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Three Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Beginning Suzuki Violin Lessons…
As parents we want to give our children every opportunity. We provide them with the best learning environment we can and make sure they are fed and dressed, (most of the time…) We want them to be well-rounded, active, and successful adults. This often means providing enrichment opportunities beyond school like sports, dance, art, and, my favorite, music!
You may have heard that the Suzuki method is a fantastic way for children to learn a musical instrument. But how do you know when to begin? Is it time to begin Suzuki violin lessons with my child? If you are toying with the idea of putting your child in Suzuki violin lessons, or other music lessons, consider these questions:
1. Is the Suzuki Method a good fit for me and my family?
I am a firm believer in the Suzuki Method. I think it is the ideal method for children to learn a musical instrument. That being said, it does require a SIGNIFICANT parent commitment. If you are not willing to attend all lessons and practice with your child, it won’t really be very effective. Honestly though, any musical instruction is going to require effort on the parents’ part. Kids rarely practice without a little prodding and encouragement.
If you want to learn more about this method, I recommend checking out the Suzuki Association of the Americas and reading Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki. Here’s the link a study guide I created to go along with Nurtured by Love, the book is short so it’s a pretty quick read.
2. Is your child ready for Suzuki Violin Lessons?
You know your child best. Are they emotionally, physically, and mentally prepared for a twenty to thirty minute lesson? Are they mature enough to hold their instrument carefully (with/without supervision)? Can they follow simple directions?
Many teachers accept children as young as two, be prepared to be exceptionally patient with slow progress with this little beginners. In my studio, I love starting with five-year-olds. That’s just my personal preference, though.
Depending on the child, a four-year-old can be very ready for lessons or a seven-year-old may not be. You know your child. As a general rule, between four and eight year’s old is a wonderful time for beginning violin lessons.
3. Why do you want your child to learn the violin?
(Or any musical instrument, for that matter.) Is it to feel the pride of developing a skill and to learn the value of hard work? To give them a lifelong creative outlet? To appreciate beautiful music? Learn problem-solving skills? Improve mathematical and critical thinking? The possibilities are endless!
There will be many stumbling blocks on you and your child’s musical journey, so connecting to your “why” is a vital step. Without a strong reason for your efforts, you will both quit at the first sign of trouble. Don’t let this happen!
Do a little soul-searching and answer the question for yourself, “Why do I want my child to take music lessons?” Then cling to that answer when things get rough. It is also a great idea to share this reason with your teacher, so that they can tailor their approach to your unique goals and aspirations.
Dr. Suzuki, the man behind the Suzuki Method, truly believed that every child can learn. With your encouragement, patience, and love, your child can begin the lifelong journey of love, music, and accomplishment. It is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your children.
If you are interested in learning more about the Suzuki Method, please visit the Suzuki Association of the Americas Website. Here you can find a treasure trove of helpful information, and find Suzuki teachers in your area. If you are in other parts of the world, just google the “Suzuki association” and your area. I also highly recommend this podcast for Suzuki teachers and parents from veteran Suzuki violin teacher, Paula Bird.
What other factors are important to consider before beginning Suzuki violin lessons?
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