Talk:Suzuki method

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Education (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Education, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of education and education-related topics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Classical music
WikiProject icon Suzuki method is within the scope of WikiProject Classical music, which aims to improve, expand, copy edit, and maintain all articles related to classical music, that are not covered by other classical music related projects. Please read the guidelines for writing and maintaining articles. To participate, you can edit this article or visit the project page for more details.


Deleted because they seem entirely unfair. I've seen advertising material for Suzuki Method materials and they are entirely different than the content of this article. This article is a straightforward description of a teaching method of significant global stature and included descriptions of its criticism, as well as plenty of references.

Historical Notes[edit]

I had thought Suzuki's father's factory manufactured the instrument called Koto before beginning to churn out violins. However, something I read recently made me think it was the samisen instead. Anyone know for sure? J Lorraine 11:04, 16 December 2005 (UTC)


POV: "So far as the first criticism is concerned, more sight reading exercises are now incorporated. So far as the second is concerned, the Suzuki method should not compromise individual musical development but should facilitate it, both by providing a sound technical base from an early age, and from encouraging the study of the instrument in the first place." Seems rather opinionated (and conclusive at that) to me. --Perlman10s 07:18, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

It is however balanced by the previous sentence which you have not quoted: "The most common criticisms of the Suzuki method from more traditional teachers are that its methods of group playing and the copying of playing styles by ear can (a) compromise sight reading skills and (b) tend towards rote learning at the expense of individual musicianship although a high degree of early technical ability is thereby produced." Chelseaboy 08:33, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

True, it does state the criticisms. But I'm concerned with the fact that the article chooses to refute them. Yes, you want to give both points of view in an article. But in this case, the author chose to give more credence to one POV, which is a no-no. --Perlman10s 04:10, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

...I'm relatively new to Wikipedia, but I agree with Perlman. The section on common criticisms to the method may need to be expanded and re-worked for a better sense of balance. On the other hand, since the criticism is not a recent thing, and Suzuki teachers (at least in the US) have been responding to it by modifying their methods as a whole group, including the way the SAA trains teachers, I think the SAA's response to the criticism is relevant. Perhaps a short history of how the method was introduced to the USA (as well as to the rest of the world outside of Japan), and how it was initially recieved, and what the major trends in the movement have been since then, is in order. J Lorraine 13:58, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

...I've added a heading "criticism & response in the US" (I don't know if criticisms are similar, or what the response to them has been, in other countries). I'm not satisfied that it's thorough, & I need to be more specific with citations/quotes. J Lorraine 08:34, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Good refs, excellent contributions J Lorraine. The criticisms you mention are heard and addressed in Europe as well so I have done a minor edit to broaden the article back again. The passages you have limited to the US were actually written by a non US Wikipedian! Chelseaboy 11:13, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

thanks. I've travelled to Europe as a musician but not in a specifically "suzuki" capacity -- and as all my references are US based (except the book "Nurtured by Love"), I don't feel qualified to say anything about teaching practices in the movement outside the US. J Lorraine 08:31, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

possible critique[edit]

As a critique I've heard that as adults relatively few students of the Suzuki method play instruments actively. I didn't see any reference to that one way or the other in this section; if anyone knows more it would be interesting to note there.

Hi. whoever you are, don't forget to sign your posts by using four tildes. And now for my reply: I've not heard this as a major critique specific to the Suzuki method -- logically, my brain tells me the reason is that anyone could use this same argument against any childhood education -- e.g. as a child I took classes in various sciences and was even instructed in how to perform various experiments, but I (and, I would guess, most of my classmates) do not now study or perform science experiments. By necessity, if a certain culture strives to educate their children in many disciplines, then all of those disciplines will have relatively few adult participants compared to the number of children educated in them. // But all that logic is besides the point. I've tried to find reliable sources (mostly published articles in journals) for each criticism mentioned (along with reliable published sources for the rest of the information!) If you have specific, cite-able evidence that this is a major public critique worth mentioning in a balanced encyclopedia article, go ahead and add the critique in the appropriate section with citations and add the reference information at the end of the article. J Lorraine 10:23, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

criticism within the suzuki community[edit]

I am removing the recently added point because I do not believe that it is 1)widespread within the suzuki community, or 2)a specific criticism of the suzuki method

(it reads: "Older students often have problems with improvisation since the method of learning is so structured and memorized. This makes it difficult for them to play with non-Suzuki musicians. This is a downfall of rote learning.")

First, I haven't heard any suzuki students, teachers, trainers, parents, or former students speak of this problem. Nor have I read it in any of the regular suzuki publications (SAA Journal, etc.). Second, the criticism appears to be mainly about older students being unable to improvise well, which is a downfall of most classically trained musicians who haven't been exposed to improvisational music as they grow up, not a specific downfall of Suzuki students.

I am deleting it entirely instead of moving it to the section of criticism from outside of the Suzuki community because I don't think it's a major criticism there, either. If you can come up with a citation (newspaper article, etc.) that shows it's a major criticism of the method, feel free to replace it. J Lorraine 09:11, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

This statement should also be considered for deletion under criticism.
  • teachers are often low-level performers, and are not required to hold a degree or have had any formal training on their instrument.
This is a false statement. The SAA considers training to be professional pedagogical study, intended for well-trained musicians. A video audition is required of everyone registering as a participant in an SAA-approved Teacher Workshop. Colleges and conservatories offer pedagogy studies. Most to all of the teachers I know that teach the Suzuki method have professional training and have studied their instrument in college and have been brought up with the method themselves. -- (talk) 20:55, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
In reply to the previous comment I would like to report that none of the participants of the Suzuki violin teacher courses in Germany that I have met so far has a conservatory degree, despite the German Suzuki Association (in German) claiming that only musicians with a conservatory degree would be admitted. This fact alone already undermines in a serious way the GSA's credibility. (Strangely enough, the requirement of a conservatory degree is not mentioned in the English version of the web page).
Actually, it's not just that non-professionals are entitled to attend the teacher courses. The courses seem even to be tailored to their needs. As a matter of fact, teacher trainers tolerate that participants of the courses need several months to rehearse the pieces of the Suzuki repertoire. (Excluding the time needed for memorization, which additionally is required). A professional player, instead, would play them at first sight or after having had a brief look at the score, still delivering a decidedly better performance than their amateur counterparts after months of rehearsing.
Another striking fact is that at the end of a course you get, inter alia, scores for intonation. This suggests that the Suzuki Association indeed doesn't expect the participants of the teacher courses to be professional violinists who, as a matter of course, have an impeccable intonation and don't need to be judged by a Suzuki teacher trainer.
There may be exceptions, but, as far as my experience goes, the criticism about Suzuki teachers being low-level performers is absolutely justified. Fred73 (talk) 09:34, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Orphan criticism paragraphs[edit]

I just modified (for grammar) the following, which was recently added to the bottom of the "criticism & response" section without references and without indication as to which section it belongs (from traditionally trained musicians/teachers, or from within the suzuki community). Does anyone have references/citations for these? Also, the grammar, diction, logic, and semantic style of the writing still sounds redundant to me, as if it doesn't flow very well. Both first and last sentences are rather long and the last sentence seems circuitous. Anyone up to help revise it/pare it down?

Opinions also include that if music is to be learned from audio recordings, the quality of the recorded pieces must be questioned in terms of style, integrity, and its positive or negative traits. The resulting views are subjective and may differ between people.
Also, any reliance on listening to a single peice in order to learn it is not sufficient for instilling a sense of the style of the work (where the style refers to the traits of performance that are common to many similar works), since a style can only be acquired by listening to a range of works of common style (including listening to works for enjoyment, rather than with only the goal of copying them).

J Lorraine (talk) 08:43, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Historical Notes[edit]

I added this section with an eye for providing background on how the method was founded. On second thought, I wonder if this section should be moved to the page on Shinichi Suzuki himself? J Lorraine 14:06, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Book Sources[edit]

Does anybody know any link to his compiled music sheets, from the first book to the tenth. I think we should add it up as an external link.

Do you mean a link to purchase the books? (BTW, don't forget to sign your name with four tildes) J Lorraine 23:32, 2 February 2006 (UTC)


Should this concept be mentioned in the article? In Book 1 it is described as the ability to produce and recognize a quality tone on the musical instrument. I recall this being emphasized as a student, and now I have witnessed it emphasized with my daughter who is a Suzuki student. Aguerriero (ţ) (ć) (ë) 21:28, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

Hm, do you mean Tonalization? It may be worth putting it in, since beautiful tone is definitely a part of Suzuki's teaching. But where would it go? It isn't really "philosophy" -- more like a technique -- hm, hm..... J Lorraine 11:00, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Yes I did mean Tonalization and I finally got around to adding it to the article. Edit or move it around if you think it needs it. Aguerriero (talk) 21:00, 16 May 2006 (UTC)


In Japan, children learned solfege (singing) anyway in kindergarten, so Dr. Suzuki did not originally include reading on the violin. Later it became apparent that you do need to learn to read using your own instrument. Many teachers delay reading initially while posture is being set, then keep it behind playing ability so it does not interfere with language learning. I use traditional reading methods when the children are ready, but sticking a traditional book in front of a 3-year old isn't usually age-appropriate. There is much variation among teachers; Suzuki said teachers should hyphenate their name with his, to have their own method.MsD925 09:00, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Do you think these ideas need to be incorperated into the article better, or are you just making commentary? J Lorraine 11:04, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, I'm new to Wikipedia... I get a lot of questions from prospective students' parents about reading, and it's under the article's list of criticisms. Maybe the first 3 sentences would work there? MsD925 05:48, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Maybe. Although those three sentences are relevant to the criticism on reading, they are also "historical". Hm, hm, I wonder if it would be better to re-work the section on criticism to incorperate some of the historical reasons for the downfalls that are mentioned, instead of merely presenting it as a list of 'criticisms'.... BTW, welcome to Wikipedia! J Lorraine 07:56, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi?[edit]

I play Suzuki for Cello. I have CD's 1, 2, 3, and 4. Doesnt Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi play all 4, not just 1 & 2? May I fix this in the article, if so? -- 08:26, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

yes, please do. J Lorraine 08:32, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

changing the reference system[edit]

When I first added references to this article, I used the harvard citation system (placing author's names in parenthesis). If no one objects, I'd like to change it to inline numbered references. J Lorraine 05:00, 18 April 2007 (UTC)


What, if any, relationship is there now or in the past between the Suzuki method, the Suzuki motor company, and the Suzuki instrument company? 22:19, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

I believe that the Nagoya Suzuki violin making company was founded by Shinichi Suzuki's father, so there is a direct family connection there. As for the motor company, I don't believe there is any connection besides the fact that it is a Japanese company and "Suzuki" is somewhat of a common surname in Japan. J Lorraine (talk) 08:43, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

List of Suzuki musicians[edit]

Twenty or thirty years ago I was hearing from non-Suzuki violin teachers that Suzuki students might develop into orchestra players, but never into soloists. Since then many (if not most) young soloists have a Suzuki background. A list of well-known violinists (at least, if not other instrumentalists) with Suzuki backgrounds would, I believe, add to this article. Ccerf 02:10, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

The problem with such a list is that it would need to be sourced. If there is a reliable, neutral source (ie non-Suzuki) that lists notable Suzuki-training musicians, we could add it. --Spike Wilbury talk 23:11, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
If they started young enough, chances are that they have a Suzuki background, or were taught by a Suzuki-influenced teacher, regardless of whether or not they are professionals (soloists or orchestra musicians, chamber musicians, rock band stars or jazz musicians), or amateurs of any walk of life. J Lorraine (talk) 08:58, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Suzuki's doctorate[edit]

This article repeatedly refers to "Dr. Suzuki". The article on Suzuki himself doesn't mention any doctorate. Why "Dr."? -- Hoary (talk) 01:32, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

It later occurred to me that even if Suzuki had a doctorate the article should not refer to him as "Dr(.) Suzuki". I've removed every instance of "Dr.". -- Hoary (talk) 01:43, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Suzuki was given an honorary doctorate from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1990. This should probably go in the Shinichi Suzuki article somewhere. But I'd have to look up a reference for it first. J Lorraine (talk) 06:47, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it's customary to refer to somebody as Dr whatever on the strength of an honorary doctorate, however richly deserved. But honoriness (?) aside, WP doesn't refer to people as Dr this or that -- "Einstein", not "Dr(.) Einstein" -- and I'll therefore remove "Dr(.)" wherever I encounter it. Hoary (talk) 11:09, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

the second point, yes. the first point, I disagree with, but it really isn't that big of a deal. J Lorraine (talk) 08:46, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Suzuki Guitar School: terrible Audio CDs[edit]

The Suzuki Method as envisioned by Shinichi Suzuki is really great!


What the Suzuki Association of the Americas is offering in terms of the Classical Guitar AUDIO CD's (these CD's are an official part of the Suzuki Guitar School), is music that is so badly interpreted, that one wonders if it has perhaps been recorded by beginners. The phrasing and sound is terrible. Hideous.

And our children are supposed to learn from this? No thanks!

Eteriano (talk) 19:44, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

perhaps you should contact the SAA to request new guitar school recordings. J Lorraine (talk) 08:40, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Criticisms: Pyramid schemes and cults[edit]

I removed the following text from the "criticism and response" section because I have never heard or seen this criticism published (If anyone has a reliable source for this criticism, please introduce it. Otherwise, it seems more like a smear than a valid criticism.)

"In addition, there are troubling ways in which the Suzuki organization itself resembles both pyramid-scheme models and cult:

  • Teachers must pay for each level that they move up within the structure, by becoming "certified" for each book of the method
  • The only way to become "certified" is to pay for membership and training, which enables one to use the Suzuki image and name for self-promotion
  • Materials put forth by the organization stress the sharing of methods and knowledge only within the body of members
  • The members of the organization hold a quasi-religious reverence for the founder
  • Suzuki materials continually refer to "Dr. Suzuki," who held no formal education beyond the high school level, and only held honorary or ceremonial "doctorates"
  • The group as a whole sometimes refers to itself as the "Suzuki Movement"; this term has no equivalent in any other form of music education
  • On his death, Suzuki handed off the organization to his own adopted son
  • Suzuki often used millennialist-type language, as in videos produced for the organization members: "Everybody awake and walk together!"

J Lorraine (talk) 08:19, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi J!

I'd like to thank you for not just removing these points, but keeping them here on the talk page. I actually really appreciated those points and think that they are very valuable. They are not flatteringly positive, but in their criticism, these remarks provide valuable points, that may lead to an improvement of Suzuki method and how it is "run". (I can identify with the points raised and think they are relevant.) So I'm definitely in favour of having these points returned to the article.Slkjgvn (talk) 07:39, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

hmm. Thanks for your input. Although I do think that some people are quasi-religious about the method, I also think most people are not. Regardless of this, I still think we need cite-able, vetted information for the article. J Lorraine (talk) 02:41, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Alfred or Albert?[edit]

A recent edit changed "Albert Einstein" to "Alfred Einstein" and claimed this was a common error and cited the biography on the australian suzuki website. But the international suzuki website, along with the documentary "nurtured by love" both say "Albert Einstein". I'm inclined to think the australian website bio is a typo. J Lorraine (talk) 01:37, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

I have (again) reverted "Alfred" back to "Albert". I haven't got anything against Alfred, but since the source cited in the "References" section (the documentary) does explicitly say "Albert Einstein", and I note that Evelyn Hermann also says "Albert" in her book on Suzuki "The Man and his philosophy", and (as I noted above) the "mother" website to the australian site says "Albert" as well. All this source material points to the conclusion that the au. site has a typo. I realize that sources are not "democratic" and "more votes" for Albert does not make it so. But I believe the australian website bio is a "late" source compared to the earlier published books (such as Evelynn Hermann's). Earlier sources tend to be more accurate than later ones. I also believe that, in comparing websites, the "higher authority" in sourcing should fall on the international, as opposed to the national, organization. If you want to change it again, please either cite something other than a website which appears to have a typo, or explain here why the one Au website has a higher authority than earlier sources, such as books which were printed and published closer to the actual event than any website. J Lorraine (talk) 19:06, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

In relation to Suzuki, i dont know what you are speaking about, but there are two of them. Albert the physician and violinist, and Alfred the musicologist and specialist of Schubert. There were cousins. Pipecat (talk) 01:48, 17 January 2011 (UTC)