Reply To: Traditional vs Suzuki. Which is better??
The most important unique aspect of the Suzuki method is that it allows students to start playing an instrument before they have the cognitive brain development to interpret written symbols of any kind. Dr. Suzuki realized that, like any other language, instrumental music performance can begin before we can read. To have a true Suzuki program, the teachers must be trained by a certified Suzuki trainer or program and start students as soon as they are capable of paying attention to the teacher. Due to this early start, it is essential for one or both parents to be actively involved in the lessons and in the daily student practice. In the lessons, the teacher is working with the student but is actually training the parent how to be an effective practice coach. In the Japanese public schools, general music education is comprehensive and wonderfully complimentary to Dr. Suzuki’s work. Unfortunately, few if any American school have similarly comprehensive music training for all students. As a result, for an American Suzuki program to be successful, they must include the musicianship training along the way. If you are lucky enough to end up with Suzuki trained students in your program, it is likely that you will have to help them make the transition to reading – do it! It is a great investment of your time and creativity. All that said, the Suzuki books are an outstanding resource for all of us. There are excellent books for teachers about Dr. Suzuki and his philosophy as well as outstanding publications about string pedagogy. The repertoire development books are terrific resource for us to use as sequential solo repertoire development. As a 14 year Suzuki dad and 35+ year school orchestra director, I can enthusiastically recommend that make maximum use of any Suzuki materials and training you have available. Best of all – enroll your own family in Suzuki. It changes the family dynamics in wonderful ways and is one of the best gifts you can give to your children (not to mention a great resource for your own professional development).