Often beginning with a 1/16th violin-shaped cardboard box, a sponge affixed by rubber-band to its corner as a chin rest, children as young as three years of age are able to embark on a lifelong journey embracing music. After a brief period learning posture and correct instrument position, the imitation is replaced and the melodies begin.
The Suzuki method is founded on a "mother tongue" philosophy recognizing how individuals learn to speak their native language by hearing it spoken around them. In the same way, children learn to play the violin, or other instruments, through a natural process of listening.
The Suzuki method is slightly different for each instrument studied
The familiar theme of "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" provides the first piece of music. It is expanded upon to teach variations in rhythm using the same notes from the original theme. Rhythms such as triplets, sung by the student as "blueberry blueberry" or sixteenth notes, sung as "peanut butter alligator" impart critical musical theory, but with an irreverence that creates giggles. Group classes and regular performances develop friendships, discipline, memory and confidence.
Lessons generally include a trio of support: Teacher, student and parent. In a typical lesson, the teacher may work with the student for the first half, then teach the parent, who will in turn work with the student until the next lesson. Dr. Shinichi Suzuki recommended a reasonable regimen in which students only practice on the days they eat.
From Twinkle theme to concert hall concertos, the Suzuki method recognizes that every child has talent that simply awaits nurturing.
Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff