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#950591 07/03/08 09:23 AM
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I've noticed that almost all the Suzuki-trained students I've gotten as transfers have been visual-mode learners, as I am. Those students who learn best by listening or through "feeling" the intervals and patterns (kinesthetically) tend to be more successful with the Suzuki method, in my experience & observation.

I admit that reading skills are more emphasized in my studio than others, because I've found that being able to sightread well is very "marketable" for pianists wanting to function in the larger musical world as church musicians, chamber players, and accompanists. My Suzuki-trained transfer students tend to be confident solo performers, but they often find around the age of 12 or 13 that they would really like to be able to play the piano in their school's jazz band, entertain Grandma with a few Christmas carols, or play at their church. And good reading skills are key to being able to do those things!


Private piano & voice teacher for over 20 years; currently also working as a pipe organist for 3 area churches; sing in a Chicago-area acappella chamber choir
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#950592 07/04/08 01:33 PM
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I use the Suzuki method as an aid to becoming a good sight-reader!

It is quite beneficial to hear what you see.

Okay... let me try to upload those links again.

I've been busy working on a "new" old house so if I can't do it quickly... I will try again later.


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#950593 07/04/08 01:55 PM
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These links are good for only seven days:


This piece is "Black and White" by Robert Starer, read then memorized:

http://www.yousendit.com/download/TTdIMWZKYUk1R1BIRGc9PQ


This is "Good King Wenceslas" read not memorized:

http://www.yousendit.com/download/TTdIMWZCZEtKV1BIRGc9PQ


This is "O Holy Night" read reading a lead sheet:

http://www.yousendit.com/download/TTdIMWZIcHZ6NExIRGc9PQ


What I am trying to point out is this student and all of my students learn to play the piano by ear first... they then learn to read music and become good sightreaders as well... They do play chamber music and accompany others... Yes I do teach by using the Suzuki method, although not exclusively (repertoire) after Book 2.

This particular student, by the way, has a 95% hearing loss. She has a large repertoire not just what I posted. She is only one of many of my students that can play and read music well.


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#950594 07/04/08 02:00 PM
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Originally posted by SantaFe_Player:
I, too, got many transfers who couldn't read their way out of a paper bag. Many of these students did have some technical / mechanical skill at the piano and therefore were resistant to the necessary remedial work involved in learning to read. Some of the ones I inherited had been playing for 6 or 7 years when I got them, and it was very difficult to help them advance from their abysmal reading ability while continuing to challenge and develop them technically and musically - the bimodal nature of the skill levels was tough for them. They didn't enjoy the "boring" basic work nearly as much as they did dazzling people (and themselves) with their brilliance at whatever piece they had memorized for recitals.

I will have to say that many of the Suzuki students were far better listeners than traditionally-trained ones of the same age, but then Suzuki was not meant to be a piano method when it began, it was originally intended as a violin method, where listening is crucial because of pitch issues.

Parents sometimes were the ones who resisted the remedial work even when the child recognized the (sigh) need for it. Not all musically illiterate cases came from Suzuki studios, although most did. Some 'traditional' teachers in the town did not put much stock in reading, either, or at least it wasn't evident when observing their former students.
I've been there too, SantaFe. It is ashame when training has not been correct from the beginning.

I do very much disagree, with your insinuating (sp?) that the Suzuki method is meant only for stringed instruments. Nonsense! It is a philosphy that can be applied to ANY instrument. It is a natural way of learning an instrument. Mozart and many other greats learned this way!


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#950595 07/04/08 02:06 PM
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Pianobuff, they're all downloading as "Wenceslas" ??? Is it just my computer?

#950596 07/05/08 12:57 PM
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Pianobuff, I was able to hear all links. Thanks! Is the student playing your Estonia? How long has the student been taking lessons with you and starting at what age? To teacher and student: Good job! I am also hoping to take my kids through Suzuki into lead sheet/fake book territory and use this as a means to enter improvisation -- would no doubt get there faster with your guidance. However, I am encouraged about my intention by your student's example.


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#950597 07/05/08 02:29 PM
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Originally posted by keystring:
Pianobuff, they're all downloading as "Wenceslas" ??? Is it just my computer?
When I first uploaded it was all "Good King... " I fixed that and you should now be able to hear all three.


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#950598 07/05/08 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by Suzukimom:
Pianobuff, I was able to hear all links. Thanks! Is the student playing your Estonia? How long has the student been taking lessons with you and starting at what age? To teacher and student: Good job! I am also hoping to take my kids through Suzuki into lead sheet/fake book territory and use this as a means to enter improvisation -- would no doubt get there faster with your guidance. However, I am encouraged about my intention by your student's example.
No. She is playing on my Petrof IV. Her favorite piano of all three!

She started with me rather late, she was nine years old when starting piano lessons.

She was 13 years old at the time of the recording.


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#950599 07/05/08 02:36 PM
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Sorry... Double post!


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#950600 07/08/08 01:10 PM
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Pianoduff, you did not read what I wrote. I never "insinuated" that Suzuki is only for stringed instruments. I said that Suzuki was ORIGINALLY INTENDED as a violin method. It has of course been expanded to other instruments since its beginnings.
Go look it up for yourself if you don't believe me.


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#950601 07/11/08 02:35 AM
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Originally posted by SantaFe_Player:
Pianoduff, you did not read what I wrote. I never "insinuated" that Suzuki is only for stringed instruments. I said that Suzuki was ORIGINALLY INTENDED as a violin method. It has of course been expanded to other instruments since its beginnings.
Go look it up for yourself if you don't believe me.
I read it again and seems like a fine line... as if you were insuating... but okay, I take it back, no hard feelings.

Edit: After thinking about it "Originally Intended" is not correct either. If Dr. Suzuki were a pianist or harpist or oboeist or what have you... he would still have developed his theory and philosophy on how children learn music most naturally on whatever instrument he was accomplished at. It just so happened that he played the violin. So I do disagree with your "Originally Intended for Violin" comment.


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Wife of piano teacher here. Hubby teaches 60-70 students a week in a traditional method. He has recently taken on a transfer student who has been given a bit of a Suzuki start. She presents with a very peculiar technique. Her hand seems to be completely vertical, and she only uses one or two fingers. He has another former Suzuki student who is a little older and had more time in the method who plays with exquisite technique. He's trying to understand how this vertical-hand transforms into lovely technique. Now, the young one is moving on to five finger patterns and seems to be doing well with them.

I looked at the Methode Rose [on Amazon] and it appears to be all in Japanese or French. Is there an English version of this book? Or does it have English in it as well?
I know his goal is to capitalize on, rather than sweep away, what she has learned with Suzuki.


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I read the first and the last posts of this thread. As I understand with Suzuki method, the student can play piano but cannot read the music sheet, there are also students who play piano with vertical hand.....
I really cannot imagine that without see them personally....


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I would have suggested making a new thread instead of adding on to a 3 years past conversation!

I'm not sure what is meant by "vertical hand". The posture I'm familiar with is where forearm to wrist to back of hand is relatively flat, without extension or flexion of the wrist. If you mean that elbow to wrist to knuckles are in line with fingers dropping down, I think this initial position is meant to preempt dropping of the wrist below the keys or playing with flat fingers (meaning a sort of "lever" motion from the big knuckle and the middle knuckle isn't really engaged). As for how it gets translated to fluent and efficient playing...it worked out for me as a child but I didn't get that far in pedagogy. If the student "only uses one or two fingers", I would say not enough technique has been built up to be able to "continue from there" and you may as well just start her over in your usual way.

A more accurate description of Suzuki would be "the teacher does not teach reading first" not that "the teacher does not teach reading". You can teach Suzuki as well as teach reading - they really aren't mutually exclusive. However, it does mean that a student who doesn't stay with the first Suzuki teacher long enough to reach the point of reading might step out into the big bad world, be judged by the "traditional" teachers for not reading, and become fuel for those most vocal about the demerits of Suzuki.

Methode Rose is a common selection for getting the young Suzuki piano student going on reading. It's ancient, I'm not that familiar with the history of it, but I do know a few teachers who had trained in Japan with the founding sensei. I don't know if the Japanese text gives any instructions but when using it growing up, I only needed to bother with the music notation. It's the kind of book where you take Suzuki training and your trainer might go over how to use it or you look at the progression of exercises and with your pedagogical background, you understand or figure out how it works. Assuming you have your preferred materials already, I wouldn't worry about trying to use it to keep continuity.

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I want just to put this one here:

I had many piano teachers in the past and I have been taught with very different methods.
The reasons a teacher is having a student trained by another teacher are:
1)the teacher has relocated to a too far place.
2)the student has relocated to a too far place.
3)teacher recommends another teacher s/he knows and organizes the transfer. usually it happens when the student has a mental bottleneck.
4)the student has noticed after some time that s/he cannot make enough progress with a specific teacher, but s/he is very motivated and s/he believes s/he has a superior talent than the progress. This is a very strong sign, because in the piano education case, there is no common standard and cannot be compared. It happens because things is really going very bad for the student. In this case the student is going outside of the comfort area. It means this student has the necessary and very rare talent (maybe not sufficient) to be a very high level.

in case The teacher insists hysterically on a specific method as a religion believe and ignore the student specific issues for me is very dangerous. It maybe work in some cases but the talent is very rare resource, destroy a talent is criminal.
Anyway a good teacher for me is really able to apply multiple methods to help her/his student and build his own method.

At the end, I don't blame any method or teacher, there are always cases that a good teacher cannot help a student to breakthrough one specific bottleneck in a specific time constrain.
There are also students with objectives that no teacher is able to teach.
C'est la vie.....


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When it comes to Suzuki, the first thing many people would mention is playing by ear or more correctly by memorizing standard repertoire. The second thing I would add is the emphasis on playing standardized pieces.

The Suzuki approach can be both good & bad. People who learn to read the score very well may play in a mechanical manner. I came across videos of a young man who got into playing all sorts of Pop tunes. After a while his playing sounded boring. He can reproduce the notes but the songs become repetitive with little dynamic changes. Having good ear training that Suzuki focuses on can benefit from the beginning and further down the line. Being a proficient reader is not something you master in a month. People need to be reading new pieces consistently over a few years to get good at.

The standard Suzuki repertoire books starting with "Twinkle Variations" is the distinguishing feature of the Suzuki method. Book 1 is supposed to be learned by imitating the teacher's hand gestures before reading a single note. Suzuki books are not restricted to Suzuki students. A lot of traditional teachers also use Suzuki books and some Suzuki teachers (not all) are open to adding learning pieces that are non-Suzuki. We hear the same Suzuki pieces at Suzuki recitals all over the world performed over & over again by different people. There is no variety in the repertoire but it's easy to measure student A with B who both play the same pieces the same way (same tempo, dynamics, etc.)

Years ago I met 2 young men who got enrolled in Suzuki piano & violin by the parents. They performed a few pieces at their grandfather's funeral quite well. Despite taking up careers outside music, they enjoy playing and probably still play at home regularly.

It's interesting to compile statistics on the student retention rate of Suzuki & non-Suzuki after 1, 2 and 3 years of learning.

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