If you are thinking about introducing your child to the world of music, Suzuki talent education opens doors to beautiful music, a better relationship with your children, good citizenship, and hopefully a way of making the world a little better.
Suzuki's reason for teaching young children to play the violin was in large part about making the world a better place. When parents and children bond frequently and deeply to accomplish a beautiful task and when children learn to appreciate beauty in the world, they take care of themselves and the world around them.
How do I start?
Above all, be informed about Suzuki talent education. It is much more than "teaching little kids to play music." You patience will be tested more than you ever imagined. But your family will be rewarded more than you ever imagined. What can I say? I've done this as a parent for over seven years now. It's the grounding principle of our family.
Do this first - read my overview of Suzuki talent education.
Next, purchase and read two books:
- "Nurtured by Love" by Shinichi Suzuki
- "Beyond the Music Lesson: Habits of successful Suzuki families" by Christine Wilson Goodner.
Don't skip this step. Read the books - they aren't that long - then look for a teacher. You'll have a much better idea of what you're signing up for. You might also take a look at my article on myths about learning to play a musical instrument.
But what instrument?
If your child is very young - three or four - then you will probably be then one picking. If you play an instrument, that may be a good choice for your child. Are you worried that a particular instrument placed in the hands of a child so young won't ultimately be a good match? Or are you worried about not giving your child agency in the choice? Consider this: our children didn't choose us, yet children love us anyway. When children grow up with their instruments, they become of natural extension of themselves, whether it's a violin, a cello, a viola, or a piano.
True story: we had decided to start our daughter on cello. But she went to try it out and refused to even sit down with the instrument. The violin worked better; so here we are years later with a violinist.
How do I find a teacher?
You may know of other families in your community who can point you to individual teachers. The Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) if you live in Canada, the U.S., Central or South America has a directory of registered Suzuki teachers.
What instrument should I buy?
Wait! Teachers are very experienced at sizing instruments for children. Don't buy an instrument until the teacher has given the green-light.
How long does it take to learn?
A lifetime. Seriously, if you think first about your relationship with your child, about all the abilities they (and you!) are developing, it's the road to mastery, not the mastery itself that you should focus on. Some kids progress quite quickly. Most about average.
It is important to say at the outset, you must practice with your child. And you should do it every day. Suzuki advised families to "only practice on the days that you eat." Progress is more consistent when you practice consistently.
After many years in the role of practice parent, I can say with honest and experience that was time, love and attention, it will be an incredible journey.
Here's a short video of our first seven years: