Although traditional string instruction is regularly taught by the Bermuda School of Music’s faculty, our focus is the Suzuki Method of string instruction. There are specific aspects of the Suzuki Method which vary from the Traditional method, which typically focuses on music reading before posture and tone production.
Suzuki Strings – Every Child Can Learn
More than forty years ago, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother-tongue approach. The ideas of parent responsibility, loving encouragement, and constant repetition are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach.
In the same way that parents are involved in their child learning to talk, this method involves parents in the musical learning of their child. They attend lessons with the child and serve as “home teachers” during the week. One parent often learns to play before the child, so that s/he understands what the child is expected to do. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.
The early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to music should begin at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four, but it is never too late to begin.
Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Listening to music every day is important, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so that the child knows them immediately.
Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument. Children do not learn a word or piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.
As with language, the child’s effort to learn an instrument should be met with sincere praise and encouragement. Each child learns at his or her own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered. Children are also encouraged to support each other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.
Group Lessons – Learning with Other Children
In addition to private lessons, children participate in regular group lessons and performances at which they learn from, and are motivated by, each other. Group class times for all students are offered on Wednesdays or Saturdays.
Children do not practice exercises to learn to talk, but use language for its natural purpose of communication and self-expression. Pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are designed to present technical problems to be learned in the context of the music rather than through technical exercises.
Children learn to read after their ability to talk has been well established. In the same way, children should develop basic technical competence on their instruments before being taught to read music.
The first year or two require the parent/guardian to be hands-on in the lesson process, especially with younger children. This does not mean that you need to know how to play the violin, but means that you need to take a proactive stance in the lessons.
Min. Age: 3
Adult Lessons: Available
Class Length: 30, 45 & 60 minutes (private) 45 or 60 minutes (group)
Class Times Available: Various
Materials Needed: Suzuki CD and Music, Instrument TBD