Has anyone every tried to teach wind instruments w/suzuki

said: Jun 24, 2005
 2 posts

I am a band director completely sold on the Suzuki philosophy. My wife is a certified Suzuki piano

teacher. My children are involved in both Suzuki violin and piano. I currently use the flute book with my

students but would like to know if anyone has ever tried to develope a Suzuki trumpet method for example. Would

love to have a contact of some one who might know the answer to this question.


Springfield Minnesota

Melissa said: Jun 24, 2005
 Piano, Flute
151 posts

The Suzuki method is a philosophy that children

learn music like they learn their native tongue.
I believe any instrument can be taught using this approach.

Children have learned and continue to learn music this way, without even using the Suzuki method.
This is

the way I learned to play the piano, flute, guitar, and I was not a Suzuki student. I was just lucky to have had

a family that immersed me with an environment of music.
It was Dr. Suzuki that discovered that this is the best

way to learn music and developed a method using this approach.
So, yes I definately think that you can teach

the trumpet or any instrument, by having the student listen to simple pieces or musical exercises, demonstrate and

have them copy.
After they have the basic skill of playing the instrument, developed good tone and ear, then

introduce the reading of music.

said: Jun 29, 2005
 2 posts

I have been doing some research reguarding my question as a possible theisis for my masters degree. I

have found three studies from 1969, 70, and 76 respectively where it was attempted to teach clarinet, trumpet and

trombone. The people doing the study had very little understanding of Suzuki’s methods or just simplified the

apporoach by only using rote learning, recordings, and limited parental involvement. Even with the limited

approach they found great success. I look forward to more discovery. Thanks for your responce.

said: Jun 6, 2006
 2 posts

I took my son through Suzuki Piano and was very impressed with the people and the method. Now nearing retirement, I have returned to my childhood love, the trumpet as a comback player. I have a fine teacher and play in a number of groups. I have always dreamed of doing a suzuki trumpet curriculum.

I have just begun teaching my first student, using many of the things I learned by being a suzuki parent. Here are a few observations.

Children usually begin trumpet at a later age than violin or piano. This is because of the considerable physical demands of the instrument. One example is the need for the child to have a more developed mouth/dental structure. Based on my student, (an example of one!) I think that this is appropriate. Other trumpet teachers agree.

Before even being able to do things like twinkle variations, the child needs to develop strength even to make enough different sounds. This is hard and takes weeks. My current challange is to keep it fun during this period of time.

If there is interest, I will keep posting.

said: Jun 6, 2006
 104 posts

It’s hard and it takes weeks (or longer) to learn to make even simple sounds on the violin, too. It’s not like little kids just jump into the twinkle rhythms. With wind instruments, it’s about lung capacity, which a small child will not be able to improve upon, unless someone out there makes fractional-sized trumpets, right? Perhaps box trumpets are the answer? :D

said: Jun 7, 2006
 2 posts

profcornelia, I had forgotten that.

My son’s experience (thus of course my experience) was with Suzuki piano, not violin.

My student, at 10, doesn’t have difficulty with a full sized trumpet. He has been, until this week been working on a smaller cornet, and there are “pocket” trumpets. The size of the instrument is not usually a big issue.

There are a lot of analogies between the production of sound by drawing a bow across the string and exhaling the breath passed the tensioned lips. One in particular is the need to constantly focus on good tone.

I will look to the violin pedagogy.

Thank you.

Community Youth Orchestra said: Jul 5, 2006
Community Youth OrchestraViolin, Viola
70 posts

Some instruments are just not feasible to teach to students who aren’t physically large enough.

Saxophone is heavy by comparison to many instruments, and requires a neckstrap that can cause all sorts of developmental problems.

I teach clarinet myself, and my smallest 5th graders have issues with the span of their hands to cover all the toneholes.

Violin, being available in fractional sizes without compromising pitch (a smaller wind instrument is going to be pitched differently), is a much more ideal vehicle for the Suzuki method.

Sue Hunt said: Jun 13, 2013
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
391 posts

Julian Bliss (born 1989) is a virtuoso British clarinettist and clarinet designer. He started playing clarinet at age 4, when he was given a Lyons C Clarinet, a clarinet designed to let children begin the clarinet four or more years younger than usual.

Community Youth Orchestra said: Jun 22, 2013
Community Youth OrchestraViolin, Viola
70 posts

While a fabulous clarinetist, Julian isn’t a clarinet designer. Like many other performers, he gives input to designers like Morrie Backun, who not only create instruments but also new products for clarinetists.

The Lyons C clarinet isn’t easy to obtain outside the UK, although there is a new version of it here that would be wonderful to use with younger students: http://www.clarineo.co.uk/

The youngest clarinet students I have are now third graders, who with some assistance are able to deal with the physical challenges of playing a Bb clarinet. We start with Tonalization, which encompasses posture, embouchure, and breathing, so they can make a beautiful tone on the instrument right from the very beginning. :)

Sue Hunt said: Jun 23, 2013
Sue Hunt
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Violin
391 posts

Well done!

Having seen and heard Julian perform, I think it is well worth looking into a lighter easier model for younger children.

Community Youth Orchestra said: Jul 5, 2013
Community Youth OrchestraViolin, Viola
70 posts

I saw the pocket trumpets on the other thread for the first ever Suzuki Trumpet training…it’s a shame we can’t easily add a couple extra bends to the clarinet to make a “pocket” version. :)

I agree, Julian is awesome. The Spohr and Krommer duets he did with his teacher Sabine Meyer are wonderful:


Jocelyn Crosby said: Aug 5, 2013
Jocelyn Crosby
Suzuki Association Member
Lancaster, PA
8 posts

I see this is an old question- but still relevant! As a former band teacher myself, I understand the school dynamic. Might I suggest doing Suzuki piano or recorder as a precursor into other instruments? The pocket trumpet and curved flute obviously work well, but if you are trying to teach a class with little help and funds… well, let me just repeat myself that I understand the dynamic!

Good luck in your continued endeavors!

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