Does anyone teach both Suzuki and traditional violin?


Laurel said: Jun 30, 2009
Laurel MacCullochViolin
Langley, BC
120 posts

I’m a Suzuki teacher at heart, and am always a bit wary of teachers who can “do both”.

However, I’ve heard of a possible job opportunity at a local music-store-with-a-studio-attached. They don’t have the facilities to have a proper Suzuki program started (i.e., no room big enough for group class) so it would be private lessons only. Plus there is already an excellent Suzuki program in the same city, so the “competition” is already there.

(I’m going to apply at that Suzuki program, too, but they have pretty high standards for teachers and I have only so much experience. I’m hopeful but realistic!)

The Suzuki program in the NEXT city, where I already teach, has an ongoing problem attracting students, since at least 5 years before I got there… not inner-city really, just not really big on culture in that city, and there are a few other traditional violin teachers/programs around there. So it’s like pulling teeth to get enough students each year to keep group classes going.

So if I were to apply at this music store, would it be stupid to say I teach both Suzuki and traditional violin? If they were to hire me, should I plan to teach traditional at that place but Suzuki in my current program? Or should I stick with Suzuki education only, just without the group class component?


Diane said: Jul 1, 2009
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

You will do the best job teaching being yourself. If you are being yourself and teaching the way you want to teach you will be a happier self fulfilled person. You will have to answer this question for yourself—Suzuki only, Traditional only, combo…..

Best wishes on your journey!

Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 2, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

It all depends on what you mean by “teach suzuki”. For example, would you consider it “suzuki” if you taught other repertoire but still used the basic philosophy?

Would it be “suzuki” if you used the materials but taught reading from the first lesson while also including a “play by ear” component?

Would it be “suzuki” if you used the materials and the “learn by ear first” philosophy by didn’t require parent participation?

I might advertise any of the above as “modified suzuki lessons”. And I’d make an effort to find a place to take my students to group class, even if it’s “off campus”.

Kirsten said: Jul 2, 2009
103 posts

Hi Laurel,

I have played around with other methods for many years, but have found that there is nothing quite as good as Suzuki Book 1 for the beginners, as long as you are really teaching them to play the pieces by ear.

If you have older students who are motivated to learn, over the age of 10 maybe, you could give them the once weekly lessons and make sure they agree to listen to the CD daily in addition to practice. Then by the time they get to Perpetual Motion, you might be ready to introduce some reading. You could do it all without parent involvement, but it might be confusing to advertise that as Suzuki teaching.

I agree with RaineJen that group lessons in another location would be desirable, particularly if you have younger students. Group lessons and parent participation for kids under the age of 10 or 11 makes a lot of sense, and I would probably avoid setting up lessons without that situation.


Sara said: Jul 4, 2009
191 posts

I taught in a music store for 41/2 years. It worked well to offer group lessons at another location. I had the group lessons as an option, but because I was “modified Suzuki” some students preferred not to participate in groups. But most really loved the groups.

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Susan said: Oct 28, 2009
 Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Bass, Cello, Viola
16 posts

Modified is a good way to look at individual choices/choices driven by circumstance & location. I ran a Suzuki-ish program in a public school for a long time. We called it “school-modified Suzuki.” Gave other musicians/teachers/Suzuki folks some hints about the instruction, and if they wanted to know more, they asked.

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