I'm a brass player (french horn) so it's never really been a part of my training. There, you have the 'where I'm coming from' preface.

I'm not a huge fan of Suzuki alone- I think a lot of what is emphasized in this method is positive, and you can do within the family (I truly believe life needs an amazing soundtrack- a rich variety of music throughout our lives can become the basis for our child(ren)'s soundtracks, and from their, they can branch out and build their own... but in agreement with this methodology.. saturate their lives with music.

However, I find that many people trained with this method alone come to have weaker sight reading skills than they might otherwise, and they don't always have a great deal of strength in terms of interpretation on their own...
post #4 of 59
We did suzuki violin with our 3yo. It was a great program and he enjoyed it but we were not able to continue because we moved to another area without a teacher. It was nearly $1000 for one 1/2 hour lesson per week for the spring term (the only term he did). So an entire school year of lessons and rental would be close to $2000. I'm hoping to start it up again but don't know when it will be possible. IMO it's worth the cost.
post #5 of 59
DD (almost 5) is doing Suzuki piano right now. The instructor comes out to our house for an hour each week. Its $120.00 per month.

Its okay. She's actually our second Suzuki teacher (the first was really hardnosed). We read about the Suzuki method before choosing it, and so far, after 2 different teachers, I have yet to find a Suzuki teacher who actually seems to follow what Suzuki said. Maybe I am misreading him or something. Our teacher said to withhold a meal until she's practiced her lessons... I'm not sure that will encourage a love of music (we're not following that particular advice). I thought Suzuki would be about meeting the child where they are at, finding ways to introduce music and learning music that delight the child, and letting the child go at their pace... but instead it seems to be more about requiring the child to adapt to the lesson, and when there's resistance, add reinforcers or withhold reinforcement.

Alfie Kohn should develop a music theory for teaching children. THEN I would be happy.
post #6 of 59
My 3yo DD is taking Suzuki cello lessons. $105/month, which includes a weekly private lesson (half hour), a weekly cello group class (45 min), and weekly music enrichment class with other kids her same age (45 min). It's wonderful--I love it and she loves it. As part of the program, I'm learning cello too so I can be a "home teacher". The teacher is incredible with young children. I feel like we struck the lottery, big time!

The only way to know if it's for you and your child is to try it!
post #7 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thank you elus0814!

Thank you for your reply!
I was wondering, how many months did the spring term have, in other words how many actual lessons did that $1000 cover? I am trying to figure out cost per lesson. And how much exactly was the violin rental cost?
And if it is not too personal, where was this, what city & or state?
Did you have a lot of SUZUKI teachers to choose from?
I am glad that he was albe to enjoy the classes he had
thank you for your help & input!

Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post
We did suzuki violin with our 3yo. It was a great program and he enjoyed it but we were not able to continue because we moved to another area without a teacher. It was nearly $1000 for one 1/2 hour lesson per week for the spring term (the only term he did). So an entire school year of lessons and rental would be close to $2000. I'm hoping to start it up again but don't know when it will be possible. IMO it's worth the cost.
post #8 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thank you Bellingham!

Thank you Bellingham for your post!
From what I have heard $120 seems reasonable, right? Especially for an hour each week.
What I do not like is the "witholding food" part That does not sound right at all....That might make the child resent the classes & music in general...How sad.....I hope you eventually find a teacher with a better approach.
Are there a lot of Suzuki teachers in your area to choose from? Did you ask other parents in your area what is available?
I'm trying to figure out also what is the best way to go about choosing the right teacher, so you get the right match.
If it is not too personal, what city, town or state are you in?

I was also wondering, and this is a question for everyone out there, is there a particular city & or state, where you might find
more access to violin, piano, cello, saxophone,
classical & Suzuki method type teachers? Good quality teachers ? At a reasonable price. I hope I am not asking for too much, LOL
And starting out early seems to be a good idea, right?

Thank you to all of the Ladies answering my thread,
I appreciate your help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post
DD (almost 5) is doing Suzuki piano right now. The instructor comes out to our house for an hour each week. Its $120.00 per month.

Its okay. She's actually our second Suzuki teacher (the first was really hardnosed). We read about the Suzuki method before choosing it, and so far, after 2 different teachers, I have yet to find a Suzuki teacher who actually seems to follow what Suzuki said. Maybe I am misreading him or something. Our teacher said to withhold a meal until she's practiced her lessons... I'm not sure that will encourage a love of music (we're not following that particular advice). I thought Suzuki would be about meeting the child where they are at, finding ways to introduce music and learning music that delight the child, and letting the child go at their pace... but instead it seems to be more about requiring the child to adapt to the lesson, and when there's resistance, add reinforcers or withhold reinforcement.

Alfie Kohn should develop a music theory for teaching children. THEN I would be happy.
post #9 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thank you Mrsfussypants

Thank you for your help!
I think the price is great!!You have struck the lottery!
Is her program available 12 months of the year? In other words, will your child be doing this 12 months of the year?
How many children in the group class?
Does she come to your house for the private lesson?
How did you find her?
Was this teacher only trained in Suzuki, or in both Classical & Suzuki?
I am glad that you found a great teacher for your little one!!
Reading about all of this, makes me want to learn an instrument as well!!
Thank you for your help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsfussypants View Post
My 3yo DD is taking Suzuki cello lessons. $105/month, which includes a weekly private lesson (half hour), a weekly cello group class (45 min), and weekly music enrichment class with other kids her same age (45 min). It's wonderful--I love it and she loves it. As part of the program, I'm learning cello too so I can be a "home teacher". The teacher is incredible with young children. I feel like we struck the lottery, big time!

The only way to know if it's for you and your child is to try it!
post #10 of 59
I don't know if our teacher is really "certifiably" Suzuki. But she has been teaching my dd and I violin with the Suzuki method for $10 a week each. She is older and it's more of a hobby than a career, though, for her. Where we used to live it was $1200 a semester for lessons. We could *not* afford that.
post #11 of 59
From what I hear from people Suzuki makes a mediocre musician out of you. IF you want to really excel you need to do additional but if you just want to be able to play most things it is fine. My dh did 10 years of Suzuki and liked it I also have a friend who teaches it violin and piano. She charges $100 a month I think. Dh took lessons from age 4 to 12. He doesn't remember anything now. I took guitar for about the same amount of time and remember almost everything. Not sure if it is the method or not but I definitely retained more. I also had a cousin who did S. and tried for years to improve his sight reading on piano and could never break his bad habits. That said we will probably start our son with the method and then switch after a few years.
post #12 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by completebeginnings View Post
From what I hear from people Suzuki makes a mediocre musician out of you.
Oh my goodness, that is just silly.

In our city, we have a world class philharmonic and Suzuki is promoted and suggested by many of the top musicians, and they pay for Suzuki lessons for their children. In the annual contests they have for students to play with the Philharmonic, it's always the Suzuki students who win (anecdotal, but there you go).

OP, why are you asking about states with lots of Suzuki teachers? Are you looking for a place to move to? You could always do a search here for
the areas you are looking at.
http://suzukiassociation.org/parents/teacherloc/
Not all Suzuki-trained teachers will be on that last (depending on whether
they pay yearly to remain on the list), but it's a good start.

My children take Suzuki music lessons. My son takes violin from an extremely well trained Suzuki violin teacher (bachelor of music, masters
and minor in Suzuki, or something like that). She sticks fairly closely to
the Suzuki ideal, yet, she makes sure that the children also learn to read
music (just not as quickly as a more traditional teacher would). Regardless, my son who has been playing for a year and a half can sight
read his new songs when he wants to, but learns more of his lessons bit
by bit, memorizing as he goes along. Music reading is just used if he is
practicing and forgets a part of a new piece and for his reading practice.
There is no stress on reading music and the children don't do it until they
are ready. It's a very good thing! Our Suzuki teacher is very AP and would
NEVER suggest withholding food as a way to urge a child to practice daily. She promotes games, keeping on schedule (because it's harder
once you take days off to get back into the routine of practice), loans out
videos for the children to watch and sometimes incentives (perhaps a treat
after each practice or after a week of daily practice?).

My daughter, on the other hand, takes Suzuki piano, but from a young teacher who, though she has a music degree and took Suzuki piano herself
as a child, diverges from Suzuki pieces and ideas more the longer we are
with her. My daughter does beautifully with the Suzuki pieces though and
prefers to be challenged.

For each of these teachers, I pay $25 for a half hour ($37.50 for 45 minutes per week) That is simply the going rate in our area. For the weekly half hour violin group class, it's $10/hr. Both teachers teach year round and charge monthly, at the beginning of the month.

I definitely think that the Suzuki method is far preferable for violin and piano lessons. The children take to it so amazingly well. I studied cello
and piano as a child/teen (focused on reading music) and it has been so
incredibly clear to me that my children are learning in far better ways
than I was ever taught.

I am also a fan of the parental involvement in Suzuki and find that it
really helps the children learn much more quickly. That's a great financial
value, because if you are going to pay for lessons, why not have your
children learn as much as possible for your money, and progress as
quickly as they naturally can? It makes financial sense. It's also
good for the kids.
post #13 of 59
You're welcome! I don't know what will happen this summer, probably a Suzuki hiatus for two months. It's not all that long, particularly if we have plenty of things to practice. But different teachers may have different ideas for their students.

This is a program of a newly formed school of music affiliated with our local symphony. We attend lessons/classes at the symphony building downtown, where the teachers have teaching space. There are usually between 3 and 7 students of all ages in the weekly cello group class, and between 9 and 15 young children (3 to 6ish) in the weekly enrichment class for students of all instruments. I found out about the program because the school issued a press release and the local paper wrote an article about it.

The Suzuki Method is simply a method of learning music that is very well adapted to young children, although it is good for any age. It emphasizes listening and repeating music "by ear", rather than learning to read music first as in the more traditional model. Eventually, however, all students learn to read music the usual way--they just don't start with it. Sort of like how we learn spoken language naturally, we listen and try it ourselves, before we learn to read and write. Unlike the usual way of learning music, Suzuki method also uses a list of pieces that all students learn in a set order, starting with rhythmic variations on "Twinkle twinkle little star". Students are given lots of opportunity to listen to these pieces, either by listening to others performing or by a CD. And there are lots of fun activities and games that kids enjoy. Teachers of the Suzuki method typically have a Suzuki certification. Basically all musicians who are teachers of the Suzuki method have a classical training, since that's what suzuki leads into, if that makes any sense--the ability to play any kind of music.

Hope that helps! (Oh, by the way, my pricing that I mentioned earlier does not include what I pay for instrument rental: $40/month. And I play my daughter's tiny 1/10th size cello myself, I don't rent a larger instrument for myself.)
post #14 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by completebeginnings View Post
From what I hear from people Suzuki makes a mediocre musician out of you.
Bwahaha! I was told by someone who was there that on a Julliard String Orchestra tour bus a member of the orchestra held a poll asking how many members of the orchestra had begun their musical training in a Suzuki program. It was over 80%, almost 90%.

The program is extremely successful at creating fine musicianship. My 15yo dd is currently on a pre-professional-track, playing a brilliant Mendelssohn concerto.

Miranda
post #15 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Bwahaha! I was told by someone who was there that on a Julliard String Orchestra tour bus a member of the orchestra held a poll asking how many members of the orchestra had begun their musical training in a Suzuki program. It was over 80%, almost 90%.

The program is extremely successful at creating fine musicianship. My 15yo dd is currently on a pre-professional-track, playing a brilliant Mendelssohn concerto.

Miranda
Like I said just what I have heard from some of the music people I know. No personal experience or bias.
post #16 of 59
Every musician I know (besides guitarists/etc. that learned as adults) were in Suzuki and did incredible. I do believe part of it is whether the kids/adults wanted to learn their instruments vs. family pressuring it, though. Of course a 8 year old forced in Suzuki piano won't remember as much as a 12 year old who asks for guitar lessons.
post #17 of 59
I'm a Suzuki violin teacher, so obviously I'm a fan of the method. I love the parental involvement, the philosophy, the peer support and everything else about it.

I have to laugh when I read people's comments about Suzuki Method producing sub-par musicians. My students consistently out-perform classically trained students every year in competitions, and consistently rank in the top three for their respective categories. Every program I've been involved with has been hugely successful and has produced some very adept young musicians.

We attend the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute (aka "violin camp") each year - this year was my 3yo's first time attending as a student. We are Enki homeschoolers, and I find that the Suzuki philosophy fits so well and my son really benefited from the atmosphere at the Suzuki Institute. The student orchestras that are put together over the course of that week are phenomenal and such a joy to see perform on the last day. It's amazing what they can pull off in one week's time!

I find that Suzuki programs vary quite a bit in terms of cost, but even the more expensive programs are definitely worth it, in my opinion.
post #18 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thank you to all of the posters! Great replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
I don't know if our teacher is really "certifiably" Suzuki. But she has been teaching my dd and I violin with the Suzuki method for $10 a week each. She is older and it's more of a hobby than a career, though, for her. Where we used to live it was $1200 a semester for lessons. We could *not* afford that.

Thank you "KittyWitty" I think $10 a week is Great!
Especially if it is someone doing it out of love for music,
instead of just the money..... I am not saying that some
do it just for the money. But its nice to see someone loving
what they do!!
If you do not mind, what town & or city were you paying the $1200 a
semester? Were they Suzuki certified?
Thank you for your help!
I appreciate everyones opinion on this thread!
post #19 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thank you to all! Great replies!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobster View Post
I'm a Suzuki violin teacher, so obviously I'm a fan of the method. I love the parental involvement, the philosophy, the peer support and everything else about it.

I have to laugh when I read people's comments about Suzuki Method producing sub-par musicians. My students consistently out-perform classically trained students every year in competitions, and consistently rank in the top three for their respective categories. Every program I've been involved with has been hugely successful and has produced some very adept young musicians.

We attend the Southwestern Ontario Suzuki Institute (aka "violin camp") each year - this year was my 3yo's first time attending as a student. We are Enki homeschoolers, and I find that the Suzuki philosophy fits so well and my son really benefited from the atmosphere at the Suzuki Institute. The student orchestras that are put together over the course of that week are phenomenal and such a joy to see perform on the last day. It's amazing what they can pull off in one week's time!

I find that Suzuki programs vary quite a bit in terms of cost, but even the more expensive programs are definitely worth it, in my opinion.

Hi Lobster!

Thank you for your reply!
I was wondering, in your professional opinion, would it confuse a child
to have group lessons with a Suzuki trained teacher, and private
lessons with a classical trained teacher ?
Thank you

Have a nice day!
post #20 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by countryangels View Post
would it confuse a child
to have group lessons with a Suzuki trained teacher, and private
lessons with a classical trained teacher ?
Not Lobster, but I have experience with this as a Suzuki teacher and parent. It is difficult. Not confusing, really, but a poor fit. A traditionally-trained student would not likely have the Suzuki skills and repertoire that make up the fodder for the learning experience in group lessons.

A Suzuki group lesson involves playing the shared Suzuki repertoire from memory, so students keep all previously-learned pieces in memory through a regiment of ongoing review. In other words at Suzuki group lessons it is assumed that when asked to play a particular piece from Book 2 every student in Book 3, 4, 5 and beyond will still be able to play that piece on request from memory with the proper notes, bowings and fingerings. That piece might then be used to explore some refinement of technique or ensemble skills. Traditional teachers might use some of the Suzuki repertoire, but wouldn't teach it "memorized" nor would they administer the review regimen that allows the student to maintain that vast body of shared repertoire.

I've had a couple of non-Suzuki students join my group class on a few occasions. Even though we try to be very welcoming it's tough for them. They don't have the pieces at their fingertips. They need to use the sheet music while everyone else is playing freely from memory. Even if they're well-trained and very competent on the instrument, they feel like they're struggling and relying on crutches the others don't need.

Miranda
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