Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I choose Suzuki lessons?
The benefits of Suzuki study go beyond musical training! Based on Dr. Suzuki’s goal of not only developing accomplished musicians, but also nurturing fine human beings, Suzuki lessons foster the development of each child’s character through the study of music.
Suzuki programs typically offer group classes, observation of other students, and lots of performance opportunities, which all combine to promote healthy social interaction and the development of self confidence. Children learn about cooperation, generosity, and appreciation for the efforts of others.
Learning is allowed to progress at the child's pace, with emphasis on building a strong foundation and acquiring skills through careful repetition and review. Some of the benefits of learning in a Suzuki setting include self-discipline, perseverance, and the ability to set and achieve goals--all of which help set students up for success in all areas of life.
Why is weekly observation so important?
Being in the room during other students' lessons provides a unique learning opportunity for both students and parents. This is where some of the most important learning takes place!
As a parent, you gain a different perspective from watching the lessons of other people's children. With less emotional investment, you can be more objective. You can often understand certain teaching points better when heard in the context of someone else's lesson. Hearing the same basics repeated over and over helps things to sink in. It can help you to have more realistic expectations for your own child, and you will get ideas for additional ways to practice with your child at home.
Children do not have to actively watch or "pay attention" in order to absorb an incredible amount of information. Observation helps students develop confidence ("I can do that!") and provides opportunities for building familiarity with the songs they will be learning to play in Suzuki Book 1. Students become encouraged and motivated to aspire to the ability of others.
Your child will in turn benefit from being observed. Students who are observed by others develop better concentration and focus, feel pride in providing a role model for less advanced students, and increase their confidence in performance situations.
Can we get by without an adjustable bench and footstool?
Unlike violins and other instruments which come in varying sizes to fit children, pianos come in only one size. Therefore, it is necessary to help your child adjust to the size of the piano. It is crucial to be seated at the correct height, with the feet supported, in order to have good posture at the piano. Good posture is necessary to develop good playing technique and the ability to play musically with ease. The adjustable bench and footstool can easily change heights periodically as your child grows. Having the right equipment makes practice time more pleasant for both parent and child!
Can we wait to get a good piano once our child is more advanced?
To be able to create music that sounds good, you need to have an instrument that has the capability of making a good sound. A quality instrument will inspire both you and your child to spend time at the piano, helping to ensure progress and enjoyment. Just as you would not expect your child to learn to write with a dull pencil or learn to play soccer with a deflated soccer ball, you should not expect your child to learn to play piano on a poor quality instrument. If you are unsure about determining piano quality, I am happy to advise you on the suitability of your current piano or on the purchase of a new or used piano.
How do I know if we are doing enough listening at home?
If your child is just starting lessons, the best indication is when they start humming songs from the Suzuki CD, either along with the recording while it’s playing, or at random times when it’s not playing. For students who have been in lessons for several months or more, the best way to know that you are doing sufficient listening is if your child is continually motivated to learn how to play the next song coming up! If they are going to the piano on their own to figure out how the notes go to a new song they have heard on the recording, that is a good sign that you are doing enough listening. I can usually tell at the lesson if a student is not hearing the recording enough, and will let the parent know. I love it when I hear younger siblings start to sing along to whatever is being played by the student at the piano — that tells me that the parent is doing their job at home!
Your child's progress and enthusiasm will usually be in direct proportion to the amount of listening being done at home. If it seems like your child has been stuck on learning the same song for more than a few weeks, they probably need to do more listening. If they suddenly can’t remember how to play a song they were able to play last month, they have probably not been hearing the recording enough lately.
It's important for the parent the hear the recording enough, too! In order to know if your child is struggling at home due to insufficient listening, you need to have your own solid aural picture of each song.