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Sazuki Teaching Method?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Has anyone heard of the Sazuki Teaching Method?
I may be spelling it wrong but I can't find anything about it on the web.
It is supposed to be a teaching method that uses music and teaching parent and child an instrument together.
post #2 of 29
It's "Suzuki."


post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
So has anyone here ever used it? and likes or dislikes?
post #4 of 29
I think it depends on the instrument that your child would be learning. My understanding is that the Suzuki method is very well respected for string instruments, such as violin. It is much more controversial when it comes to piano. When I majored in music and took Piano Pedagogy, our professor had no good to say about Suzuki and didn't even mention it with any seriousness when we discussed the various teaching methods for piano. I didn't know any piano teacher (university-related) in that area who used Suzuki. It is controversial because many traditional teachers feel that it doesn't focus enough on getting students to read music. They become wonderful listeners, and therefore their musicianship is great, they play expressively, but they can't read music fluently, which is a must for a pianist, I think much more than for a violinist.

I would love to hear some opinions from the other side. I personally am only marginally familiar with the method, although one of my brothers learned piano using it (quit after one year--but that wasn't necessarily Suzuki's fault). I am only going off the opinions of great musicians and educators that I highly respect. And again, I can only speak for piano.
post #5 of 29

I have mixed emotions.......

My dh and I both have degrees in music. He thinks it is a good prograom....I'm not sure.

By using the Suzuki Method you will develop a different type of musician. I believe that Suzuki focuses a lot on training the ear more than the fingers.I'm about learning music classically. Once you learn the proper way then there is a who;e world opened up to you. BUT Suzuki is pretty good especially if that is your only choice. I'd say if you can find a private teacher it might be slower learning but it may be worth it.

I'm a little biased about the method based on the training I have BUT there isn't anything wrong with it...I just prefer something different!!

Megan and Tracy 4/26/02--who may be reading music before words!!!
post #6 of 29

we've done it

We've had three-1/2 years of Suzuki violin (since dd was 34 months old), and it all boils down to the teacher. We had to fire our first teacher who almost destroyed any love of music in dd AND me. [how many days did you practice? seven? good. how many days did you listen to the tape? only three? well, you don't get a sticker until you practice AND listen all seven days.] Our second teacher was wonderful, but our third teacher (we moved to another state) is unbelievably fabulous.

I think if the teacher is too dogmatic it's awful. But we have had excellent experiences with two teachers who have been very positive and innovative. I found it to be great preparation for homeschooling, in that I learned a lot about dd's learning style - what motivates her, what turns her off, etc. We went through some dark months when I wondered why we were doing it, but now she's almost 6 and she can is always trying to figure out new music on her violin -- she also takes her violin pieces and plays them on the piano, the harp, and the recorder (no lessons for other instruments, thank you). Sometimes I have to limit her practice because I don't want her to burn out. Starting practice usually takes some prompting, but once we've begun she's great -- but this took a few years to develop.

okay, i've strayed from the original question.
post #7 of 29
I'm also a classically trained musician (violin). I studied the Suzuki method as a child, but my teacher didn't follow the method 100% - we didn't listen to the tapes very much, and I started reading music when I was six or seven (concurrent with starting piano lessons with another, non-Suzuki teacher). By the time I was 13 I switched to another violin teacher. I have serious issues with the Suzuki teacher I had - I learned a lot of bad habits in my technique that took years to get over - but that's more about the teacher and the fact that she was trained as a clarinet player. :

I agree with Laurel - in academia, Suzuki is considered a good thing more for young kids who won't necessarily become professional musicians. Not only is sight reading an issue, but there is the idea that since Suzuki students constantly listen to each piece being played one way, by the same person, that it's hard for them to develop their own unique musical ideas, and that they tend to play in a sort of cookie-cutter imitative way.

I also agree with Erica that, as in all subjects, and all methods, it all boils down to the teacher. If you find a Suzuki teacher who seems to work well with your child, then great! Otherwise, you might want to shop around.

post #8 of 29
in academia, Suzuki is considered a good thing more for young kids who won't necessarily become professional musicians.

And yet, at age 5, 6, or 7, we have no idea who will become a professional musician and who won't.

(Straying from original topic): So many parents think it's OK to scrimp on the quality of the teacher because "she's just a beginner". The teacher, like Erika mentioned, can make or break a child's whole experience. People ask me all the time why I don't teach piano, since I play the piano. I don't teach piano because I am not qualified to be a really good piano teacher. I'm trained as an organist. I have friends who are truly fantastic piano teachers, and after seeing the education they can provide for their students, that's what I want for my child and nothing less, regardless of whether or not I'm raising future professional musicians. (Plus, I just don't enjoy teaching piano, else I would probably feel more motivated to become that kind of teacher.)

Becca, thanks for clarifying the position of the "string world" on Suzuki.
post #9 of 29
Originally posted by Laurel

And yet, at age 5, 6, or 7, we have no idea who will become a professional musician and who won't.
I know, that's the frustrating part about trying to find one's child a good teacher! My Suzuki training would have been perfectly fine for me if violin had just been a hobby for a few years and I had gone on to be an accountant or something.

I know what you mean about teaching - I haven't taught violin, either. My degrees are in theory and composition, and I taught aural skills and theory to undergrads for three years, but that's another story... I've considered teaching violin at some point, simply because it would be a logical part-time thing I could do if and when then kids are at school, but I'd want to start small, with beginners, just to get my feet wet and see how it goes.

Another off-topic question: Are you working as a musician now, Laurel? I work as a very part-time freelancer, averaging about two nights out per week at the moment. It's actually a bit more than I'd like, since ds#2 is six months old now and separation anxiety has hit us big time, so I'm trying not to add any more gigs on my calendar until after Christmas.
post #10 of 29


My DD just started violen lessons a month ago with a well trained and respected teacher. (I called the symphony for a recomendation). I have taken so much crap for not having my DD in Suzuki lessons! My DD (who is 6) really likes her teacher even though she finds it hard work.

your post made me feel better
post #11 of 29
Aw, shucks! Glad I could be of help. I have no idea why there seems to be this notion floating around that Suzuki is the best/only way for a child to study violin. That's great that your dd is enjoying it! It can be hard to get going at first, because it really does take so long just to be able to play with a decent tone. Do you sit in on her lessons? One nice thing about Suzuki is that is really involves the parent, which I think is a good idea, especially for young kids. Have a great time with it!
post #12 of 29

I'm not working much right now. I have a 3 month old baby that I waited a very long time for, and I'm focusing on him right now. I had a student before he came, but just haven't been able to bring myself to start teaching again.

I haven't done much career-wise. I have a master's in organ performance and pedagogy. Since I graduated 4 years ago, I've held a part-time church job, had a struggling studio, and played for a handful of pretty low-key performances. Not very prestigious! We live in a small town, and it's hard to do much with the organ. I don't regret the time spent, and I love music, but I am thinking that I'll probably go back to school someday and get another master's in something different.
post #13 of 29
This may be a bit off topic, but it is something that is working really well for us. I started taking violin lessons in February from a well-respected teacher in our area. She was amazed that an adult with three small children would want to start, but she also has three kids, so teaching in the midst of uproar is nothing to her. After about two months, my four year old son said, "Mom, how come you get all the fun? Why can't I play the violin?" The teacher reached over, picked up a 1/4 size violin and said, "Well, try this one." Now we go for a one hour lesson and I get sort of 50 minutes and he gets sort of 20 minutes (our teacher can't seem to get the idea that a one hour lesson is not 70 minutes long). We use the Suzuki book, and the teacher subscribes to "Suzuki Chat" and her sister is a Suzuki teacher, but we don't follow the program anywhere near accurately. He gets all the encouragement and excitement of doing something that I am interested in, and we are both moving at our own pace through the material. It may not make either of us into professional musicians, but it makes us very very happy right now.

What I am trying to say is don't look for a formula that give you a result, but instead look for a good situation that you can enjoy and that gives your children a chance to learn.
post #14 of 29
Bestjob, I think that is such a wonderful idea!

Linda, aren't you from Tucson? I grew up in southern AZ, and I experienced the same thing. If you weren't a Suzuki student, you might as well be nothing, even though I was as good a pianist as most of them. I remember feeling very left out, and of course had no idea that once I got to college, Suzuki would be at the bottom of the pile anyway.
post #15 of 29
<<Do you sit in on her lessons? >>

Yes. Her teacher wants me in on her lessons for several months so that I can help her practice. It is really quite causual. We met at a church and the lessons are in the room right next to the nursery. My younger DD plays in the nursery during her big sister's lessons, so I am back and forth between the rooms.

My DD loves the violin. She thinks the sound that it makes is the most beautiful sound in the world. Practicing has been a bit of an issue though. I finally realized that it makes her hand hurt when she practices for too long, so now she is just practicing for a few minutes at a time. I'm sure that progress with be slow for her for now, but I know that she is getting a good foundation.

Laurel, Yes, I'm in sunny Tucson!
post #16 of 29
So, this is off-topic, but I guess a related question. If you aren't interested in Suzuki, what is an appropriate age range for a child to start learning violin or piano? I didn't start music lessons 'til they were offered through our school, and I would like to start DS earlier but have no idea when to try.
post #17 of 29
This is really personal and depends alot on the individual child, and I can only speak for piano, but for me, I wouldn't start my child in piano lessons before about age 6. A child needs to develop fine motor skills to a certain degree before starting piano. Also, I don't think that the structure and discipline of formal lessons are always appropriate for young children.

BUT, what I would do is enroll my preschooler in an informal music & movement program like Kindermusik or Music Together. Or, I would create something similar at home. Young children need lots of informal experiences with music. They need to sing, to dance, and to have fun. These experiences form a basis that will make formal lessons more successful and more meaningful. They learn concepts about rhythm, melody, etc. that will give them a good foundation when they later learn an instrument.

My son is 3 months old. We listen to lots of classical music. I love to hold him and dance with him, wave his arms and have him "conduct" the music, etc. We do it mostly for fun, but I am also trying to help him do things like feel the beat and feel the emotional effect that music can have. Hopefully, we will fill his young childhood with these kinds of experiences, and music will become second nature to him. Then, when he does start learning an instrument, he will be able to connect in his mind what making music is all about.
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
Wow! Keep the responces coming! This thread has taken on a life of it's own and I love hearing your experiences! Until starting this thread I had never even heard of Suzuki Method.

Acutally the person that suggested it to me knew I want to home school. She suggested it as a way for Mom and child to learn together and possibly develope a learning atmosphere for homeschooling. Anyways, thanks again all
post #19 of 29

That is very similar to what we did. I play piano and my DH plays percussion. We collected all sorts of instruments for the kids to just play and enjoy as soon as they were big enough to hold on them or bang on them (shakers, drums, recorders, etc.). We listen to all sorts of music and my kids see and hear my DH and I playing our instruments. We attend family concerts. My DDs showed both showed an interest in figuring out a bit about the piano when they were 3 or 4 and I answered their questions and played with them as much as they wanted. It was quite obvious to me that they were not ready for any sort of formal lessons. My older DD started begging for violin lessons last winter, when she was 5 1/2, and I felt that she was not ready. She just turned 6 (and went through some huge developmental leaps) and she just started lessons. I still think that she is quite young for lessons, and if it weren't for her incessant begging for them I would not have started her yet.

post #20 of 29
Gardenrn, it is definitely true that learning something together builds a good environment for education. I have learned about music with my children (the oldest is 8 years old) through a variety of programs and lessons. Before kids, I thought I was not musical at all. Now my violin teacher thinks I may have perfect pitch! I have much more empathy for my children's troubles with learning something new than I would have had otherwise.
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