I am not sure if this is the right area.:o
I was hoping to get an opinion & or feedback from any of you that have participated in a SUZUKI music camp/workshop ? Did you go for yourself or was it for your child? How old was your child?
If so, in what part of the country did the camp take place, what instrument, violin or piano ?
Were you happy with it? Would you recommend it to others?
Was it worth the money spent?
I would appreciate any feedback & or advice on this.
In addition, if any of you have taken or have your children learning an instrument with a SUZUKI method type of teacher, what has your experience been with that as well?
At what age did they start, how old are they now, how have they progressed so far?
I’m a pianist, and I am the chair of an annual music competition for children and teenagers in our city.
I don’t have personal experience with Suzuki, but I know a lot of families who do have experience with it.
It works. It works well and it’s enjoyable.
Many of the competitors in the high school division of our competition learned to play (mainly strings and piano) by the Suzuki method, and they are fabulous musicians.
One young man that I know started Suzuki violin when he was 3. By the time he was 13, he was playing (for money) at local restaurants.
It seems that many Suzuki method instrumentalists start when they are very young, around 3 or 4. It doesn’t seem to hurt them in any way. And there are some who start later, too, and they do well.
My daughter learned to play piano and violin the old-fashioned way, from a elderly teacher who started at the beginning and taught her to read music. She kept it up for several years and then decided to quit the instruments and take voice lessons. Now that she is grown, she wishes that she had continued piano.
I’ve never met anyone who says, “I’m glad I quit piano!” Most people regret quitting. I tried to quit when I was in 4th grade, but my father forced me to continue and I’m grateful to him! By today’s standards he would be an abusive father for pushing his little girl to do something distasteful to her! Good for him!
Make sure to consider getting your children into organ lessons. There are so many threads on this forum decrying the lack of organ in Catholic Masses, but the simple reason that the organ is not used in many Masses is that there aren’t enough organists. Your child(ren) will be learning an instrument that will pay off both financially and spiritually!
I do not have a strong recommendation either way for Suzuki or old-fashioned or any other method of learning an instrument. I think that parents have to try the different methods and stick with what works and not be afraid to require their child to stick with it until they are at least in high school. At that point, life becomes busy enough for a teenager that being forced to practice an instrument that they hate is probably not going to work out well for anyone in the family. It’s best at that age to allow the teen to go with their preferences in extra-curriculars. The time for a child to “try out” different activities is usually over by 9th grade–that’s the “time window” for a parent to keep in mind.
I have a daughter who began taking violin lessons with a Suzuki method teacher at age 4. These were private lessons, once a week, for 30 min then at a later age it was an hour per week. She skipped a couple years, age 7-9, then went back. Played all through middle school with the high school orchestra, and I’ll tell you the rest at the end of the post.
The Suzuki method tries to train the ear as well as the fingers and the eyes. Some traditional teachers scoff at Suzuki because of this, thinking that they don’t teach how to read music in the traditional way. They certainly do, as the student has to see the notes to be able to play it. I believe the method is as sound as any out there, provided - hear this, please - provided it is done with some degree of temperament.
What I mean by that is, some Suzuki teachers are almost fanatical about it to the point where they want it to become the ONLY focus in your child’s life. Some kids can handle that, but many can’t and I wasn’t about to force my daughter into an experiment. Music is a fine thing for kids, it builds confidence, gives them esteem, teaches discipline, and statistics show it makes them better students and thinkers. But that doesn’t mean kids, especially young ones, need to approach learning their instrument with the fervor of a Marine at boot camp. They have to have a life too.
IF you encounter Suzuki teachers like that, and there are a bunch, simply keep looking for one who isn’t like that, because there are many more of those. That excessive fervor, btw, is the very reason my daughter didn’t play for two years. It ceased to be fun and was more of a chore than a pleasure. That is the fastest way to make someone quit playing music, so don’t put them in that position. Find a teacher who deals well with kids and show up with your kids on time for the lesson.
They will get discouraged from time to time, but be patient with them and proud of every screechy note they produce. It’s coming from their heart, and if you provide a place for it, it will get better and better with time.
The rest of my daughter’s story is she played all through high school and formed her own quartet, a group she called “Apassionata.” In her senior year, she auditioned and was accepted to the Pensacola Symphony. While in college, she played for the symphony in Pensacola, Mobile, AL, the Mobile Opera symphony, and once ot twice with the Birmingham, AL symphony. She graduated college a few years ago with a BFA in Music Performance - Violin. Still plays in the symphony and plays any number of music gigs from operas to musicals to you name it.
This is a sample of what a Suzuki-trained violinist can do. This is one of the pieces she played at her Senior Performance Recital at the University, Bhram’s Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78 for violin and piano. She’s accompanied by another student, a Sophomore piano performance major. I hope you don’t think I am too proud to say that even though I’d heard her play many pieces well, I sat there watching this one with my jaw on the floor. It’s the only piece she never let me hear her practice.
Takes a minute to start… it’s live, so there is a few seconds of tuning, then the song.
I must say that music teachers using ANY method of teaching can be fanatics. It’s not just limited to Suzuki, although I think that this method probably has some pitfalls that make it more likely to get out-of-balance.
In fact, ANY teacher of ANY children’s activity can be a fanatic. I see it most often with sports coaches, but it can be any activity, including religion teachers.
Since I’m in charge of a music competition, I meet a lot of students and their teachers. Here’s what I’ve seen–all kinds of different teachings styles and philosophies.
It’s up to families to select the teachers that are most appropriate for their family “style.”
Some teachers are strict taskmasters on a rigorous timetable of accomplishement., requiring several hours of practice each day, entering competitions, playing gigs even at a young age, etc. One of the teachers like this that I know only sleeps three hours a night herself, as she considers sleeping a waste of time. She kind of expects her students to be the same way.
For some musicians and families, this is just what they want and need. They don’t want to waste time or money. They want to get really good and gain admission into top schools or performance venues.
But for other musicians and families, this is too much! They just want to learn to play and have fun. So there are other teachers who emphasize the fun and pleasure of music, and allow the student to move along at their own speed and ability.
And for some families, this laid-back approach is not appropriate. They don’t get motivated by a relaxed teacher, and “having fun and experiencing pleasure” is not enough of a goal to keep them practicing.
And then there are all the teachers in-between.
I was very lucky to have a unique piano teacher who emphasized GLORIFYING GOD with my music. I was playing in church by the time I was in 6th grade, and she found churches all over the city that needed my playing. I had my first piano-playing “gig” in church when I was in 8th grade–five dollars a Sunday!
We always had sacred music in our repertoire, both traditional and contemporary. We were required to attend organ recitals at the great old churches in our city, and we were required to attend the Annual Messiah performances at the Lutheran church. This teacher always prayed with the students before recitals. And when it came time for college, she said, “You have to use the talent that GOD gave you.”
One of the skills that this piano teacher taught was ACCOMPANYING! By the time I was in high school, I was in demand all over the city as an accompanist because I KNEW how to accompany and not just play alongside a musician. I think that this is a very useful (and profitable) skill that many piano teachers seem to scoff at. I’ve actually met piano teachers that don’t allow their students to accompany because they don’t want them wasting time playing “lower” music. Oh, brother.
If I were to teach piano, I would probably use this same approach–accept students with the understanding that the purpose for playing is to glorify God and use the talent and ability that He has given. I think the reason a lot of kids quit is that they see no use whatsoever for their piano. I would try to get kids involved in playing at Mass as soon as they were able, even if it meant just playing for one Mass part or one hymn. And I would make sure that they knew sacred repertoire from all periods, and that they knew HOW to play in church, not just Catholic churches, but Protestant churches as well.
And I would definitely teach a student how to accompany.
But good luck finding a teacher like that! You just have to search to find the right teacher for your child(ren) and family.
Thank you so much for your replies!!
I truly appreciate it all! Great info!
I have not had a chance to check out the link, but I will as soon as I am able to. I have a problem with my speakers:o but I am getting that fixed soon…so, if you all have more links, please feel free to add them to this thread:)
I definitely believe music should be fun, but I always thought it would teach you some discipline, and maybe that is where some of the strict teachers are coming from.
I also read once that music teaches & or helps children with Math & Science
later on. What do you think?
I was wondering, if you all could give me a ballpark figure of how much should one expect
to pay for a 1/2 hour private lesson? This info. is for my sister, and she has several children. Does the price increase & by how much if there are 2 children ?
Also, if you do get private lessons, how many times should you have them, if you want to be able to play in Church by the 6th grade ? How many hours a day should you practice
every day, without going into burnout mode ?
I noticed that there are several SUZUKI music camps throughout the summer,
is one recognized more than the others ( in the music world ) ?
How much should you expect to pay for a violin for a 7 & or 8 year old child ?
What is the BEST age to start learning to play the piano ?
I saw a documentary about a small boy in California that started at the age of 3, and was playing concerts as well!!! Again, what is the ideal age, so you do not end up burning out & bored from it, yet that you will be able to play in public (Church & or other events ) at a young age ?
And how much can you expect to pay for private piano lessons ? And how often should you have them, once or twice a week, and for how long ? (1/2 an hour or 1 hour)
And unfortunately, I have not seen any classes teaching how to play the organ?
If you know of a particular place, company or school, please let me know.
Thank you so much for your wonderful & informative replies!
Since I don’t have any experience with the Suzuki Method, I won’t comment on that, but will answer some of your questions below:
Haven’t done much reading on it, although it is something I have read about. It apparently depends on the kind of music. I remember when I was in school, listening to Bach’s compositions or playing his compositions on the piano actually helped me with comprehending Math better. No scientific experiment, but I do know that when I did, especially when I was preparing for a test or exam, my grades would go up and it was just easier in general. From the little I read on this subject, it apparently has something to do with the analytical and mathematical nature of his compositions. They are practically perfect composition-wise, and actually, I often times can’t “relax” to most of his music, because it keeps my mind constantly working. I’m always listening to the everything within the composition due to its complexities, subtleties, etc. It’s definitely not “clouds of sound” in which one can easily fall asleep to.
This really all depends on the area you live in, the teacher, how serious the student is, etc. Many teachers I know will charge less for young children. Some will give a slight discount if there is a group lesson, although if the children are taking separate private lessons, there most-likely will not be any discount. I taught piano for a couple of years just to beginner students. I did have one 5 year-old student, and I just charged $10, but I was a beginning teacher, he was a little child and although I had studied piano from the age of 4 myself, it wasn’t my main instrument. I charged the same for my older students and when they were exceptional students, I would recommend them to my colleague who was and is an exceptional and very talented classical pianist/organist. For my voice students, I charged $15 because that was my main expertise. I’m thinking of starting up teaching voice again once my baby is born and will probably charge about $30-$40/hr. Most voice teachers in my area charge more.
I still take voice lessons in Manhatten and my lessons are $85/hr. (I take an 1 1/2 to 2 hr lesson). She is actually on the inexpensive end and has actually raised her rate to $100, but kept mine down since I’ve been with her for so long. Many of my colleagues I work with take lessons up there with other teachers, and they will pay $150 to $300 an hour. BUT that is Manhatten and those prices are for people who are serious about their art and are either currently working as a professional or are working at creating it as their professional career.
All depends on how serious the child is about playing an instrument, how much he/she likes it, and how much you know your child to recognize if he/she will burnout.
As I mentioned above, I started private piano lessons at age four and always had private lessons until I stopped to take up voice. The only time I took a group class was in college and that was a total joke, but it really was because I was too advanced for the class, not because the class was bad in it of itself. It was for non-piano majors.
I took my private lessons once a week and made sure that I practiced every day about 1 to two hours a day when I was younger. At four, though, I guess I probably was just practicing about a half hour a day. As I got older, I was constantly practicing, so I’d put in more than 2 hours a day. I’d even play at midnight for a couple hours sometimes, I enjoyed it so much and fortunately, my family were heavy sleeper and didn’t care that I practiced so late. I never played at a church, though, because I was so incredibly shy. I just enjoyed playing. Now my piano skills aren’t so great, so I only play in the privacy of my own home - no recitals. haha!
My colleagues who do instrumental music as their main profession, will practice 6 to 8 hours a day. As a singer, singing 6-8 hours a day will really tire out a voice (I learned that the hard way when I was at conservatory and overly ambitious - my teachers admonished me for doing that), so my actual practice is usually 2 hours, sometimes 3, but then hours more of study, mental practice, learning the compositions, translating text in opera scores, art songs, etc.
Unfortunately, I can’t answer those questions, although, I do know that some schools will lend instruments or rent them so that you don’t have to invest so much money on an instrument.