Skip to main content

Sure they can hear it.... but can a Suzuki student read Music?

It was suggested to me via private message responses that I cover sight reading in the Suzuki method for my next blog. I feel like this is an excellent facet to touch on.

So can a Suzuki student read music? Talk about a loaded question. More often than not, "traditionally" taught teachers and players will scoff at the Suzuki Method for this reason alone. It is a very common misconception that the "Suzuki Method" teaches students to learn by ear alone. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Regardless of the method being taught, a great deal actually depends on the teacher (shocking, I know). When the Suzuki Method hit the United States, it created this huge phenomenon. Suddenly there was this series of books out there that practically taught students for you! How easy is that?!? The pieces build on themselves in regards to techninque, there's no higher power saying that you have to be "authorized" to teach Suzuki, all you have to do is tell the student to pop in the tape.

Sadly, what we see here now in the US are the results of that lack of mediation. Many of the students who learned from the Suzuki method books may not have actually been taught by a Suzuki teacher. The teacher may not have actually known anything about the man OR his philosophies. Fortunately, improvements are being made. The Suzuki Association of the Americas is making teacher training more readily available. This is causing some of said teachers to begin crawling out of the woodwork as it were.

So to answer the sight reading question: a true Suzuki student should be able to read. In fact, sight reading is a topic covered ad naseum in any Suzuki teacher training course (either short term or long term training). It has always been considered an important aspect of playing by Shinichi Suzuki. Children should begin learning how to read music when they start reading in school.

Something to keep in mind to wrap up: just beucase something is taught differently does not mean that something is taught incorrectly.


Popular posts from this blog

Principles of Sowing and Reaping for the Suzuki Parent: 5 Steps to Beginning Suzuki Success by Preparing the Soil

Last school year, I started a group of 4-5 year old students in a pre-twinkle cello class. One mother actively ignited her daughter Ella’s interest in the cello before enrolling in the program. Over the course of a few months, she helped Ella prepare to engage in a new learning process. They observed lessons, listened to cello music, talked about the cello, and actively built Ella’s excitement - all before starting lessons.

This experience allowed me to see how much a parent can cultivate their child’s interest, motivation, and readiness. It gave me a new appreciation for the parents’ role in preparing young children for a positive Suzuki experience.

Here are five ways to prepare the soil to help your child succeed in a Suzuki experience.

1. Build Your Knowledge

Parents are integral to the success of the Suzuki process. If you start a young child in a Suzuki program, your role as a parent will be very active. Your knowledge and education about the Suzuki method and philosophy helps y…

The Private Teaching Business Model

Over my years of teaching I've come across a wide variety of interpretations about the private teaching business model.  I feel that this is a natural result of the type of society we live in.  Many services these days are either "subscriptions" or "appointments."  For example, a gym membership is a subscription.  You pay a monthly fee to use the facility at any time during their hours of operation.  A doctor's visit or a haircut is an "appointment."  You call ahead to set up a time, you show up and then pay after the services have concluded.

With most services falling into one of these two categories, most people try to rationalize music lessons as one or the other.  However, music lessons are neither subscriptions or appointments.  They are actually a combination of both if the business entity is going to be successful.

The reasons why this hybrid business model occurs are:

1)  The service itself is centered around personal attention (appointmen…

Martial Arts and Music

I remember a few years ago I was having a conversation with one of my adult students about martial arts and music.  I always looked forward to my conversations with this student because she happened to be a fabulous Montessori teacher and founded what ended up being one of the biggest Montessori schools here in San Diego.  So she was this wealth of knowledge and it was such a privilege for me to be able to "pick her brain" from time to time.

Going back to the conversation, she observed that music and martial arts work really well together because they both required the same type of focus.  I have practiced martial arts for almost ten years so this is an opinion I have had for a long time but it surprised me to hear it coming from someone else.

Both music and martial arts revolve around the idea of a focused body and mind.  Teaching an extremely young student how to keep their instrument in place for one Twinkle is more mental training rather than physical.  Holding a light …