Is My Child Ready to Begin Music Lessons?
One of the first questions we often get asked is “How do I know if my child is ready to begin music lessons?” While the readiness of the child may be a concern, the real question is “Are you ready for your child to begin music lessons?”
The philosophy of the Suzuki Method is that with good teaching and support from their family, every child can learn to play an instrument, and the earlier that they begin to study the more beneficial it can be. The method is often referred to as “the Mother Tongue” method because we teach music in the same way that children learn language; through listening, imitation and repetition.
As with learning a language, the role of the parent is vital in learning to play a musical instrument. Depending on the age of your child, you will be putting as much time and effort into your child’s music education as your child will. A three or four (or even seven) year old beginner will not practice on their own without adult guidance. You will be the “home teacher” and in that role you will be responsible for taking notes during the lesson, learning the fundamentals of the instrument, and initiating and monitoring your child’s regular practice.
It is important to take this into consideration when signing your child up for music lessons. It takes a bit of work but like anything that is worthwhile, the payoff can be great. Even if you’ve never had a music lesson in your life, have always considered yourself tone-deaf, and you are full of self-doubt, I promise you can do this! I can’t think of a more wonderful way to interact with your child than through music.
Can We Give This a Few Weeks’ Try to See How It Works?
The short answer is no. The long answer is that you must commit yourself and your child to one full year of instruction and practice unless there is an extended illness or you move from the community. Children have infinite diligence in repetitive, slow, steady development; adults are more easily bored and impatient. It is our experience that when parents complain that their child is becoming bored, it’s often the parent who is becoming bored and this feeling is easily absorbed by the child. Your year of commitment to this program will ensure your child of receiving every possible opportunity for success.
Some of you may think that because the Suzuki Method places so much emphasis on beginning as early as possible that your 10 or 12-year-old is too old to begin studying an instrument. This is not the case.
While it is best to begin early, the Suzuki approach to music education can be applied to a beginner of any age. Everybody can benefit from learning this way. Even though it is a “method” of music instruction, the Suzuki approach is not a “one-size-fits” all style of education. Every person does not learn in exactly the same way and we can’t assume that what works for one person will work for another.
Our instructors have many years of experience working with students of all ages and abilities and will tailor their instruction so that the student’s needs are best served. We encourage beginners of all ages to consider the Copper Country Suzuki Association. We have students in our program that range in age from three to seventy!
For more information on the Suzuki Method visit suzukimethod.org.