The Suzuki Program provides a truly supportive, immersive environment for children ages 3 ½ and older to learn cello, violin, viola, or guitar through a combination of private and group instruction.
When you join the Suzuki Program, you’re committing to a method of learning that becomes part of your daily lives. With you, the teacher, and your child working together equally every week with support from other Suzuki families, your son or daughter will soak up every lesson and learn to make music an important part of his or her life.
The Story of Suzuki
The Japanese teacher Shinichi Suzuki created the Suzuki method based on a two-part philosophy. He wanted kids to develop “noble hearts,” to feel like they were important, to develop the character traits of discipline, perseverance, and dedication, and to know that they could bring beauty into the world.
He also believed that your talent depended on your environment and how you were raised, and that every child can learn in a nurturing environment. And true, some of the greatest musicians became successful because they were raised with music all around them constantly. They knew what it was, they knew how it was supposed to sound, and so it became easier for them to understand and reproduce it themselves.
The Suzuki Program at Powers
Parents hope for their children to become good people. We teach students the values of patience, discipline, problem-solving, commitment, and teamwork through their musical learning and instrument playing, so that they, too, will develop “noble hearts.”
You and your Suzuki teacher will work together to create an environment of music and learning here at Powers and at home, to surround yourselves with and gradually become “fluent” in the language of music. The Suzuki Program here at Powers gives you the tools to follow Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy and principles:
- Listening – Hearing and becoming familiar with the Suzuki repertoire ahead of time makes it so much easier and enjoyable for them to try and reproduce it themselves in lessons and classes. Listening to music every day helps you both develop an understanding and appreciation for all kinds of music in the world around you.
- Daily Repetition – Just as babies learn sounds, words, and phrases by trying and repeating them constantly, it’s important for kids to keep practicing and reinforcing everything they’re learning so that it becomes part of their musical vocabulary. As they grow, they’ll use these skills and repertoire in more sophisticated ways.
- Parental Guidance – As the parent, you’ll attend lessons and learn alongside your child in order to understand and guide his practicing at home. We’ll help you build the skills and concepts you’ll use each day, making this style of learning fun for your whole family. In the process, you’ll also strengthen the bond and relationship you have with your son or daughter.
- Positive Encouragement – Every child learns at her own pace, and learning an instrument is no different. The Suzuki culture is one of praise and encouragement, which helps your student master one small step at a time and motivates her to keep practicing, playing, and growing.
One of the best reasons to join the Suzuki community is the support system you’ll have with other families and Suzuki teachers. The chance to chat with another parent going through the same method and sharing tips on helping your kids practice and learn is a true benefit of the program. Participating in classes, recitals, and events with other Suzuki students will keep your child motivated, help him feel supported, and teach him generosity and cooperation.
Suzuki Musical Kids
A pre-instrument class for ages 3 ½ – 4 ½
Full Suzuki Program for ages 4+
- Weekly private Suzuki lesson with parent participation (16 lessons per semester + 1 Workshop Week)
- Weekly group class (15 classes per semester)
- Review of Suzuki music CD/tapes at home
- Ongoing Parent Education classes offered during students’ group class times
Private lessons are where your child will learn specific techniques for her instrument. We start with small achievable steps to build confidence and establish good technique right from the beginning.
Suzuki Group Classes
Participation in weekly group classes is critical to a student’s success in the Suzuki Program. During class, students are polishing the repertoire and techniques they’ve already learned in lessons, developing good listening, note-reading, theory, and performance skills, and learning how to play in an ensemble. We teach them technical skills through the music they’re already practicing. Group classes help them stay motivated and gain confidence in their music and their skills by practicing with the teacher and a supportive group of friends.
Students in Book 5 and above who have numerous musical commitments (orchestra, chamber music, etc.) may opt to join the group class for half of the semester to work on Suzuki and non-Suzuki repertoire in preparation for the end-of-semester Suzuki Group Recitals.
Intermediate / Advanced Parent Education Classes
In addition to the parent education classes for beginners, the Suzuki department will also hold education classes for parents of intermediate and advanced Suzuki students on an ongoing, quarterly basis for those who wish to continue learning more about the program and how they can help their students progress.
Why choose Suzuki over traditional private lessons?
Typically, private lessons for any instrument don’t begin until age 6 or 7. For children younger than this, Suzuki lessons are a great way to start them on their journey, establish strong ear-training, musicianship, and music-reading skills.
The two main differences between the Suzuki program and traditional lessons are involvement of parents and the addition of a group class component. Parents attend all lessons and classes in the beginning years of Suzuki, and have a large role in helping their children learn at Powers and at home. This, combined with the full curriculum of a weekly lesson and a weekly group class, provides a strong system to reenforce what the students are learning and to hone their skills. As your child progresses to more advanced levels, the parent role transitions to a more supportive role.
Should my child start in Suzuki Musical Kids or the full program?
Suzuki Musical Kids is a pre-instrument class for students who are 3 1/2 to 4 years-old. This group only class allows students to explore and develop the skills necessary to learn an instrument including fine motor skills, rhythmic pulse, pitch recognition and instrument-handling skills.
The full Suzuki Program begins at age 4 and includes one private lesson, where a student learns specific instrument skills and pieces, and one group class, where a student uses what they have learned to share music with others and build ensemble skills. Suzuki Musical Kids is not a prerequisite for the full program, but may be beneficial if your child is just starting out and not ready for the full program.
When do Suzuki students begin to read music?
Dr. Suzuki created his “mother-tongue” method based on the idea that babies learn how to speak and understand words before they learn them on the page. Similarly, we teach reading as soon as possible, but not until students have learned to “speak” the language of the music they’re playing. In other words, they learn the basic foundational skills of holding and playing their instruments, posture, and ear-training before they begin to apply them to music-reading.
Our family is ready to start! How do we enroll?
First, give our Registrar a call at 617-484-5750 to set up a time to talk with the Suzuki Department Chair. You are encouraged to observe a lesson and/or group class, if available. Once you’ve registered, the first two lessons are parent and teacher only (no student). Parents of new Pretwinkle violin students also attend Parent Education Classes in place of the first three group classes.