By Melanie Bodnar
In the current uncertainties of our world, it is reassuring to be able to hold onto the certainties that we do have. It is a privilege to be able to hold up the Suzuki philosophy and method as an example of a strong foothold for our children’s education, one that provides the foundation and support that children, parents, and teachers need now more than ever.
Suzuki music lessons differ greatly from traditional music lessons, and I recently asked the mother of two of my students to share her thoughts on their family’s transition to the Suzuki method after having previously studied piano with non-Suzuki methods.
Melanie: Your children previously took two years of non-Suzuki piano lessons. What were a few differences you noticed right away with the Suzuki method?
Bethany: The first differences I noticed were the structure of the lesson and the respect that was expected from my children. Their previous piano teacher was very relaxed about posture – allowing my daughter to sit up on her knees while playing – so this really impressed me. When playing, the children soon learned that their hands needed to be in a certain position, another aspect that their previous teachers hadn’t bothered with.
Melanie: What has been the most challenging part of transitioning to Suzuki lessons?
Bethany: My oldest child has had the most challenges. He had been able to sit and play however he liked for two years and now he has had to learn a whole new way of playing. Sitting up straight, feet flat and hands where and how they are supposed to be has been a huge challenge but he’s getting there. My daughter has had an easier time adjusting, probably due to her age and the fact that she only had one year of piano lessons before Suzuki.
Melanie: What has been the most rewarding part of Suzuki lessons?
Bethany: I have loved seeing the progress my children are making. Already they are so much better at playing and they look good while they play. The best part is that they are enjoying it!
Melanie: What words of wisdom would you offer to a parent considering the Suzuki method for their children?
Bethany: If you want to see your children progress and actually love what they are playing, all while learning to respect their teacher, the piano and the method, I highly recommend Suzuki. I also recommend doing it before they are too old and stuck in their ways, not that older children can’t learn, just that it can be more of an adjustment for them.
Melanie: What further musical goals do you have for your children?
Bethany: I would love for them to be able to hear a song on the radio or someone playing/singing something and for them to say “Hey, I want to play that!” and be able to sit down and figure it out. I know that will take time, but we are walking in the right direction, one step at a time!