There are eight basic tenets of the Suzuki Method:
Parents play a vital part in the “Suzuki Triangle.” Not only do they attend lessons and learn concepts along with their children, they also take on the role of “home teacher.” It is not necessary for the parent to be a musician; the learning process in the weekly lesson allows the parent to experience and understand the technique and focus of assignments so that they can effectively guide and nurture their child each day during practice at home.
Children are sponges of information! It is amazing to see how much knowledge they can acquire and retain within their early years- and the same is true for music. Dr. Suzuki saw that all children learn to speak their mother tongue at a very young age with great ease. Their brains are more receptive to new things, music included.
The way we learn to speak is by hearing others speak in our environments. Constant exposure to the same sounds allows our ears and brains to become familiar with and eventually mimic them. Suzuki students constantly listen to recordings of the Suzuki repertoire, having it as a consistent part of their environment, making it easy for them to recognize, and therefore repeat, the music.
Once children learn to speak one word, they do not discard it to go on to the next, they use it over and over again until it is easy and comfortable. Then they add new words. The Suzuki Method uses that same repetition; children continue working on skills and playing their pieces after they’ve learned them so that they are easy and fluid. The pieces are then used to practice new techniques and to refine musicality, and they stay in the musical ‘vocabulary’ forever. Deep learning of each piece in the repertoire is of such great importance that Dr. Suzuki said that it is after a piece is memorised that we are ready to “begin to learn” it!
The parent’s primary job is to encourage their child with sincere praise, to recognize the hard work and effort that goes into learning an instrument. Acknowledging even the smallest accomplishments fosters in the child a joy in progress, and satisfaction in the process of reaching goals.
Learning with Other Children
Children not only learn from their parents and teachers, but also from each other. In addition to weekly private lessons, students participate in group classes as well, where they learn ensemble skills as well as good social discipline. Learning with other children gives students a new peer group with whom they share a special bond.
Each song, or piece, in the Suzuki method takes the techniques and concepts from the previous piece and builds on them. New technical problems are introduced in the context of the music instead of uninspiring exercises, so the learning experience is all the more enjoyable.
Children speak their mother-tongue with natural fluency long before they learn to read words. In the same manner, children learn to hold their instruments with natural ease and good posture, produce a beautiful clear tone, and play many pieces of music at a high level of ability before beginning to learn to read music. Music reading is introduced once each child is at the appropriate musical level, and also at the appropriate level developmentally. Just as children become fluent in both speaking and reading their mother-tongue, Suzuki musicians develop their abilities to hear, listen, play and read music to a high level of ability.