What is the best study method for your student violinist?
This article will provide you with information regarding the two most popular methods of violin study – the Suzuki study method and the traditional study method. I will hare my experience, as a parent – not as a music teacher. My hope is that you will find this information valuable in helping you determine which method of study – Suzuki or traditional– would best fit your needs.
The following is a brief outline of both study methods.
Suzuki violin method overview:
* Suzuki is very much a parental "hands-on" method of violin study. Parents must attend individual lessons so they will be able to help their child with practicing at home. This provides an invaluable tool for the child as well as a great chance for interaction in a fun and exciting journey for parent and child. The advantage of parental involvement can not be emphasized enough. * Formal education may start as early as two or three. It is also effective for students of any age. * Emphasis is in watching and listening. Music is memorized by ear through repeatedly recorded recordings in the home. Listening to the recordings helps the student to internalize the details of the music such as dynamics, pitch and tone. * Formal reading of music is not taught until basic skills have been mastered technically. * In addition to individual lessons, group lessons are required with Suzuki. The purpose of working in a group is to give younger students the opportunity to observe others who are playing at a higher level. This is not a competitive arena and as a parent, you should be observing the group class. This is meant to be a positive and encouraging atmosphere.
Traditional violin method overview:
* Parental involvement usually not encouraged. * Formal education usually begins between the ages of six and 10. Many traditional violin teachers are unwilling to take on a student younger than six. * Beginning students do not listen to records of the pieces before they start to learn them. This is to develop sight reading skills. * Individual lessons are all that is required. There are no group lessons and little to no interaction with peers.
Our daughter's teacher is primarily an advocate of the Suzuki method. We have enjoyed the Suzuki method for the following reasons: 1.Parental involvement – we strongly believe this has been a key element in our daughter's success and also its enjoyment of the violin. We are in a position where I am able to commit to the practice times so this has worked out well for us. 2.Group lessons – this has been an encouragement and inspiration for our daughter. Because of group lessons, she has been able to play in trios at the last two Christmas concerts. The older children are kind and the atmosphere in warm and inviting. 3.Most importantly is the teacher. We have a wonderful teacher who is willing and able to work with our daughter on every level. This past year, the teacher felt our daughter needed to develop her sight reading skills to prepare for the next level of Suzuki. So, we took a break from Suzuki and did traditional for several months. You have got to find a teacher who knows when to challenge your child and also when to step back. I can not stress this enough, you have to have a good teacher.
In closing, you are strongly encouraged to do whatever it takes to make this a fun, enjoyable experience for your child. If you start with one teacher and find they are not meeting the needs of your child, then do not wait too long to switch. After all, a poor experience at a young age can turn a child off to music lessons for a long time, possible forever.