Suzuki Teaching Method

As a teacher, my greatest joy is watching my students make progress.  The Suzuki method offers a stepwise, clear, and proven path to learning an instrument.  Because the method is based on nurturing, the child grows to love playing, which in turn builds self-esteem and self-confidence.  The Suzuki method also encourages community building, since all children learn the same songs.  When the child attends a national Suzuki Institute during the summer, it is amazing to watch kids from all different backgrounds and areas come together and make beautiful music together, playing as part of group.  

The Suzuki method gives the young child a strongest possible start.  Book one is focused on learning by ear, through which the child develops a good sense of pitch and memory.  As the child progresses to book two and above, supplementary materials are assigned to aid in learning string techniques.  

Individual lessons are the foundation for learning the violin.  Every child learns at their own pace, and the teacher responds to the individual needs and learning style of each student.  As the teacher and student develop a bond, it is important for the teacher to hear what interests the student in music and to incorporate it into the lessons if appropriate.  Having fun and enjoying making music are essential ingredients to playing beautiful music on the violin.  

Tone production, beautiful sound, and a strong and vibrant bow technique are at the center of the Suzuki method. Students learn an instrument in the same way they learn a language, through immersion and imitation.  In learning to play the violin, the student grasps what sounds are possible by listening to the teacher’s tone; thus it is necessary in the Suzuki method that the teacher possess the highest level of bowing refinement.  

Suzuki also focuses on building a solid violin technique through correct posture and form. During the first year the teacher works diligently to correct the student’s bow hold and left-hand position. 

In addition to weekly private lessons, Valerie also holds group classes twice per month to improve listening, focus, tone, rhythm and string technique.  The group classes are also the start to ensemble playing.  Otto Werner-Mueller, the conductor of The Curtis Symphony Orchestra once said that “the most beautiful word in the French language is ensemble,”  by which he meant sounding all together, in unity and harmony.

The Suzuki method offers a great curriculum for learning the violin.  The Suzuki philosophy believes that by educating children we are making the world a better place.  That is, we are not necessarily producing future violinists or soloists, but we are helping to foster beautiful minds, hearts and souls.  Through violin practice and performance, we are creating compassionate and responsible people.  And if we happen to turn out some fabulous violin players, even better!  

As Shin’ichi Suzuki wrote “if a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he [or she] develops sensitivity, discipline, and endurance. He [or she] gets a beautiful heart.” 

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