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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the bennefits of the Suzuki method?

• Students become comfortable with the piano before learning  to read music

• Develops physical and aural awareness

• Students develop musical listening sensitivity

• Students begin at a young age

• Fosters close parent/child relationships

• Teaches patience, concentration

• Develops fine motor skills/coordination and self-motivation

• Builds self-esteem and self-confidence

• Mathematical Excellence and Sensitivity to Patterns


How is the Suzuki method different from other teaching methods?

• Teachers believe that musical ability can be developed in everyone

• Students become comfortable with the piano before learning to read music

• Technique is taught in the context of pieces versus through technical exercises

• Pieces are refined through constant review

• Students perform frequently

• Builds self-esteem and self-confidence

• Demonstrates the giving and receiving  of respect

What is a musical environment?

Listening to the Suzuki repertoire is part of the foundation of the Suzuki Method. Repeated listening helps the student to be familiar with the repertoire and thus the learning process is facilitated. The student will absorb the language of music just as they do their mother tongue language. Whether in an active or passive listening state, their musical environment directly influences children. Listening to beautiful music on a regular basis as opposed to one that is discordant, vapid or full of rage, can only help to encourage the child towards Dr. Shinichi Suzuki's goal.


As a parent, how am I involved?

The parent's role starts with creating a musical environment for the child to absorb. However, the parent should never give the impressions that they are doing this for the child's benefit only. Enjoy the music yourself and your child will join in.

The parent comes to every lesson and takes careful notes to ensure that the exact assignment is practiced at home. The parent need not be a musician to be a good "practice partner". With your teacher's guidance each parent can learn the basics required.


Do we need a real piano at home?

An accoustic or digital piano (not a digital keyboard) is a key part of serious music education and is absolutely essential for Suzuki learning:  young beginners must develop hand strength/finger position, true self-expression and the understanding of beautiful sound, proper dynamics, and most importantly an emotional connection to an instrument that organically responds to their playing of it.   Digital pianos are a more inexpensive option for some families.


But – I don’t know the first thing about playing the piano…how will I help my child practice?

For the first several lessons, you will be given the same lesson as your child.  You get to learn too!


How much should my child practice?

To feel encouraged and successful as a student, Piano Key follows Suzuki’s mantra “only practice on the days you eat.”.  However, practicing less than five times per week will likely result in much slower progress and understandably, frustration.  A beginning student should not practice longer than 5-10 minutes a day, and build up from there.


Can my Great Aunt Ethel bring my child to our piano lessons, instead of me?

Parental involvement is key in the Suzuki Method for a few practical reasons as well as psychological ones – so unless Great Aunt Ethel is the one doing the practicing with your child on a daily basis, then the answer is sorry-but-no.   Great Aunt Ethel can come to our recitals, though!


I need to cancel a lesson, do you do make-ups?

Make-up classes are only offered if it is the teacher cancelling.  


Do Suzuki students learn to read music?

Reading is taught after basic playing skills, good posture/hand position and good tone have been mastered. This does mean that for some years the child’s playing ability is ahead of reading skills; eventually the reading ability develops to the same level.  Exactly the same process is found in the language ability of primary school children, whose fluency in spoken language is normally considerably in advance of their reading and writing skills.


Is it a little pushy to start learning an instrument at such a young age?

Suzuki teaching is ideally adapted to the emotional and developmental needs of the youngest learners.  A good teacher will have been carefully trained in all matters concerning motivation, understanding of child development and psychology, and with making learning fun, while at the same time aiming for excellence in the long term, always shaping the far-reaching benefits both for the students and their family.