Suzuki Violin Lessons
The violin is the iconic Suzuki instrument. Dr. Suzuki was, of course, a violinist himself, and his first instrumental students with whom he started his method were violin students. Violins come in fractional sizes, which allow very young children to be studying with a violin that is appropriately sized. Suzuki violin 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 young violin students gradually and unconsciously memorize the tunes they will later play, they are becoming “prewired” for better acquisition of skills on the violin. This strengthens the pleasure along with the learning capacity of the child as they have daily violin time at the house led by their parent. Your young Suzuki violin student will thus 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 violin lessons will 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.
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 violin, 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.