Monday, September 18, 2006

The Suzuki Approach

The Suzuki Approach is based on the Mother Tongue Method.
This means that we should approach the teaching of music to young children as if we are teaching them their mother tongue.

The steps we have taken in the process of teaching our children their mother tongue as mentioned in Suzuki Method are as follows :-

  • Expectation of Success
  • Early Beginning
  • Listening
  • Nuturing
  • Social Environment
  • Parent Teacher
  • Repetition
  • Performance
  • Review
  • Natural Reading

A personal observation in my daughter, and now my son, learning mandarin is almost an exact replication of the points mentioned above.

We started off by teaching her to recite the classic 三字经 (san zi jing). We had some early success by an Early Beginning, with her Listening intensively, and with constant repetition in small amount daily, she began to pick it up very soon.

It was in fact our inability to persevere that she did not manage to recite the entire text.

A second attempt was initiated when her child care introduced a similar teaching method.

Started off by a constant recital of phrase, it progresses to recognizing character, then organizing the characters into phrase, and subsequently writing it.

It was during my search for the definition of Suzuki Method and Mother Tongue Method that I see the resemblance between Suzuki Method and the learning of a Mother Tongue.

On another site, it stated that Suzuki Approach consists of the following points

  • Develop the home environment so that the child can be exposed to Suzuki repertoire and music as a whole
  • Begin as Early as Possible (typically at the age of 3)
  • Move in small steps
    Just like when we are teaching them 三字经, we typically only let them learn 3 to 6 character every few days.
  • Parents to attend all lessons.
    I, personally, has some view on this.
    I put the priority of being able to have constant practise above the parents to attend the lesson, thus, I believe in committment to practise is more important than whether the parent do attend the lesson or not.
    As in the case of my daughter learning mandarin, I feel that daily practise (given by the teacher) is more important than whether the parent is around.
    However, in the case where the child only attend teacher led lesson once a week, I do see the importance of the parent being able to pick up the instructions by the teacher and guide the children through the daily practise
  • Create an Enjoyable Learning Environment
  • Group Lesson
    The above 2 points are basically to motivate the child so that he/she enjoy and aspires to do what the other children do
  • Foster an Attitude of Cooperation
  • Begin Music Reading when the child's aural and instrumental skills are well established.
    To me, this is similar that we teach our children to speak, read, and finally, write
  • Follow the Suzuki repertoire Sequence
    Again, to me, just like a children going through a primary, secondary or tertiary syllabus, the syllabus has gone through a series of careful planning, following a well structured syllabus is definitely better than randomly choosing the repertoire for the child to practise on.
    Moreover, with a structured syllabus, you will have a much better focus target to achieve. Just like should you use a standard classic text to start off your child in learning or simply pick up a book and start teaching her the words in the book.

Finally, just a reminder that this is by no means the 'correct' implementation of Suzuki Approach, it is just a personal thought when I learn about the Suzuki Approach.

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