There are many different successful methods of learning the piano, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. If you’re looking into taking piano lessons in Houston and are searching for the best method for you or your child, you’ve probably come across the Suzuki Method a number of times. Although this method was developed focusing on how to teach a young child, it is successful with any age.
Mother Tongue Philosophy
The Suzuki Method was developed by Shin’ichi Suzuki which follows the Mother Tongue Philosophy and the belief that every child can succeed. The Mother Tongue Philosophy is the idea that we can learn to play an instrument in the same manner we all learn to speak our native language: in total immersion and with parental support. From before we are even able to walk, we are listening, imitating speech patterns, and our parents are enthusiastic about (almost) every sound we make. Our first words are simple and we repeat them over and over, even as our vocabulary expands. Our ma-mas and da-das eventually turn into mother and father after years of listening and practice, but we never forget how to say our first words. In fact, we get better at them!
Doctor Suzuki believed in teaching how to play the piano or any instrument the same way while harnessing a love for music and creating beautiful hearts. Learning an instrument should not be a burden set upon a child but a process with a parental advocate. It is the parents duty to create a positive and productive environment for success. A designated parent needs to be present at all lessons, actively listening and taking notes. They need to ensure there is a designated practice time that works for their family and regular listening to the Suzuki CDs becomes a part of daily life. Most importantly, the parents need to show enthusiasm through praise, love, and encouragement. With the proper environment created by the Houston piano teacher and parent, a child is destined to succeed.
Doctor Suzuki was not set out to create an army of professional musicians. He sought to create independent and sensitive thinkers with beautiful hearts. If this sounds like a method that would work for your family, please read Doctor Suzuki’s book, Nurtured by Love, for a deeper understanding of his philosophy.
Bastien, Alfred, and Faber and Faber Methods
The Suzuki Method is certainly not the only method out there and has its pitfalls if you are not working with a properly Suzuki trained teacher. Many criticize that because there is so much emphasis on listening and memorization that many have subpar reading skills. A well trained teacher should provide supplemental material so that this is not the case. The Bastien, Alfred, and Faber and Faber methods all introduce note reading much earlier and tend to be more aesthetically pleasing, with built-in games and theory exercises. A common shortcoming for these methods is that there is a heavy focus on set playing positions which can lead to a dip in sight reading and technical skills.
Unfortunately there is no simple answer and it may take some trial and error to find what works best for you and your family. The most important thing is that you are dedicated to learning and have found a teacher who shares similar desires to learning an instrument.
Where can I find a teacher?
If you’re ready to start taking lessons, contact us today! Our teachers 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 with live lessons tailored to your child!
by Tracy Gibler