Suzuki Cello Lessons
The KSA cello faculty certainly understands why you might be reading this section on cello lessons. The cello is universally lauded as the instrument closest to the human voice. It can act as both a bass instrument and also as a solo instrument, boasting an incredibly versatile register of notes. A close relative of the cello, the cello has become one of the most popular instruments for study in the United States.
While a full sized cello is bigger than most small children, happily cellos come in fractional sizes, allowing your young cello student to have an instrument that they can learn to play comfortably, with quality instruction.
Suzuki cello students will be listening daily to professional recordings of the music they are and will be studying on the instrument, mimicking the passive learning of language that all children experience. As your young cello student gradually and unconsciously memorizes the tunes they will later play through daily listening to recordings at home and in the car, they are becoming “prewired” for better acquisition of skills on the cello, and greater desire to learn to play these tunes that they already are singing themselves. This internalized desire to learn to play songs that they know already aids the child’s daily at-home practice, led and participated in by the Suzuki parent.
Children learn to speak first by hearing language and mimicking it. We follow this process in Suzuki cello lessons. Your young Suzuki cello student will be mastering a variety of early songs from the Suzuki literature, all from the listening, the interactions in lessons with their teacher and in group classes, and the daily home practice supervised by the parent. As reading and writing skills develop well after children become fluent speakers, Suzuki cellists first foster musical fluency without referring to the written notes. Later, all Suzuki students do learn to read music well. They retain, however, the musical fluency and coherence that comes from initially learning an instrument with the ears and fingers more than the analytical brain and eyes. For many years now, about half of the members of the Knoxville Youth Symphony cello section each year studied Suzuki cello from KSA cello faculty. They clearly all learned to read music!
Parental involvement and positive support are critical in the “Suzuki triangle” of parent, child, and teacher. Parents attend and take notes and, if possible, make video recordings of lessons to review during the week with their child in practice time.
As is the case with language acquisition, every new step in a child’s growth with cello, no matter how small, needs to be met with enthusiastic encouragement by the Suzuki parent. As parents, we don’t criticize our 3-year-old for incorrectly using the subjunctive tense. Rather, we praise that child for expressing themselves with words, learning a new word, or showing that they understand someone else’s speech. In the Suzuki approach, students, with the encouragement of their parents and teacher, grow in their innate love of learning in this non-pressured environment of encouragement, stimulation through lessons, daily listening to recordings, and at home instrument time led by the parent.