The journey of learning an instrument includes a plethora of technical and musical factors for practice and performance, but using specific methods have made this process clearer and easier for teachers and students. As a teacher who provides violin lessons in Atlanta, I also use methods that have materials for my students to follow in lessons and on their own. For more advanced students, technique exercises and solo repertoire usually varies, but for beginners, using a universal plan that covers the fundamental aspects of playing violin is commonly taught by teachers.
The Suzuki Method is one widely used in America and within the Suzuki Association and violin teachers in Altanta are the largest group of instrumentalists who use this method. I often hear parents ask, “what makes this method stand out the most from others?” I have explored other books and resources, but the Suzuki Method is one of the oldest – proving its popularity over time as a probable confirmation for the curriculum’s effectiveness. Here are some considerations I share with inquirers for understanding this way of learning and whether it best suits the beginning stages for violinists.
What Is The Suzuki Method?
The Suzuki Method is a curriculum and philosophy for learning an instrument started by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in the 1960s. This method began specifically for violinists as Dr. Suzuki studied children’s learning styles. The violin studies have ten volumes and each book is an advancement from the previous one. Dr. Suzuki in his book, Nurtured By Love, explains the holistic approach of his method by saying, “character first, ability second”, which emphasizes the need for teachers to use their training to help students become better individuals as well as excellent musicians. Each book has different pieces with instructions to build on technical and musical practice, along with recordings for students’ listening skills.
Suzuki Method Advantages
The common use of the Suzuki Method in America alone provides a connection among violin students in different places. I remember using this method in my earliest years of learning and being able to play along with other violinists in group classes or in orchestra. For my parents, this resource was a measuring tool to track my progress and look ahead at the following pieces if I was advancing faster each week.
The first book gives visuals of standard violin and bow holds, and also has simple step-by-step instructions for practicing the next piece to help guide students even outside lesson times. I also appreciate how the first few tunes are complete pieces for students to perform what they are learning, initiating the performance aspect of being a violinist from the very beginning. The pieces have a flow for easier memorization and the music’s form helps students’ mind and body work together in a balanced way.
Concerns To Consider
While the Suzuki Method covers a wide range of material, the approach requires other supplemental teaching tools to help students understand other pivotal lessons for playing violin. For example, the method does not cover parts of music theory such as note reading or time signatures. I find that this method is often used for classically training students and while it works to lay a foundation for any violinist regardless of genre, teachers who teach creative and improvisatory playing will also need to incorporate their own approach to each lesson. My violin studio has a variety of students and I adapt this method with self-made or other published books according to each student’s musical background and creative taste.
The Best Way To Start
For anyone who wants to learn to play the violin well, one method alone will not provide all the answers. Every learner has a unique personality, body, and learning style that must be met with a teacher who provides versatile approaches to each lesson. Lessons In Your Home focuses on providing students with quality teachers who best meet their interests and utilize methods for each student’s goal toward being an exceptional player. Our teachers will come right to your home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. Our online music lessons are taught by local music teachers who tailor their lessons specifically for your child. Contact us today to learn more.
By: Danya Wilson