Is the Suzuki Violin Method the Best Way to Learn Violin?

Violinist Karen Gomyo – Rising Star Began Her Violin Journey with Suzuki 

I recently got into a semi-heated “discussion” with a rather well known violinist (who shall remain unnamed here). His belief: that the Suzuki Method has “brought forth the end of the era of great violinists.” That this new generation of Suzuki-spawned “violinists-in-a-box” are somehow less creative, and lacking in the musical qualities that make for great performers.

Hogwash.

Is the Suzuki Method the Best? or Should I Take “Traditional” Violin Lessons?

It’s time to dispel a very common myth: that Suzuki lessons are somehow different than “regular” violin lessons. They are not!

In fact, Suzuki instruction is about as traditional as it gets. Students generally follow a similar technical progression. The musical substance starts with folks songs and moves into classical selections. Even the supplemental pieces and etudes that a great Suzuki Method teacher uses, are identical to “traditional” teachers.

So what’s so different about Suzuki instruction? It’s simply a matter of emphasis.

  • Suzuki students are up on their feet and performing from the very beginning. Early in the game they are learning how to memorize music and perform from memory, a super advanced and useful skill set.
  • Suzuki students share a common repertoire which enables them to play with other students anywhere in the world. Suzuki has community baked in!
  • Suzuki teachers have the opportunity to draw upon an amazing peer group of teacher trainers and a well established system of professional development.

 

It’s All About the Work

While some insist on arguing the merits of one method or another, this argument is pointless, even ridiculous. The success of any musical training comes down to many, many factors, the least of which is the specific choice of method.

Match a great violin teacher with a motivated student that enjoys the benefit of consistent family support, and mountains can be moved.

So is Suzuki a great choice for you or your family? I can offer you an unabashed “yes” if you’re ready to embark upon your violin journey with due care.
Still not convinced? Spend a few minutes with  Karen Gomyo’s Tango, or enjoy any performance of the countless Suzuki trained musicians who are inspiring audiences across the globe.


Bill Alpert

About the Author

Bill Alpert

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.