Being a Suzuki parent can be an exciting undertaking, as you have the privilege of being intimately involved with your child’s learning, watching them grow in ability and helping them to succeed on their musical journey. It is not necessary for you to have prior musical knowledge and experience yourself, in order for your child to succeed. The learning happens best when child, parent and teacher all work together, creating a stronger foundation for success than with child and teacher alone. 

In the lesson

It is essential for you to attend every lesson with your child and make note of practice methods and techniques that are demonstrated during the lessons. The notes you take in lessons will become your handbook for helping with practice at home. Please ask your teacher for clarification of any points you do not understand.

At home

At home, the parent is responsible for creating an environment that will support and encourage their child’s learning and appreciation of music. In order to develop a refined sense of pitch and touch, a good acoustic piano is recommended for home practice. For small children, a footstool will be required to support the feet while playing the piano. Large books, such as phone books, may be used for this purpose. Provide a practice environment that is well lit and free from distractions and interruptions.

Listening

Daily listening to the CDs of the student’s pieces is recommended for helping the child to internalise the sound of the pieces. Parents are responsible for facilitating the child’s listening each day. Frequent listening will enable your child to pick up the pieces more quickly, as well as developing beautiful tone. This can be done whilst the child is engaged in other activities, such as playing a game or eating a meal.

Practice

Daily practice is an important part of learning and retaining musical ability. Parents are responsible for facilitating the practice habits of their children. It is important to establish a routine right from the very beginning. Creating good habits will help establish desirable qualities in the child, such as discipline, patience, perseverance and organisation. Practice time needs to be a happy time, where parents give appropriate and specific praise and encouragement during instruction, and parent and child have fun learning together. Practice includes review of previous material, as well as the learning of new skills and pieces. 

Graduation

Levels of achievement are recognised and celebrated through graduations in Suzuki method. When the student reaches a particular level in their playing, they are able to graduate. In graduation, the student performs solo in a concert-like setting with other students. Parents are able to attend and observe, making the experience positive and non-threatening. Every graduating student is successful and receives a written report, and a certificate sent from Japan. 

Suzuki Organisation

Suzuki families are encouraged to join the Suzuki Music Association. This enables students to participate in a variety of events, including workshops, festivals, concerts, and graduations, where students will be able to perform for an audience, gain instruction from top national and international teachers, and meet and listen to other Suzuki students performing. Families receive a quarterly update from the Association, as well as access to the Association’s library of books, music, CDs and DVDs. The Suzuki Association also provides training and professional development for teachers learning and teaching the Suzuki Method. Further information may be found at suzukimusic.org.au.