Cadek News

Music Instruction 101: What is the Suzuki Method?

Suzuki Method builds a positive, supportive learning environment for music education. 
You may have heard or read about the Suzuki Method—what is it, and it is a good choice for your family? 

Cadek Conservatory of Music offers both traditional and Suzuki Method private lessons, as well as Suzuki group classes for violin. All individual instruction builds on a positive framework of music appreciation, understanding, and practice skills. The Suzuki Method provides a proven structure, rhythm, and positive experience for parents and students learning an instrument. 

Instructors who bring certification, training, and experience from the Suzuki Association of the Americas are equipped to provide a unique and supportive training environment. While many instructors may adapt Suzuki-style methods, or use the books for playing, Suzuki instructors employ a specific and regimented approach to their teaching methodology.

Most Suzuki instructors at Cadek also teach traditional lessons, as well. Cadek instructors with Suzuki training include:
  • Bryony Stroud-Watson and Todd Harmon are Suzuki Method teachers for violin and viola, and Harmon for cello. Melody Poke is a Suzuki violin instructor.
  • David Dunn is a Suzuki instructor for recorder. 
  • Andrea Shepherd Tierney and Irina Polyakova are Suzuki piano instructors. 
  • Alejandro Olson is a Suzuki guitar instructor. 
The Mother-Tongue Approach—Every Child Can
Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki founded this way of teaching as he applied the basic principles of language acquisition to learning music. In the Suzuki Method, this is understood as the “mother-tongue” approach. Suzuki Method can be used at a young age, starting at 4 or 5 years old, though older students are welcome to begin the program.

Reading music is introduced later in the method. Before reading, students demonstrate listening skills, comfort with the instrument, and established playing. Much of Suzuki Method relies on tenants of early childhood development and the idea that every child can learn.

Creating a Supportive Environment
Parents play an active role in the learning process. As part of Suzuki’s philosophy, an individual is considered a sum of their environment. As daily listening to music, and to the Suzuki repertoire, is a crucial component of this method, a Suzuki parent embraces and models the practice, as well as develops a space and place for music at home.

“We know children early on model behavior from their parents,” says Bryony Stroud-Watson, Suzuki violin and viola instructor at Cadek Conservatory. Parents decide to embark on this unique music education experience together and create the ideal environment for learning—together. Positive encouragement and feedback, and eliminating negative feedback, is a crucial piece of the Suzuki method.

Stroud-Watson, as well as other Suzuki teachers at Cadek, recommend a parent education session and background reading before starting lessons to fully understand the commitment—and joys—that come from this method.

Understanding the Triangle
The success of the Suzuki method depends on the triangular relationship between the parent, student, and teacher. According to Stroud-Watson, this relationship is rooted in a nurturing and non-judgemental environment. Communication should be open and forthright. Each arm of the triangle is equally important. 
  • The Parent: The parent attends lessons and group classes, practices with the child regularly, supervises daily listening, attends related events, and creates a motivational environment, according to Stroud-Watson. The parent models the home practice after the lessons and imitates the teacher’s positive attitude and methods.
  • The Teacher: A caring but objective onlooker, the teacher’s perspective, opinions, and reactions can be valuable to the parent and child. The teacher must prepare through practice and study, including study of philosophy and early childhood development.
  • The Student: A student’s age and stage deserves both the teacher’s and parent’s understanding and concern. The student has an opportunity to be involved with many caring adults. The student needs to understand the parent looks to the teacher for instruction, and the teacher relies on the parent to help the student master an assignment at home.
Becoming a Suzuki family, with a student progressing under the guidance and positive influence of a teacher and parent, is a choice. Stroud-Watson emphasizes the power of the Suzuki Method for families and students. 

“I love the challenge of finding how each person learns, whether an adult, a tween, or older tween,” Stroud-Watson says. “The youngest students demonstrate what it is to be completely open to learning from your environment. To learn from doing, and to have no experience of failure, leads to very positive growth development.”

Cadek Conservatory of Music is here to make sure students and parents are ready to learn more about Suzuki. Inquire now and we can help you find the instruction who will help you with the first step toward your goals.
    • Bryony Stroud-Watson, Suzuki violin and viola

    • Todd Harmon, Suzuki violin, viola, and cello

    • David Dunn, Suzuki recorder

    • Irina Polyakova, Suzuki piano

    • Andrea Shepherd Tierney, Suzuki piano

    • Alejandro Olson, Suzuki guitar