As with all Suzuki instrumental lessons, Suzuki piano lessons start with the mother tongue approach to learning. All children learn to speak and understand their mother tongue fluently at a young age. They do so well before learning to read and write their language. Reading and writing are skills children do master, but a bit later in their growth than speaking. Suzuki piano lessons follow this same sequence. Young children beginning Suzuki piano lessons are regularly exposed aurally at home, in the car, and at lessons to recordings of the music they are learning, imitating the manner in which children learn language. Thus, students effortlessly and unconsciously learn the tunes of the songs they will later learn to play. When they are introduced to these songs at the piano, they are eager to learn to recreate songs at the piano that they have a long association with.
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 piano, 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.
Our KSA piano faculty member is Slade Trammel