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Why it pairs beautifully with charlotte Mason
Homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers choose different lessons to put their children in. From gymnastics to music lessons there are many types of classes to choose from. Sometimes it can even be overwhelming the number of choices. Are you wondering if the Suzuki music method is right for your child and family unit? Let’s find out!
What is the Suzuki Method
Suzuki music lessons are recommended for children to start between ages 3-6. There is a wide range of instruments covered by the Suzuki method now. It originated with the violin, however, it now encompasses many different instruments.
Dr. Suzuki was a beloved violin maker, player, and teacher from Japan. He found that when you teach music to children, treat music as a language. As children learn to speak words, before they learn to read, so is the Suzuki method of music with notes.
Practice is heavily involved with the parent-teacher relationship. It will only work if the parent is willing to practice as well. For example, the daily discipline of listening to music, and seeing the child practices daily.
If you are a parent that wants to have the lesson, and learning be completely child-led, Suzuki would not be a good fit. However, if you are a parent involved in teaching your child already, or looking to be more active in teaching them; the Suzuki method would be a great option.
What is a typical Suzuki Day?
- 1 hour listening to the song per day
- 15-30 minutes of instrument practice per day
- 5 minutes of ear training per day
Every day the student must listen to the song they are currently practicing at least 1 hour a day. Dr. Suzuki actually recommended 4 hours a day. However, our teacher said that one can benefit from 1 hour listening to a day. As the child masters the song, they move to another song. This may seem daunting, however, the music is beautiful and the results bear much fruit.
Since Suzuki is geared toward early childhood development, young children need continual guidance over lessons. It is the parents’ job to act as ‘teacher’ the other 6 days of the week.
At the Suzuki lesson; the parent is participating as well as the child. The parent is not allowed to be scrolling on their phone, or drop the child off. Whatever is covered in the weekly lesson the parent throughout the week keeps the diligence for the child. The parent instructs them the way they should go.
This would include proper technique, practicing the song, and learning the instrument. Reading music is not introduced in Suzuki until much older. The child plays solely off of memorization and ear training. This gives a fluidity, and familiarity with the relationship to music and instrument. Thus creating a passionate player before the child learns to ‘read music’.
If you have ever learned an instrument, by the traditional way of learning; which is learning to read music, and understand how to play the notes. It can be a difficult task and requires that one is extremely excited, and disciplined to practice and learn.
Varying Suzuki teachers may introduce learning to read. This happens only once the foundation of playing is set and oftentimes doesn’t begin until age 7-9. It all depends on the teacher and the age in which the child starts the Suzuki method. If having your child learn to read music is important to you, ask this question to your local Suzuki teacher.
It is common that children who learn to play through a traditional music method, grow up to leave the instrument. They leave playing music daily behind, as they enter into adulthood.
Many Suzuki students, however, grow up to become members in the orchestra and continue their daily habit of practice. Lessons are geared toward habits. This helps to cultivate a love of music. Paired with daily listening, children grow to love listening to music, instead of dreading practice time. This brings us to the next point.
how does Suzuki compliment charlotte mason?
If you’re reading chances are, you are familiar with the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education. If you are not, Charlotte Mason was a child educator who believed that a child is a person. She believed that education must take the form of educating the whole person, not just the mind. In her words, “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”
Charlotte Mason truly believed in cultivating the discipline of good habits. Children should ‘habit train.’ She believed that one should expose the child to ‘living books’. Living books are rich in ideas, values, and beauty. She didn’t believe that children should be cooped up in a schoolroom all day learning dry facts.
In Japan, their method of schooling also incorporates habit training and cultivating a love for beauty. They also cultivate daily self-discipline.
Dr. Suzuki himself was ever learning, and perfecting his craft. His words about man’s direction in life are as follows, [Life] “It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” He also believed that, “ability develops through practice”, and that, “an idle person will not develop ability.”
“Ability develops through practice”
Charlotte Mason affirmed daily, ” I can, I will, I ought”. She also was known for teaching art appreciation. She exposed to children the great composers and appreciated beautiful music. Oftentimes, in charlotte mason homeschool method, afternoons are spent in handicrafts and arts.
“I can, I Will, I OUGHT”
If you are teaching Charlotte Mason based curriculum or an eclectic style with an adoration for her beliefs and methodology; Suzuki pairs wonderfully. Each educator believed in habit training and cultivating self-discipline. They also encouraged the child through development to see beauty all around.
Suzuki can easily fit into a Charlotte Mason home. One of the other benefits of Suzuki is that the method also incorporates group training. Dr. Suzuki held the belief that it is important for children to be encouraged by their peers of similar age. He saw that it helped students to develop practice further when around other children who played as well.
Our Suzuki group meets once a month. Recitals are each semester for the students to build confidence levels in performing, and meet with fellow young musicians.
honest review of the Suzuki method
As a homeschooler, I have personally loved adding the Suzuki method into our home. The benefits have been wonderful. My only complaint is that I wish I would have started my boys younger. They were 5 and 7 when we started. 4 is the perfect age to begin. The 7-year-olds, that have been in Suzuki since 4, it is amazing to see the talent they have.
My favorite part is the group lesson with other families. Suzuki families place a high value on diligence, integrity, and virtue. They believe in cultivating the character as much as learning facts.
In our group, over half of the families involved homeschool. And, more than half are Christian. Charlotte Mason was a Christian, however, Suzuki was Catholic.
My only concern has been as a Christian, I can see undertones of occultism from his book, Nurtured by Love. If you are a Christian, take only the biblical principles of diligence, virtue, and beauty. Leave the rest behind, and though many Suzuki teachers recommend reading the book, I would advise the Christian against it.
The ideology of learning music as a language developmentally makes sense for the child to learn to play an instrument. It also fits well with a Christian life of habit training and practice. It is beneficial for my boys to see other children, who are being raised with habit training, and an appreciation for fine music.
As with any educational philosophy, it is important to recognize they have their place, but ultimately God is preeminent. When you trust in His will and way, He will lead and direct you to the methods, that make the most sense for your family.
We are all different, and what may work for one child, or family may not work for another. If you are into habit training, and that is of high importance to you in educating your child, Suzuki would be a great addition to your home.
If your motives for the Suzuki method are only on the end result of playing an instrument, Suzuki will benefit as well. The brain development of the child is what the method is based on. It allows the child to easily learn to play music.