What is Suzuki?
The Black Hills Suzuki School is dedicated to teaching young children to play an instrument based on the principles of Shinichi Suzuki's "Mother Tongue" approach. A young child learns to play a musical instrument the same way he learns to speak his mother tongue, that is, by listening and then imitating, in an atmosphere of encouragement and support.
Some premises of the approach are: starting early (as young as age 3 or 4), moving in small steps, one parent acting as the home teacher, daily listening to the reference recordings, postponing music reading until skills are well established and creating a positive learning environment.
The Suzuki approach relies strongly on the cooperative realtionship beween teacher, parents, and student. It is not merely a violin or viola or cello method, although it does require careful, patient, persistent study and practice on the instrument. Rather, it is a combination of a philosophy, a technique, and a program of education.
The parent's role involves: a) learning the fundamentals of playing the instrument and how to take care of it; b) doing preparatory "homework" - reading, discussing with other parents and observing lessons and classes; c) attending each lesson and class with the student, taking notes, and practicing with the student at home; d) playing the recordings at home daily; e) helping to create a musical environment for the child, as well as a total environment of affection, support, encouragement, and understanding.
The parent does not need to be a trained musician in order to be a good " home teacher." With the teacher's guidance, the parent can help with bowing, fingering, posture, stance - and later on, with note reading.
Finally, the most important single point for the parent, we believe, is the willingness to devote regular time to the project, to participate fully in the opportunities provided by the Suzuki School and to work closely with the teacher and with other parents in building a fine relationship for sake of the children's growth and development.