What’s Different about Suzuki Piano Lessons?

What’s the difference between “traditional children’s piano lessons” and “Suzuki piano lessons”?

 Suzuki method piano lessons differ from traditional piano lessons in four major categories – parental involvement, start young, ear training and stage presence. The result of these differences are that Suzuki students play more beautifully and confidently than traditional students. So you can tell why I, a piano teacher listening to hours of students play each week, would prefer the sound of Suzuki songs!

Below is a summary of these differences.

 

SUZUKI METHOD

PARENT INVOLVEMENT

– Parents attend orientation before lessons begin

– Parents attend lessons with their children

– Parents learn piano along with their children

– Parents direct home practice

 

START YOUNG

– Best ages to start – 4-6 years old

– Young ones love playing with parents

– Lessons designed with young ones in mind

– But you’re never too old to start –

anyone can learn to play beautifully

with the Suzuki method

 

EAR TRAINING

– Students listen daily to CD of professional pianist playing all Suzuki songs

– Focus is on the SOUND of the piano

– Students watch their hands as they play by ear for Volume 1

– Music reading is delayed until Volume 2

– Goal is for students to be able to play any song they hear

 

STAGE PRESENCE

– Students are instructed in proper stage etiquette

– Students perform frequently (4-5 times per year) to develop poise

– Students perform well-learned pieces to gain confidence

– Students have memorized music from the beginning so performing from memory is natural

– Suzuki families (audience) offer enthusiastic encouragement

TRADITIONAL LESSONS

INDEPENDENT LEARNING

– Students attend lessons by themselves

– Students remember assignments themselves

– Students practice by themselves at home

START AT OLDER AGES

– Students must be old enough able to read both music and the instructions in order to do assigned practice

– Teens and pre-teens who dislike help from parents could prefer traditional lessons

– Good for students who prefer a more serious atmosphere, skipping games, stories and puppets

READ MUSIC FROM THE BEGINNING

– Music reading begins at the first lesson, no delay

– Technique (hand and finger positions) can suffer as attention is on the paper, not on the hands

– Ear training often non-existent, as attention is visual (music reading) not auditory

STAGE PRESENCE

– Traditional lessons have only one recital per year

– Recitals tend to be tense because of unfamiliarity

– Concentration on early music reading hampers memory development, thus making performing by memory more anxious

BOTTOM LINE

Suzuki students play beautifully with confidence and enthusiasm. As a teacher or a parent, it is a joy to offer children such opportunities to excel.