What is Best for Your Student, Suzuki or Traditional?

Posted 7 years ago by B&B Music Lessons

After World War II, Japanese violinist Shin’ichi Suzuki sought to bring beauty to the children of his native country through music. He was taken by the fact that children could learn their native languages at very young ages, yet adults sometimes struggled with learning new languages. He created a teaching method for music he called sainÅ​ kyÅ​iku, or “Talent Education”. It sought to create an environment conducive for young people to learn music without focusing on “reading” music. Today, we call this is the Suzuki Method, and we often get questions regarding its use and value. It may be helpful to know a bit more about the process before specifically requesting a Suzuki Method teacher.

Japanese violinist Shin'ichi Suzuki600x350

Japanese violinist Shin’ichi Suzuki created a teaching method for music he called “Talent Education”,

The Suzuki Method

Suzuki made note that children learn to speak by listening, not by reading. They are immersed in an environment where talking in a native language is common, and practiced daily. As children learn to speak, they are rewarded by their parents with praise, better communication, and pride. Similarly, the Suzuki method teaches children to play their instrument without the use of written music.

Rather than focusing on reading notes right away, students are taught to use their ears to learn specific pieces. Pre-recorded music is used to accompany the student to help them memorize, with performance as a goal. In the Suzuki method, performances are a part of the learning process and become a natural and enjoyable part of the learning method.

Like speaking combines with reading and writing in communication, a combined approach may be the best option for learning music.

A Combination of Methods

Traditional methods of teaching music introduce a student to sight reading, scales, key signatures, sharps and flats, and other theory right away. Like reading and writing in language, these are necessary components of a well-rounded musician. It is why the combination of traditional and Suzuki methods is common. Today, many versions of Suzuki methods have added sight reading and theory to their programs.


The combination of traditional and Suzuki methods is common.

Suzuki method is very popular and it is a great way for younger students to gain confidence and ear training early on. The confidence provided by frequent performances encouraged by the method is also a plus. We believe the primary consideration however, is to find the best teacher for your child.

The Best Teacher for Your Student

With a good teacher, the music leads the way. It is first and foremost about the music, and then about the value of persistence. Suzuki is more about the method. If you can find a teacher who connects well with your student, you have the main ingredient in the recipe for greatness.

This is why we have spent the last ten years working so hard on building our roster of talented teachers. These are people not just skilled musically, but in reaching their students and helping them grow. If you would like to discuss the possibility of working with a private music teacher in the DC area, contact us. We enjoy changing lives, one lesson at a time.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join the hundreds of DC area parents that trust B&B to provide conservatory-quality music lessons to their children.
We will NEVER share your email with a third party.