Characteristics and Benefits of the Suzuki Method

02 March, 2020
The Suzuki method is a way of teaching children music, considering that talent isn't something that you inherit, but something you learn. 

Today we’ll talk about the characteristics and benefits of the Suzuki method, also known as “Talent Education.” The name of this method is due to its author, a French violinist, philosopher, and pedagogue, Shinichi Suzuki, born in Japan in 1898.

This violinist was in search of a way to teach young children to play the violin. Subsequently, the method would also be ideal for learning other instruments. It was first developed in a small school in Matsumoto, Japan. After that, it spread to the US and, today, people use it all over the world.

The Suzuki method

Some consider this method to be philosophy that serves to teach young children how to play a musical instrument. That includes the violin, cello, harp, piano, guitar, double bass, different flutes, ocarina, etc. It’s ideal for 3-year-olds and up, but it also works for teaching adults. 

The main characteristic of this method is that it doesn’t regard our musical ability as something that comes from innate talent. Instead, it considers it to be a skill that we can train, exercise, and develop. Moreover, it makes a comparison with the mother tongue, considering that children learn to speak their own language by developing their hearing ability; the same thing would happen regarding music learning.

Characteristics and Benefits of the Suzuki Method

Children can be in contact with musical sounds from a young age in order to learn them. Just as they learn their mother tongue, it’s necessary to respect every child’s learning rhythm when it comes to musical learning. 

It goes without saying that the younger the children are when they begin to learn to play a musical instrument, the better they do. Even though it may be more difficult to teach them as children, the long-term results are better. At an early age, they’re more receptive and accept their mistakes better.

Up next, we’ll see the characteristics and benefits of the Suzuki method in more detail.

Characteristics of the Suzuki method

Among its main characteristics, we can name:

Hearing

Children should grow up in environments with musical stimuli; they can attend concerts, listen to music, and instruments, etc. By repeatedly listening to musical sounds, as with the mother tongue, they become familiar with them and internalize them.

The important role that parents play

To help teachers, parents should continue to assist children in practicing the instrument at home. Suzuki proposed that they should accompany their children to music classes in order to know how to help them at home. 

Early start

When they’re younger, their language acquisition, hearing ability, motor skills, and muscle coordination are in full swing. That’s why it’s the best age to start.

Repetition

Repetition is the basis of learning. Just like when you’re a child and words are repeated a lot, it’s the same with practicing an instrument. Repetition is an essential action for its execution.

Encouragement and positive reinforcement

We have to motivate and praise children’s progress. Additionally, we must create a warm and quiet environment in which they can exercise their musical skills. 

Gradual repertoire

The method presents well-ordered sequences for each instrument, which transition into more complex and technical pieces. 

Postpone reading music

Children must first reach a basic minimum skill level in music in order to then begin reading musical scores. 

Learning with other children

Group classes promote healthy social interactions, they motivate them and help develop socialization. At the same time, the less advanced students learn from students who are more adept. 

Characteristics and Benefits of the Suzuki Method

Benefits of the Suzuki method

Here’s a list of the main benefits of the Suzuki method. Keep in mind that these aren’t the only ones.

  • From an early age, it develops the taste for music in a pleasant way, as something innate and not as an imposition.
  • It allows musical learning in a natural way; not being aware of the complex mental processes of decoding that are necessary to learn music.
  • Cultivates hearing development and intellectual formation. It favors the development of the sense of rhythm, physical and motor training, balance, and laterality.
  • Early learning of the musical language, which helps with learning other languages and vice versa.
  • Develops the capacity for perseverance, effort, and discipline. As their ability to recover from mistakes or errors grows, it will affect their self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • Promotes concentration, memory, attention, listening ability, and mental agility. At the same time, it develops creativity and imagination.
  • The children’s learning rhythms are respected. The taste for music develops when you have the freedom to move forward at your own pace.
  • It promotes the development of socialization and interaction with others through group music learning. It improves their capacity to cooperate, communicate and dialogue, and respect the ideas of others. 

In short, considering the characteristics and benefits of the Suzuki method explained just now, we can say that it’s a very successful method to get children to learn their preferred instrument.