August 7, 2010

Saturday Strings: Suzuki Principles

Principles of Study and Guidance

Four Essential Points for Teachers and Parents
  1. The child should listen to the reference recordings every day at home to develop musical sensitivity. Rapid progress depends on this listening.
  2. Tonalization, or the production of a beautiful tone, should be stressed in the lesson and at home.
  3. Constant attention should be given to accurate intonation, correct posture, and the proper bow hold.
  4. Parents and teachers should strive to motivate the child so he will enjoy practicing correctly at home.
Through the experience I have gained in teaching young children for over thirty years, I am thoroughly convinced that musical ability can be fully cultivated in every child if the above four points are faithfully observed.

Musical ability is not an inborn talent but an ability that can be developed. Any child who is properly trained can develop musical ability just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. For the happiness of children, I hope these four essential points will be carefully observed and put to continual use in the home and studio.

Guidance for music reading will begin in Vol. 4. Just as the alphabet is not taught when children first learn their mother language, so music reading should not be included in violin study until children have sufficiently developed their musical sensitivity, playing skill, and memory. In the Suzuki Violin School this should occur by the end of Vol. 3. Even after acquiring the ability to read music, however, the children should, as a rule, play from memory during lessons.

Shinichi Suzuki

Suzuki Violin School, Violin Part, Vol. 1. Summy-Birchard Inc. Warner Bros. Publications Inc. Miami. 1978. ISBN 0-87487-144-1

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