The Suzuki Method - Learning to Play the Violin or Piano

By Corinna Chang

There are certain techniques that are used to help the education and appreciation of music and the instrument. Tonalization is a word that is central to the Suzuki method and is purposely very similar to the word vocalization that singers use. Instead of warming our voices up we are warming up our instruments. Tonalization defined means that the student has the ability to produce and recognize the beautiful ringing tone quality of their instrument. Though this was first developed for learning the violin, it has been incorporated to learning the piano as well.

I also use sound recording to help my students learn how to play the violin and piano. Records, tapes and CDs help the students learn notes, phrasing, rhythm, dynamics and a beautiful tone quality by ear. It is important to know what music should sound like before you play it. Mozart himself was surrounded by wonderful high quality performances from birth and with the technological breakthrough of sound recordings made it possible for people of all walks of life to be able to enjoy music, so that even children whose parents were not great musicians, such as Mozart’s father, were able to be surrounded by rich music.

It is important that the instrument a child is going to use is adapted to meet their needs and demands. This is most often seen in the string instruments, where the instrument has been scaled down to child size. For the piano there are height adjustable chairs, benches and foot rests. It is an important part of the Suzuki method to make sure the student is not intimidated by the instrument they are learning. The more comfortable they are from the start, the more easily they will learn.

I also have students play together, this helps build a common repertoire between the students.
This allows the students to participate in small groups which help to foster the musical community that is essential to learning to play an instrument. The camaraderie that then develops helps to motivate each student to learn new music while perfecting the old pieces that they have learned. We have found that this is especially beneficial in increasing the speed and ease of learning for all students.

There are many more imporant considerations when deciding which instrument your child should pursue with the suzuki method. Come find out what they are right now at

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