What is the Suzuki Method?
The Suzuki method is a way of teaching young children (as young as 3) to become musicians based on the same principles used when learning language - listening, imitating and repeating. Dr. Shinichi Suzuki developed a teaching method that focuses on ear-training, producing a beautiful tone and good instrumental technique. Suzuki teachers develop motor coordination and train the ear before the eye: students are first taught basic listening and playing skills before note reading is introduced in the same way children learn to speak and comprehend before they learn to read. Parental involvement, loving encouragement, and constant repetition in the lesson is essential to the success of the Suzuki learning method. We have registered and trained Suzuki teachers for piano, guitar, violin, and viola. Important Note: Too frequently teachers advertise that they are Suzuki teachers which may or may not be accurate. Ask them to show their certificates(s) for each book completed through the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Teachers unable to exhibit their training are not familiar with our unique instructional skills. All Suzuki trained teachers learn how to teach through an extensive learning process.
So how is Suzuki method different from the traditional method of instruction?
One notable difference is that Suzuki students will first learn to play music by rote while most traditional method students learn to read written music from the beginning. The Suzuki method requires parents to be involved in lessons, becoming a co-learner and daily home teacher. Students have weekly private lessons and monthly group lessons. Students trained at our Institute in either Suzuki or traditional methods will become a sound musician with proper technique, aural (listening) skills and music notation reading skills. Our staff is happy to help you determine which method is best for your child.
Why should my child study music at an early age?
Your child will develop memory & brain cells that otherwise would not develop. Prolonged exposure to music helps children develop focused listening skills, build confidence, communication skills, & foster creativity.
Why should my child study at the Suzuki Institute instead of with a private teacher at home?
Studying music in a school environment gives students access to a large, highly qualified faculty, exposure to students of all levels in a variety of instruments and a chance to play for their families and friends in both formal & informal settings. We can also attempt to schedule two or more family members at the same time to make lessons more convenient. Also by having lessons at the school there are no distractions such as ringing phones & sibling interruptions.
Where do I begin?
Each student is unique, and our flexible programs are designed to meet individual needs and schedules. For help in planning the best for you or your child, please call the office at 941-330-9930. We offer outstanding facilities and wide variety of learning opportunities from age 2 to adulthood.
What are the benefits of Early Childhood Music?
The Institute's Early Childhood Music (MusikGarten) offers a very small class size with plenty of individual attention. Children receive ideal preparation for formal private music instruction in later years. Children enjoy studying with friends and can benefit from each other’s progress. Some of the skills learned are sound discrimination and reproduction, concentration and memory, attentive listening, working in an ensemble, ability to create and improvise with movements and sounds, refining fine motor skills, sensory motor skills and gross motor skills, creativity and self expression.
What is our teaching schedule?
The Suzuki Institute School of Music operates on a year-round schedule, so a student can enroll any time he/she wishes. Lessons are offered Monday through Friday morning, afternoon and evening hours.
What teaching methods do you use?
Guided by methods of Dr. Suzuki we offer, flexible curriculum, each instructor adapts to the individual needs of the students. Our international faculty has demonstrated outstanding achievements in both teaching and performance. We follow the requirements approved by the Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program and traditional lessons.
What if my child is interested in lessons but is not gifted or aspiring to become a concert artist?
Private instruction at the Institute is based on individual goals and capabilities. While daily practice at home is essential, expectations will not be unreasonable. Keep in mind that music instruction has been shown to improve math and language skills, so regardless of a student’s aspirations, study with us will positively impact your child’s development.
What is expected of a student?
The student is expected to regularly attend lessons. A good attitude is essential. The amount of proper practice will determine the student's progress; the teacher will present to each student appropriate practice goals. The student will develop discipline, coordination, concentration, stage presence, expressive abilities, creativity and self-control and have FUN learning. Enjoyment is an essential part of our program. We encourage limiting other activity participation. It is difficult for the child to participate in a large number of weekly activities, do homework at the same time. He can become very tired and does not have the time or energy to want to practice. Music instruction must become a priority in the home.
How much should one practice?
Students should be well prepared for their lessons and should incorporate practice in their daily schedule. All students should practice a minimum of time five days each week. Parents attend lessons and know what has been assigned each week and encourage practice time.
How will my child and/or I be matched with an instructor?
Following the initial conversation with our director we will match you and your child to an instructor. Age, skill level, expectations and schedule availability are also taken into account in determining the proper match of student and teacher. Please note that although every effort is made to accommodate new students, spaces are sometimes limited and instructors may not have immediate openings. In that case we would be happy to put your name on our waiting list if you wish.
Is it possible to take lessons in the summer?
Yes. Our instructors offer weekly summer lessons. Summer study can be a wonderful way to prepare for the school year and is recommended for students at every level. Also one does not have to be a student at our school during the school year to enroll in the summer program.
Do parents need to stay while a class is in progress?
Suzuki parents, or other care provider are to be in classes. Siblings may attend classes if they remain quiet.
Do I need a piano at home to take piano lessons?
It is ideal if you do have a piano at home, but you can start lessons by using an electric keyboard to practice. We recommend a keyboard that has at least 60 regular sized keys and a touch sensitive response. You can also rent an acoustic piano with the option to buy. For all string instruments are required to obtain a properly sized instrument. These may be rented at the Institute or from local dealers. If you decide to purchase a string instrument, please check with us first.
How long does it take to learn an instrument?
There is no set answer of how long it takes to learn an instrument. With regular practice a basic level of playing can be accomplished in a few months. Most of our students take lessons on a long term basis because they want to be constantly improving and they find the lessons enjoyable.
I don’t have any musical background or ability; can I still help my child practice?
Yes. Even if you don’t have a musical background you can ask the teacher for advice on how to help your child practice. By simply monitoring that they are doing exercises a certain number of times per day the student will progress.
How do I register for programs at the Suzuki Institute and how do I apply for lessons?
You will find a registration form on our website. Complete this form thoroughly and return to us with signature(s) and the registration fee. We will contact you within 5-7 business days for additional questions and student placement. Payments can be made by cash, auto checks, VISA, Discover, American Express or MasterCard. To help us better accommodate you, please be thorough when filing out the Days/Times Section of the registration form. If not known at the time of registering, you may indicate possible schedules.
Do you have recitals?
Yes. Your teacher will inform you in advance of times and dates. Our calendar is available on the site. Recitals and performances serve as great motivation and an opportunity to demonstrate progress. Parents, relatives and friends are welcome.
How do you choose your teachers?
We have very high standards for our teachers. We accomplish this through a lengthy and extensive interview process consisting of a face-to-face meeting, background and reference checks. All of our teachers have a degree in Music (B.M., B.M.Ed., PhD. and vast teaching and performance background. We hire caring, nurturing and imaginative educators who are passionate about teaching. Our teachers are both internationational (Poland) (Jamica) and U.S. trained from Virginia, Colorado, Washington, DC and Florida (Tallahassee and Venice).
My child has lost interest and/or is not practicing. Should we take a break?
This is a common question. Occasionally a child, for various reasons, is not willing to practice and it becomes a battle of wills. We have an article “Practice Tips for Parents” (How to get most out of the lesson). Also we encourage students and parents to seek guidance from the school since often we are able to work through any problems the student might experience.
At what age can my child study music?
The recommended age to begin lessons is between 5-7 for traditional, and 3 -6 for the Suzuki method. Attention span, interest, developmental readiness, reading skills and time available for daily practice are other factors to consider before enrolling your child in our program. The early childhood programs are an excellent introduction to a music learning experience for children as young as one (MusikGarten).
How long and how frequent are lessons?
Depending on age, experience, developmental readiness, and teacher’s recommendation students are advised for a lesson period. The general guideline is: Beginner -30 minute lesson once a week, intermediate, 45 minutes once a week and advanced students 60 minutes once or twice a week. It is also recommended that students practice and prepare for their lesson in order to get the most of their lessons. Parents are crucial supervising home practice.
What if my child does not like his/her teacher? Am I obligated to stay with the teacher I have chosen?
In a word-No. Teachers possess different personalities which may or may not suite your child. More times than not, the student and teacher develop a rapport that will continue for years. We understand that at times a change is necessary. When you feel you need a different teacher, or want to study a different instrument, it will require a conference with the office. The director monitors this very closely and from time to time may suggest a change that will work with you. Having several teachers for each instrument, we can usually accommodate in terms of personality, and style of teaching. Many of our parents have found out that the quality and comprehensiveness of the program is a great value. The Institute’s student enrollment has grown steadily since it opened , indicating that our lessons are highly successful.
I am an adult and wish to take lessons for the first time. Is your school just for children?
NO! We have a valuable program for adults. At this time our "youngest" student is 78. Our adult program is designed to help adults begin or continue an instrument. The adult program was established to help each enjoy music in a private setting. Emphasis is placed on music for the joy of learning. We do have an adult chamber group and others are invited to join. Studies show that music slows aging and has many health benefits. In addition to individualized private instruction in most instruments we offer a variety of classes including theory and composition. To accommodate the busy schedules of working adults we offer programs at convenient daytime hours (i.e.during lunch hour), as well as evenings.
How do I know what instrument my child should learn?
Selecting an instrument to study is an exciting decision and an important one. Discuss various instruments with your child before enrolling him/her in private lessons. Our director has many years experience assisting in this process. A free lesson is available to help this decision.
Will my child only learn classical music? What about jazz, rock or pop music?
Our lessons are primarily devoted to the classics. New students will be placed with an instructor based on his/her level. We encourage parents, students and instructors to frequently discuss what pieces the student is learning and what styles of music can be introduced. We have introduced a program to change classics into a more modern motif which children enjoy.
How much should children practice?
Music students should practice only on the days they eat! Making a practice routine from the very beginning is important to the success of the student. Our instructors recommend practicing between 10-15 minutes. Older children should practice at least 30 minutes. However, the length of practice time is not the only important factor - the quality of the practice is also important. Your child's instructor will provide how-to' s and motivational techniques if your child is struggling.
What if my child starts lessons, but changes their mind Parental support and continual encouragement will bring the child through this period. If you're having problems helping with your child's progress at home, discuss it with the instructor. Our instructors have suggestions or may be able to modify lessons to elevate your child's interest. A mature approach to this issue is more important than having a child make this decision.
Does my child have to be in a recital?
The focus needed to prepare for a performance is an invaluable experience and recitals give a sense of accomplishment and boosts your child's self-acceptance and ability to tackle challenges. If your child is nervous, this is a natural response at first. Practice giving recitals for family and friends at home. This will be a helpful tool to lessen any anxiety.