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Suzuki Academy of Columbia & USC

What the Students Taught the Teacher

This is normal. So how do we teach our children to practice? We engage them in the Process We ask them questions.

Inspiration and motivation for Suzuki teachers, parents and students

We have them think about if they heard an improvement. It may feel less efficient but it how they learn to practice well, which is the long term goal. Notice what the teacher is doing in the lesson and use those same tactics at home If your teacher asks you to work on a skill at home during the week, pay careful attention to how they are working with your child on that skill in the lesson. Here are some helpful ways to think about practice: Practice is making something easier. Practice is learning to focus. Practice is playing the instrument daily to build a foundation of skills. Practice is creativity and trying new ideas to add feeling and personality to our music.

Practice is letting ourselves make mistakes so we can learn from them. Practice is building connections in the brain through high quality repetitions. Now check your email to confirm your subscription. There was an error submitting your subscription. Her broad range of teaching experience and respect for each child's individuality are qualities that give Constance an exceptional basis for working with homeschooled and gifted children.

Constance is also a journalist whose extensive series on classical music for the Sunday LA Times ran for over two decades. In , she authored the widely referenced article about the Suzuki method, " The Mom-Centric Method " for the Los Angeles Times, titled with the phrase she coined to describe the most prominent element in Suzuki teaching philosophy.

Suzuki Program

The article is referred to by hundreds of sources and is cited in the Wikipedia entry on Suzuki method. She is passionate about giving students a solid base for a lifetime of rich experience through understanding music.

So it's hard to attempt an accurate comparison when you don't have secure definitions on both sides to compare! And I do think many teachers, maybe especially a generation ago, took it to that extreme hence the stereotypes-of which your descriptions are probably a reasonably accurate portrayal. I'd just ask caution in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I have learned a ton from the Suzuki people, though there are aspects of it I wouldn't use personally.

I would hazard a guess that the really good Suzuki teachers and the really good traditional teachers are not that far distant from each other, and while I understand the frustration with bad teaching, and the fact that it can get passed off as good teaching based on a Suzuki label, I hope we eventually can get past the stereotypes and work with and learn from each other! I do write with a lot of respect for your viewpoint--your experience as a teacher, musician, and parent qualifies you probably much more than my relatively short and small-scale music teaching career.

Just had to put a word in for perhaps a more balanced perspective. Thanks for your thoughts! After teaching in LA for 12 years and seeing many former Suzuki students walk through my door who were in very bad shape both physically and emotionally, I was compelled to write the article. It's quite a traditional approach!

His philosophy was extremely inclusive, and he encouraged teachers to continue learning, growing, sharing their best ideas and using their own creativity. A bad teacher, traditional, Suzuki or otherwise, can obviously put you down the wrong path, with bad habits, emotional problems toward the instrument, etc.


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In the end, a student needs an accomplished violinist who is a good teacher of children, whether the teacher uses traditional, Suzuki or other methods. The more curiosity your teacher has about the benefits of various teaching methods, about merits of various kinds of music -- the better. The more close-minded your teacher is, the more limited your training will be.

From Pavel Spacek Posted on March 5, at PM Well, I am just a 'Suzuki' parent living in the Suzuki desert but I am surprised by your rather negative reaction to Suzuki approach and philosophy of learning the violin. We are using Kerstin Wartberg's Step by Step which is Suzuki complemented with preparatory exercises and detailed notes. Kerstin Wartberg herself studied with Suzuki in Japan. We never had a Suzuki trained teacher, always 'traditional' but they never objected to using Suzuki materials.

One of them because of frequent moves we had to change a few times never even heard of Suzuki; after seeing the printed music of the first four volumes he said 'I never saw such beautifully methodologically arranged school. Each piece brings a new technique and builds on the previous one.

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Suzuki knew well what he was doing when he postponed not eliminated entirely note-reading. Both Suzuki and Kerstin Wartberg published note reading books. It is not the mistake of methodology that they are not used. Once I said to our teacher after the concert traditionally trained pupils and my daughter : 'Everybody went to the stage with a piece of paper but she went with the musical instrument'. He choked with laugh - different approach. Stimulating pace We go at our own pace, one piece after another and my daughter was never bored. We are not striving to play 3-octave within a year, she plays for her pleasure, not to become the next Paganini.

Unlimited repertoire My daughter loves Kerstin Wartberg's books.

Suzuki for Kids at NYC Guitar School

She can draw into them and she always asks when she will play in the next one - they are colour coded. There is plenty of repertoire in those books but she is not restricted to them she can play what she likes and wants to play within her abilities so she learnt on her own Frere Jacques and plenty of folk songs transpozed for her scale abilities by me. We can't care less when we will be in book number 5, 8 or 10, when that will be it will be. Tangible rewards My daughter loves playing her violin but she does not reject beautiful stickers either.

In fact, I had to buy and suggest to our teacher to use them But stickers are not her motivation, her biggest motivator is the possibility of a concert and playing the song at the concert. Encouragement to 'Leave the Nest' Don't really understand the point, what is the difference between school concerts in Suzuki group and school concert in traditional school - both are school concerts right? That's lovely and it is a nice start and end to the lesson, I will try to teach that my daughter too.

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BTW, I think the teacher bows too. Beautiful Form I think you are barking at the wrong tree here. Both Suzuki and Kerstin Wartberg too emphasizes beautiful posture, it is not the mistake of Suzuki methodology that some teacher do not enforce it. I can assure you that after spending time with 'traditionally' trained teachers we still have work on posture and bow hand to do but that is the part of the journey.

Teacher Quality I do not think that is Suzuki methodology and approach problem but general teaching problem.


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Due to our frequent moves we met quite a few teachers 'traditional' ones and I could notice differences in approach and quality. Your Martha story sounds very strange. Did the mother push her daughter to sit in front of loudspeakers for 2 hours without move? Then I would understand such reaction.