Last summer, focus groups at summer Institutes were asked to submit questions for a panel of “Suzuki Experts” to answer. Here are the first two:
How do we help our students learn to read music without deterioration of their technique?
First of all, teachers need to be sure that a student’s posture and technique are well set and secure before introducing a music reading method book. There are a lot of pre-reading exercises and activities that can prepare a student for reading, in much the same way that language reading is prepared before language reading is formally taught. Parents need to trust the teacher to introduce music reading at the appropriate time and wait until the child’s basic playing posture and technique are comfortable and stable.
After the music reading book is introduced it is important for that these basic skills continue to develop well without the music reading activity interfering. For instruments where a music stand is used, this means having the stand at the correct height and being sure the student maintains the same posture when reading music that he or she uses when playing without the printed page. Students need to be encouraged to continue developing good tone and intonation while reading music. At first music reading should not take a big percentage of the lesson or practice time, so there is time to reinforce good posture and technique.
Can there be a resource for language challenged teachers (English as a second language)?
There are four excellent books about the Suzuki Method and philosophy that have been translated into Spanish, including Dr. Suzuki’s Nurtured by Love (Hacia la Musica por Amor) and Ability Development from Age Zero (Desarrollo de las hablilidades desde la edad cero) plus two more books suitable for parents and teachers. These can be ordered directly from the Suzuki Association of the Americas online store. The SAA also has various articles which have been translated into Spanish and can send you some of these if you contact the office.
— Expert of the Week, Marilyn O’Boyle