The mother does not say to the child, ‘You have said mama enough times. Next word.’ No. The child must repeat and repeat if he is to learn. Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus 10,000 times is skill.
— Dr. Shinichi Suzuki
Suzuki violin students in concert. 2018 Photo credit: KaiPing Albright

Suzuki violin students in concert. 2018 Photo credit: KaiPing Albright

What is the Suzuki method?

Dr. Shinichi Suzuki studied how small children learn to speak their own mother tongue. I think of my own daughter as she learns new skills daily. Once she discovers a new skill like rolling over or saying "mama", we praise and smile and grab the smart phone to document the amazing accomplishment. This encourages her to repeat the skill over and over again. Hundreds and thousands of repetitions and of course, we are right there, cheering her on through our smiles and praise.  Suzuki wondered if this is how small children master the complexity of an entire language by age 4 or 5, what about the language of music? So, he developed the Mother Tongue Approach. 

What is the Mother Tongue approach?

The mother tongue approach depends on the natural learning experience of children. These are the main observations of natural learning adapted to music. 1) An environment with encouragement, interest, praise, and models of sight and sound to observe;   2) The awakening and growth of the desire to play a musical instrument;  3) Absence of stress and poor self-image;  4) A very slow rate of progress in the beginning (think of how long it takes a child to say their first word);  5) Great number of repetitions;  6) Individual rate of progress (don't compare your child);  7) Joy of learning;  8) Realization of potential of all  [Taken from To Learn with Love: A Companion for Suzuki Parents by William and Constance Starr] 

Suzuki built his method on the following key building blocks: 1) a positive learning environment established at home; 2) Listening to the recording for at least 1 hour a day at the beginning as well as listening to live performance whenever possible; 3) Repetition, repetition repetition; 4) Review songs (that have key skills in them to create more repetition!); 5) Group lessons to emphasize community and musicality as an ensemble

The Suzuki Triangle

The teacher and parent are the base of the triangle working together for the success of the child. The parent's role in the Suzuki method is most important. The parent attends all lessons and takes notes. It is the parent's responsibility to understand the practice goals for the week. (If you don't understand, please ask!) The parent then practices at home with their child as the home teacher. Ask your child questions about their practice and encourage them to master skill through repetition. It is also the parent's responsibility to make lessons and group lessons a priority and to show excitement about the lessons. 

Suzuki Strings in Seward

I am so grateful to be able to share the Suzuki method right here in Seward Nebraska. In order to help foster a positive learning environment for our studio families, all Suzuki parents must attend a free introductory class on the Suzuki method and read Nurtured by Love by Dr. Suzuki and Beyond the Music Lesson: Habits of Successful Suzuki Families by Christine E. Goodner. Families attend either a private weekly lesson or as well as a monthly group class. Other studio opportunities include semester recitals, Suzuki book graduation recitals, and many community events. Please contact me today to sign-up for our parent workshop and begin a most incredible journey with your child. 

Love always,

Julia Marble


Julia and her family  photo credit: Bonnie Snyder

Julia and her family

photo credit: Bonnie Snyder