How to Become a Suzuki Teacher
Take the Every Child Can! (ECC) course, an introduction to the Suzuki Philosophy and Method (no audition or membership required).
Submit your teacher training video audition (click on link for audition deadlines and further information).
Join the SAA as an Active teacher member.
Take Unit training courses:
Units 1, 2, and 3 must be taken in order.
Unit training courses can be found at Summer Institutes and Workshops. Workshop training courses are generally one week long and take place in a variety of venues, including the Trainer’s home studio.
Additionally, long-term training offers unit courses through a university degree program (no SAA video audition required). Note: all long-term course participants must be enrolled in the Suzuki degree program at an SAA approved university (see full list of approved universities through the link above).
- Your training will be officially registered with the SAA by the Institute, workshop, or trainer sponsoring your training course.
Why Be a Suzuki Teacher?
Are you a skilled, well-trained professional musician who would like to teach your instrument and work with young children?
Do you have a genuine affection for children and an interest in helping them develop as human beings through the study of music?
Are you interested in working in a cooperative atmosphere with children, parents and colleagues?
If so, you may be interested in investigating the Suzuki approach to music education. Many musicians who use the Suzuki Method have found that it provides a unique avenue for helping children and families as well as providing opportunities for their own growth as musicians, teachers, and human beings.
Increasing Need for Teachers
Since its introduction in North America more than forty years ago, the Suzuki Method has become a major force in music education. It has been successfully implemented in many different situations and is recognized by national music organizations. Interest in the method has grown as teachers, parents, and students experience its results. This has led to an increasing need for qualified Suzuki teachers in the Americas and abroad.
Philosophy of the Suzuki Teacher Development Program
The Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) is committed to Dr. Suzuki’s belief that every child can be educated and that high ability can be nurtured in every child. With this commitment in mind the SAA has designed a comprehensive Teacher Development Program to assist teachers in creating the best possible learning environment for their students, an environment that puts a priority on the development of fine character along with excellent ability and musicianship.
Teachers enter the Teacher Development Program with well-honed playing skills, thorough musical knowledge and a strong interest in teaching children. The Program’s carefully organized curriculum is presented by experienced SAA-registered Teacher Trainers who guide the participants through the Suzuki Method© repertoire and pedagogy, unit by unit.
Along with the pedagogical skills for working effectively with students of all levels and different learning styles, the Program provides opportunities for an ever-deepening understanding of the Suzuki Philosophy and an increasing awareness of the influence that Suzuki teachers have on their students’ families as they fulfill their responsibilities as nurturing educators. Mutual respect among colleagues, a generous spirit of sharing and a belief in the value of Suzuki teaching as a profession are the indispensable underpinnings of all areas of Suzuki Teacher Development.
The SAA has formulated requirements to ensure high standards for teacher training, and to make possible the recognition of such training. As teachers grow with experience and take advantage of the many opportunities for life-long learning that are provided within the Suzuki community—conferences, retreats and workshops as well as unit training—their commitment is recognized through a central course registration system. Registration of courses is not regarded as certification: certification as such is not offered by SAA. However, teachers have the opportunity to participate in the SAA’s Certificate of Achievement Program.
Features of the Suzuki Method
More than forty years ago, Shinichi Suzuki—educator, violinist, philosopher and humanitarian—realized the implications of the fact that children all over the world learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music and called his method the mother-tongue approach. The following special features distinguish the Suzuki method:
- Parental Involvement
- Early Beginning
- Learning with Other Children
- Graded Repertoire
- Delayed Reading
See the Suzuki Twinkler for more on the Suzuki Method.
To meet the need for trained teachers, the SAA has established a Teacher Development Program, with systematic, comprehensive professional training available from registered Teacher Trainers in violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, flute, harp, guitar, recorder, Suzuki in the Schools and and Suzuki Early Childhood Education. Both prospective and experienced teachers can benefit from the training offered through SAA’s Teacher Development Program. Recognition of training is provided by the SAA registration program for completed training credits.
If you are interested in learning more about Suzuki’s philosophy and approach and/or becoming a Suzuki teacher, you may take training courses specifically designed for your instrument. Training is offered year-round in a number of different formats: unit courses available at workshops and Summer Institutes and long-term courses at music schools and colleges.
The core courses or units of study correspond in name to the numbered Suzuki repertoire books for each instrument, with the first two courses (Every Child Can! and Unit 1) providing an introduction to the Suzuki philosophy and beginning approach to the instrument. Courses are designed to stimulate participation and interaction. They include opportunities for work with a master teacher as well as extensive observation of experienced teachers working with children. An SAA video audition is required for all training except long-term university training.
Preparation for All Units
All teacher training participants are asked to prepare and memorize the repertoire to be studied to the point of fluent performance. Additionally, participants should be conversant with the ideas presented in Dr. Suzuki’s book Nurtured by Love.
All participants will be performing Suzuki repertoire and other materials in class. Strings and woodwinds are expected to provide their own instruments. It is recommended that participants bring an audio recorder and a notebook to all sessions.
100% attendance is required for registering the course, and the Teacher Trainer has the option to add assignments and other requirements. Participants should schedule their time accordingly.
Workshop Unit Training
One of the most popular, accessible formats in which Suzuki training can be obtained is through intensive week-long courses offered at teacher workshops during the school year and summer institutes. Summer institutes offer student activities and teacher training at more than 75 locations throughout the US and Canada during the summer months.
SAA-approved programs are directed by registered SAA Teacher Trainers at colleges and conservatories. While programs vary in length and structure, they are usually two-year programs providing opportunities for in-depth study of Suzuki and standard literature, observation of master teachers, and apprentice teaching. Some programs lead to degrees with an emphasis in Suzuki pedagogy, while others offer Suzuki courses as electives.
In many schools, affiliated Suzuki programs serve as labs and generate income for graduate students. Since these programs have proven effective in assuring quality training for Suzuki teachers, the SAA encourages other colleges to add Suzuki Pedagogy to their curriculum offerings. Please contact the school for details on admissions, prerequisites and course work, etc.
“Long-term training gave me a true understanding of the long-range sequence of the literature and its interconnections. I gained teaching experience with observations provided by supervising teachers.”
“Training provided me a forum for hands-on teaching of the concepts presented in pedagogy classes and an opportunity for the Teacher Trainer to observe and evaluate our individual and group teaching. The knowledge gained in long-term training has been extremely valuable to me in my subsequent teaching.”
“Invaluable! An unlimited resource. Especially important was the long-term interaction with other teacher trainees—sharing ideas, discussing pedagogical principles, discussing the music, sharing the good and bad which comes with teaching families.”
For more complete information on Suzuki teacher training, please refer to the Teacher Development Program Document.