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#1240206 - 07/30/09 07:30 AM Suzuki as supplementary material - thoughts?
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
I was started off on piano with Suzuki Method and love the materials, but I think the "mothertongue" approach can only work with very dedicated parents behind it so I don't use it myself as a beginner method.

Recently however I had a boy use it once he was just past beginner standard (maybe end of PA book 1 sort of standard) and he improved in leaps and bounds, so much so that once he finished book one and I had him on different materials, his mum bought book 2 without my asking her to, and requested I keep using suzuki with him because her and her husband had noticed he learnt a lot from it.

It's got me thinking that I should use it with other kids as supplementary material, but I'm not sure at what point to introduce it. Anyone else using it this way? It's certainly not the intended way for it to be used, but I think it's valuable stuff.
Piano teacher since August 2008.

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#1240209 - 07/30/09 07:57 AM Re: Suzuki as supplementary material - thoughts? [Re: ToriAnais]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
.. When you say using Suzuki as supplementary material, are your students reading the music, or learning it the Suzuki way?
Did the student learn by doing the listening?

I agree with you.. the Suzuki method does require 100% parent involvement. I have many students where I teach outside the home, but I can't seem to effectively market the method for my home studio.

I also have some Suzuki students who would be better served by switching to a traditional method, because of the lack of parental support in the home.

Suzuki repertoire is solid, imo. I can't disagree with its use as supplemental material.. I just wonder if you're teaching it using the Suzuki method.


#1240233 - 07/30/09 08:47 AM Re: Suzuki as supplementary material - thoughts? [Re: BSP]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
No, not using the suzuki method. I used it once he had a grasp on steps and skips etc so he could sightread it himself with a bit of help from me.

I guess that's another idea though. Try and teach suzuki method once a student is past absolute beginner stage, and then if the parents don't put much effort in it's not such a giant flop.

But I think it's great even without the heavily aural component. It's quite easy to sightread once the basic skills are there.
Piano teacher since August 2008.

#1240246 - 07/30/09 09:15 AM Re: Suzuki as supplementary material - thoughts? [Re: ToriAnais]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
I wasn't suggesting you switch your student from a "traditional" method over to Suzuki. I don't think that would be wise, if the student is already reading.

That's great that after a level 1 book, your student was able to read up to book 2 Suzuki, though. IMO, Suzuki book 1 material is beyond what a traditional student does in their level 1 method book. Good on ya!


#1240487 - 07/30/09 05:54 PM Re: Suzuki as supplementary material - thoughts? [Re: BSP]
ToriAnais Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 244
Loc: Australia
Oh no, I know you weren't suggesting that. And I agree, it's above a beginner level primer. I was just having real difficulties with this kid and suzuki was the key for him. He ignored his beginner book (it was a boring one I never would have picked - his mum has a habit of buying books without consulting me first) and only started learning anything when he got enthusiastic about a primer level book of christmas carols. He is a particularly bright little boy and I know it wouldn't work for just any kid. I guess what I'm hoping to get some answers to is the question:

With typical primers (bastien, PA, etc) around what level do you think would equate with book one suzuki, or be a good level to start using it as supplementary material??

I'm glad someone else thinks suzuki is valuable as well. It seems to have lost popularity in recent years, or at least in western countries.
Piano teacher since August 2008.

#1241424 - 08/01/09 09:10 AM Re: Suzuki as supplementary material - thoughts? [Re: ToriAnais]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY

Your question is interesting and one I've thought of, so I'm glad you posted it. It's a tough one for me, because I use PA,
and it's really hard to pair up Suzuki book 1 with anything in PA book 1.

Maybe a better way to think of it is when do the method books start with the skills that are covered in Suzuki?

In Suzuki book 1, you have arpeggiated bass lines (like Cuckoo, French Children's song), and Alberti bass (Lightly Row). You're also reading in "treble C" position, as opposed to "middle C" position, where some of the method books start. Also.. "Christmas Day Secrets".. nice melody, relatively simple bass, but it has 16th notes..which my PA students haven't seen yet by books 2A/B. "Little Playmates" would be nice, imo for that level in Faber.. the l.h. is nice, and in PA, maybe you could introduce that after they've gotten comfortable with the pentascales?

I have students in 2A/2B Pa, and I haven't seen Alberti bass introduced yet. I do think PA starts with Alberti in book 3, but I'm not sure.

I think it's important to start supplementing with repertoire early, but I'm still really puzzled about what to supplement. The more I continue this post, the more confused I am about how to supplement method books with Suzuki repertoire. It just doesn't seem like an easy fit...

Your thoughts?

#1244002 - 08/05/09 12:14 PM Re: Suzuki as supplementary material - thoughts? [Re: BSP]
Klavierspielen Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/28/09
Posts: 18
I think the difficulty with incorporating Suzuki into traditional comes because Suzuki (Volume 1, at least) is designed to be done by ear with lots of parental help during practice time. I agree that PA level 2B and 3 are about the level of Suzuki Volume 1 hands together. Don't forget that Suzuki teachers usually start beginners RH only until good technique is developed.

I'm a suzuki piano teacher, but I also have a number of straight traditional students. The Suzuki kids (even those who have minimal parental involvement) are much more creative with their music in general because they aren't afraid of wrong notes. For example, one of my little ones had been working on Alberti bass with Lightly Row for about 2 weeks. She came back one day and could play "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" hands together with perfectly worked-out basic chord progression of Alberti bass... I had never showed her a bit of that song.

(Sorry, I know that was off topic.) Regardless, the Suzuki repertoire is excellent Baroque/Classical material. As far as using it to supplement, you can also use some of the pieces to teach I-V relationships.

I can talk about this forever!

#1244075 - 08/05/09 02:12 PM Re: Suzuki as supplementary material - thoughts? [Re: Klavierspielen]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
I'm glad to see another Suzuki teacher here!

How do you incorporate note reading with your students, Klavierspielen? I just got a transfer student who had learned Kabalevsky, "Clowns" by rote. She's 7 years old, and has been taking Suzuki since age 3, and now I have the pleasure of trying to teach her to read. Wish me luck.. she's a very opinionated young girl! smile



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