The Suzuki Program, or “mother tongue” method of instruction, is a well-established pedagogical method. It was developed in postwar Japan by Shinichi Suzuki, a Western-trained professional violinist, who wished to give musical instruction to the children of his war-torn country. The premise of the Suzuki method is that learning is the product of environment and any skill can be learned when broken into small, manageable steps. Suzuki’s approach was to teach music in the same way children learn to speak their mother tongue.
Children study and perform common repertoire comprising folk songs, Baroque dances, and standard works. Students listen daily to recordings of these works while learning the skills necessary to perform on their instruments. Children typically start at age 4–6 years (although older children are welcome to start with the Suzuki method). Children younger than 5 years of age must attend at least one semester of Early Childhood Music Education before enrolling in Suzuki, to ensure musical readiness.
Because the philosophy of the Suzuki method is the parent-student-teacher triangle of learning, a parent/guardian will receive education and training to help his/her child grow in this musical experience. In addition to weekly private lessons, students attend a weekly group class, as well as perform in solo recitals and participate in a yearly workshop. Parents/guardians attend each activity, take detailed notes, and are responsible for supervising at-home preparation and practice. All parents are asked to observe four lessons given by a Suzuki teacher either before or during their child’s first semester of lessons. In these observations, parents/guardians will learn about the Suzuki philosophy, the role they play in their child’s music education, effective practicing strategies, and the life-long relationship built between the teacher-parent-child.
Alumni of the CMS Suzuki Program have attended music programs such as Eastman School of Music, University of Michigan, Yale and Michigan State University. In addition, CMS Suzuki alumni have gone on to attend other schools such as Stanford and Tufts, and have studied engineering, art, social work, music, architecture, and many other subjects.
The MSU Community Music School offers Suzuki method instruction for violin, viola, cello, piano, and flute.
In addition to participating in group lessons on Thursdays, 5–7 p.m., Suzuki students have a private lesson at an arranged time. Lesson times vary from 30–60 minutes.
Suzuki group only (must take private lessons through another Suzuki teacher)-$120
Fall semester runs September 3-January 18. Call the office to enroll at (517) 355-7661. Group classes start on September 12.
Videos of the Suzuki Program:
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