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That darn Suzuki CD is too fast!

Of all the Suzuki method criticisms, some of the harshest seem to be directed toward the CD that accompanies the method book. "It's like twinkle on speed!" One parent exclaimed to me.

This is why I think it's important to clear up what the CD is ACTUALLY for. Most people seem to believe that Suzuki students are supposed to listen to the CD, memorize the song, and then play it along with the CD. This is only half true.

What partially makes "the Suzuki method" different from "the traditional style" is the approach to sight reading. When young students (3 or 4 years old) are learning the violin, it would be almost impossible for them to make any sort of progress if they were asked to play the violin (which involves a high level of fine motor skills) AND read music (most of them can't even read books yet). Doing both of those things is even incredibly difficult for an adult beginner who can read. So we separate the two tasks. This allows them to focus on the technically complex task of playing their instrument.

Enter the CD. The CD is used to help the students memorize a piece. It's very difficult to play a piece (reading or not) when you have no idea how it goes. The CD also serves as a reference point for intonation. Beginners are by no means expected to play with the CD or even at CD speed. Once they are more solid players (as in, well past twinkle), they are asked to go back and play with the CD. Beginning students are, however, asked to do simple activities such as bowing on their shoulder along with the CD. This is an easy way to teach them how to keep a consistent tempo.

What I think is important to keep in mind is that the Suzuki method books are just that: method books. Their purpose is to teach certain techniques in a pedagogical fashion. They are NOT the method. The actual "Suzuki method" is an approach to teaching.

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