Fallacies You May Have Heard About the Suzuki Approach

There are many misconceptions about the Suzuki Approach to music education. Many parents and traditional music teachers believe them to be true, either because 1) they don’t fully understand the philosophy or 2) they have not observed or found the right Suzuki teacher for their child. Suzuki flute recital very young student performing at Flute and Friends Music Academy

Suzuki students don’t learn to read music.

Suzuki students absolutely learn to read music, but they do so when they are reading ready. Consider the way children learn language: speaking comes before reading and writing. Early Suzuki lessons focus on learning to play the instrument and developing a beautiful tone. Very young children begin with pre-reading skills such as learning the musical alphabet, recognizing lines and spaces and rhythmic values. Reading music is an important part of music education! Therefore it is learned separately but simultaneously to the Suzuki repertoire.

Suzuki flute students working together on note reading at Flute and Friends Music AcademyStudents play like robots and are not creative. They copy recorded music.

In order to be creative in any way, we must first have a basic knowledge of how to do something. Listening to a master play a beautiful piece of music and imitating that sound is not copying; it’s learning. A mother speaks to her baby from the day he is born. The infant coos imitating her sounds. This is a necessary developmental step in learning to speak. A painter sits at the museum copying the works of famous artists. Will they ever create their own composition? Of course, but they must first learn the basics. Even young Suzuki students love to compose their own songs, but they must lean how to play some notes first!

 The Suzuki Method trains students.

The goal of Shinichi Suzuki was not to train an army of little music geniuses. The purpose was to find a way to develop each child’s good character and noble spirit. Through learning music, young children could become sensible human beings. Suzuki teachers nurture each child’s potential teaching valuable life skills. Hard work, dedication, self-discipline, and practice and all come with learning a musical instrument.

If I enroll my child in Suzuki lessons, we’ll have to practice for hours a day!

The Suzuki method is a child-centered approach to music education. Most Suzuki teachers are very practical about helping parents to fit practice into their daily life. Young children only need to practice 5-10 minutes a day. Older students can break up their musical practice routine in between homework and other activities.  It is always more important to be consistent and play a little every day, then not at all or for hours at a time.  Long practice sessions are not required to achieve results, but consistency is! Suzuki reminds us…….

“Only practice on the days you eat!” ~ S. Suzuki