The Suzuki Method
You Can Teach an Old Dog New tricks
When I was 7 years old I started to play classical piano. From the very start I had to learn how to read notes and rhythms. I was the first one in my family to ever play an instrument, which meant I had no one at home who could help me when I grew frustrated sitting by my piano trying to figure out how to play the latest song my teacher had given me. I remember many times I feeling so upset and frustrated I just wanted to quit. Many other times I was close to tears. But I would not give up.
Eventually reading notes became easier and easier, and when I turned 15 I went to a high-school that offered a certain music program, which meant I could learn how to play guitar as well, the school also offered music theory, ensemble, recording, and choir. By this time, my note reading was fine but I was still struggling with rhythms.
In my later 20′s working as a nanny I was offered the opportunity to learn how to play violin together with the girl I was babysitting. I accepted the challenge and we started taking lessons at Tone Academy using the Suzuki Method.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how the Suzuki Method makes learning how to play an instrument so much easier and so much more fun. I remember thinking:
-Why was this not available to me when I was 7?
By using fun and understandable rhythm exercises, recognizing different rhythms is so much easier. Reading “jello cards” helps you to recognize a certain rhythm in a song right away, which makes your note reading faster.
Today note reading for me is not a problem, but for a child who has never been in contact with notes this will most likely come off as quite confusing. By using numbers for the notes and your fingers the child does not have to worry too much about note reading in the start, which leaves more room to train the student’s ears. Eventually you need to learn how to read the notes, but learning an instrument can be overwhelming and confusing enough, there is no harm in waiting with note reading, I have noticed that the girl I am guiding in her violin practice slowly has started to recognize the notes without me or her violin teacher pushing her. The feeling of frustration can easily take the fun out of learning.
I feel that with the Suzuki Method you progress rapidly. Already in the first book you will learn how to play music by composers such as Bach, Schumann and Gossec. Every piece in the book is carefully picked out to challenge you and prepare you for the next step, without compromising the fun! The Suzuki Method has even helped me to improve my piano and guitar playing.