About the Suzuki Method

The Suzuki Method

The Suzuki Method, begun by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in Japan, is based on the "Mother Tongue Theory." Dr. Suzuki realized that all children learn to speak their native language fluently at a very early age. Furthermore, he noticed that all children have the ability to learn. Dr. Suzuki took these observations and applied them to the teaching of the violin. Just as it is imperative that children hear their mother tongue to learn speech, they must hear the music in order to learn to play proficiently. Furthermore, just like children learn to speak language before they learn to read it, children learn to play music using their ears before they learn to read it. Students will listen to the songs many times as they learn to play. Note reading is done separate from the violin during the beginning stages, and added in as the playing becomes natural and easy. The basis of the Suzuki philosophy is simple: "Every child can learn." Talent is not inborn, but something that is nurtured through environment and practice. Just as all children have the ability to learn language; all children have the ability to learn music to a high degree of success.

Lesson Structure

Lessons will be structured in the following manner: Students will be expected to attend a private lesson each week and bi-monthly group classes. Private lessons provide tailored one on one instruction where your child will work on technique and repertoire, as well as music theory. During the lesson, parents are asked to sit quietly, observing and taking notes. Because the Suzuki method places high importance on both listening and observation, group class is an essential part of your child's learning experience. At group, your child will see and hear not only the teacher, but also other students playing the violin. Group class also provides a social component that is not present with private lessons alone as well as training in ensemble performance.


Listening is key to the Suzuki Method. Students should listen to the Suzuki CDs daily. Passive listening is acceptable - students often have the CD playing while they work or play or at night as they fall asleep. Active listening, sitting and actively paying attention to the recording, will be assigned by the teacher. It is also suggested that Suzuki students come in contact with other classical music via recordings and live performance.


Students must practice regularly. I expect 10-15 minutes daily for my beginning students (plus time spent listening to the Suzuki CD). I also expect that they keep a practice log which is signed by the parent before each lesson. I often tell my students - "Practice only on the days you eat" - amazingly, that means that they must practice every day!

Parental Role

The Suzuki Method often talks about the parent/teacher triangle. The "Suzuki Triangle," as it is called, refers to the important role of the parent in every student's learning and ultimate success with the instrument. The teacher typically meets with a student once a week for approximately a half hour. The teacher's role is to check on a student's progress as well as to present new techniques and new music. During lessons, the parent is to listen quietly as the teacher works with the student (taking notes is highly suggested for those parents who are able to attend lessons). Parental participation both in lessons and at home is key to success. At home the parent serves as the "home teacher." The parent should actively help the student practice. The parent's role is an important one. Practice does not make perfect it makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect. The parent helps the student practice correctly as shown by the teacher in the weekly lesson.

You can read more about the Suzuki method in the Suzuki Twinkler, and you can order materials required for the Suzuki Method in the Watt Studio Store.