Are Suzuki Violin Lessons the Best Choice for My Family?
The Suzuki Method of violin lessons has gained great popularity over the past several decades, and for good reason. Suzuki instruction has demonstrated superior results for thousands of students. These students enjoy added benefits often not available to violin students from previous generations.
In fact, many of today’s top performing violin soloists have come up through the Suzuki system. This, in addition to countless thousands of students and families who have enjoyed being part of a burgeoning and warm violin community.
So, how is Suzuki instruction different from “traditional” violin lessons?
This question can be the source of much confusion, but here’s the key thing to remember: Suzuki lessons are really very traditional in approach.
Suzuki instruction is very traditional in approach. So don’t worry that your student will be missing out on any aspect of violin technique.
Plus, Suzuki comes with many other benefits, not the least of which the ability to get up on your feet and build stage confidence at an early age. Suzuki students are required to get up on stage and perform pieces from memory from the very beginning. That’s huge!
There is a large and growing network of Suzuki teachers all across the world. They are tightly networked and enjoy many opportunities for professional development.
Teachers and students alike can travel to special summer “institutes” which are great opportunities for networking and enrichment of skills. Suzuki students share a common graded and progressive library of musical selections and thus are able to play together. with any Suzuki group.
There is a common misconception that Suzuki students don’t learn to read music. This is completely untrue; music reading skills are introduced to the student at an appropriate age.
Another misconception: Suzuki students don’t play as “musically” as other students. Attend a recital at a great Suzuki studio and you’ll know that is utter rubbish!
Full disclosure here; I’m a certified Suzuki teacher and an enthusiastic proponent of the method. In fact, I wish it had been available when I was a young student! If it were, I’d have developed these skills more fully:
- Easily memorize long musical selections
- Eliminate stage fright at an early age
- Always have something ready to play at a moment’s notice
On the other hand, the Suzuki vs traditional violin lessons choice in itself won’t make or break your results. The key is finding a great teacher that you are comfortable working with, and doing the best possible work with that person.
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About the Author
Bill Alpert is a performer, teacher and author with a unique focus on personal development and mindfulness viewed through the lens of violin study. Mr. Alpert's resume includes recordings, performances and film scores with artists such as The Moody Blues, Pepe Romero, Tina Turner and Johnny Mathis. The co-founder of the award winning Alpert Studio of Voice and Violin in California, he is professionally active in the American String Teachers Association and the Suzuki Association of America.