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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
For example, m in another subject, I've been learning the Russian language for close to 30 years off and on, and have not made the progress I was hoping! frown

Perhaps you should involve yourself into a similar forum in the target language. You will be amazed how beneficious it can be for your language study. wink


Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
People who are polyglots would devise a systematic way of learning a new language such as pushing for 5 new words / phrases a day. Something that is not very demanding and easy to maintain. He / she would do it consistently over a few years.

A bit OT, but at my age, with my memory, the 5 new words / phrases a day would not be a problem. On the hand, remembering the 5 words or phrases that I learned 100 days ago, and 101 days ago, and 102 days ago... They would all be gone unless I would have used them several times.

I agree with Animisha, learning X new words a day is a waste of time IMO. Words dwell in memory only when they are encountered in a context and memorized being associated with that context. Songs are probably most helpful in this matter.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
For example, m in another subject, I've been learning the Russian language for close to 30 years off and on, and have not made the progress I was hoping! frown

Perhaps you should involve yourself into a similar forum in the target language. You will be amazed how beneficious it can be for your language study. wink

Thanks! I perhaps will start out lurking smile

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
People who are polyglots would devise a systematic way of learning a new language such as pushing for 5 new words / phrases a day. Something that is not very demanding and easy to maintain. He / she would do it consistently over a few years.

A bit OT, but at my age, with my memory, the 5 new words / phrases a day would not be a problem. On the hand, remembering the 5 words or phrases that I learned 100 days ago, and 101 days ago, and 102 days ago... They would all be gone unless I would have used them several times.

I agree with Animisha, learning X new words a day is a waste of time IMO. Words dwell in memory only when they are encountered in a context and memorized being associated with that context.

Yes, memorization of words is eldritch this way. (Use of this world is an inside joke with one other person...)


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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416

When it comes to music, listening is the key. I'd spend as much time listening to online recordings of pieces I'm working on as well as my own recordings.


I'm afraid I completely disagree. The only way to learn how to play the piano is to put in the requisite hours at the keyboard. Listening to other people play may be enjoyable, but it won't improve your playing as a beginner. If you're an experienced pianist then perhaps it may aid in picking up hints about musical performance, but beginners just need to establish the muscle memory to make the fingers obey the brain, and there's no shortcut for doing that. You need daily practice. Every day!


You made some valid points that practice needs to be everyday. When it comes to listening to other people's playing, this is 1 of the key features to the Suzuki method. You go by the Suzuki books starting from Book 1 and work your way up. Before you learn to read music, you play every song in Book 1 along with your Suzuki teacher. In the back of a Suzuki book is a CD. Every Suzuki student would know the songs in Book 1 like "Twinkle Variations", "Little Playmates", "Chante Arabe", "Goodbye Winter", ... because you listened to the recordings many times.

If you are in the Suzuki program, a teacher would ask you to listen to the Suzuki CD at home. I'm not in the Suzuki program but I did attend a Suzuki info session so I have some idea about the Suzuki method. For years people have been debating the plus & minuses of the method as outsiders. This is the way Suzuki students are supposed to learn by listening to a performance of all their songs and play accordingly (by imitating tempo, dynamics & all the other nuances). Some of the points critics suggested included Suzuki students tend to be weak on reading because it is introduced after they already all their songs and Suzuki students learn by following recordings they considered to be standard which is rather arbitrary.

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
If you are in the Suzuki program, a teacher would ask you to listen to the Suzuki CD at home. I'm not in the Suzuki program but I did attend a Suzuki info session so I have some idea about the Suzuki method. For years people have been debating the plus & minuses of the method as outsiders. This is the way Suzuki students are supposed to learn by listening to a performance of all their songs and play accordingly (by imitating tempo, dynamics & all the other nuances). Some of the points critics suggested included Suzuki students tend to be weak on reading because it is introduced after they already all their songs and Suzuki students learn by following recordings they considered to be standard which is rather arbitrary.

Do I understand it right that the main difference between the Suzuki method and the traditional approach is that the Suzuki method focuses on playing by ear instead of reading music?

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Do I understand it right that the main difference between the Suzuki method and the traditional approach is that the Suzuki method focuses on playing by ear instead of reading music?


If you do a Google search on the Suzuki method, this is what comes up:

The Suzuki method of teaching piano is based on the “mother tongue” approach. ... Children learning to play piano with the Suzuki method are taught to play “by ear” first, and learning to sight read music is not taught until the child is successful with reproducing music by ear.
Sep 28, 2012

This is the same information in the "Every Child Can" handbook published by the Suzuki Association of America. The CD at the back of every Suzuki Book is for the purpose of learning to play by ear. Here we are talking about learning the songs in Suzuki Book 1 the first time through. The second time you go through Book 1, you are taught the different symbols (the clefs, Time & Key Signature, notes) on paper.

By the time you get to Book 2 you would know enough symbols to read off the sheet if you wish. Some people are used to playing by ear will continue to learn by listening to the CD.

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My teacher teaches both Suzuki and traditional methods. She begins all young students with Suzuki and then moves them into learning to read by traditional methods somewhere between book 1 and 2 of Suzuki. Her Suzuki students develop some early skills which it might take traditional learners years to develop: actually hearing what you play, dynamic control, rhythm and phrasing. They then learn how those notes and rhythm come from a page. I am jealous it was not around when I started.

She is a trained, certified Suzuki teacher which means she didn’t just buy a beginner book and start teaching but attended lengthy training. Can it become a crutch where students never learn to read? Of course. That is why it has a negative reputation with some.

All of this is just from the conversations we have had and above my pay-grade to discuss in depth.

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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
.... is based on the “mother tongue” approach. ... .

How Suzuki imagined people learn their mother tongue.

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Personally, I think the Suzuki as it's applied to a percussion instrument is like assuming that what's delicious for one species (like Hershey's/Cadbury's/Lindt depending on your country and taste buds wink ) is also good for another, like dogs. Every dog owner knows - or should know - that isn't so.

Suzuki was devised for unpitched string instruments, principally the violin. You can get tiny violins suitable for small children, and they learn to listen and play in pitch with Suzuki, in group settings. That doesn't translate to piano, not in the least. Pitch is predetermined. Either you play the right note or you don't, and there's no 'almost there'. It's impossible to get several pianists to play exactly together, and the asynchronization sounds awful, unlike with violins. Whoever thought of the bright idea that what's good for violinists is equally good for pianists?

And as everyone knows, when you start playing by ear and get reasonably good at it, why bother with learning to read? With languages, if you can't read, you have nothing - no nice stories to enjoy etc, unless you have a tame mother to read everything for you. With piano, if you can't read, you can still bumble along playing stuff by ear, and sometimes even get close.

Just not with something like Gaspard......


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Bennevis
Read my post about the process and benefits. You need to actually see how it should be taught and transitioned into traditional learning. I have heard my teacher’s Suzuki students as they learn to read notes, and they play with much more musicality than I did at that stage. And no, they do not play in a group; these are private lessons.


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Originally Posted by dogperson
Bennevis
Read my post about the process and benefits. You need to actually see how it should be taught and transitioned into traditional learning. I have heard my teacher’s Suzuki students as they learn to read notes, and they play with much more musicality than I did at that stage. And no, they do not play in a group; these are private lessons.

This is one of the central tenets of Suzuki:

Regular playing in groups (including playing pieces in unison) is strongly encouraged.


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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
If you do a Google search on the Suzuki method, this is what comes up:

The Suzuki method of teaching piano is based on the “mother tongue” approach. ... Children learning to play piano with the Suzuki method are taught to play “by ear” first, and learning to sight read music is not taught until the child is successful with reproducing music by ear.
Sep 28, 2012

This is the same information in the "Every Child Can" handbook published by the Suzuki Association of America. The CD at the back of every Suzuki Book is for the purpose of learning to play by ear. Here we are talking about learning the songs in Suzuki Book 1 the first time through. The second time you go through Book 1, you are taught the different symbols (the clefs, Time & Key Signature, notes) on paper.

By the time you get to Book 2 you would know enough symbols to read off the sheet if you wish. Some people are used to playing by ear will continue to learn by listening to the CD.


It’s well established, though, that the overwhelming majority of children lose the ability to learn a language by listening by their early teens - it seems that the language “wiring” in our brains becomes fixed at around about that age. I can see the value of the Suzuki method, therefore, for young children, but I doubt its usefulness for an adult learner such as the OP.


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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
If you do a Google search on the Suzuki method, this is what comes up:

The Suzuki method of teaching piano is based on the “mother tongue” approach. ... Children learning to play piano with the Suzuki method are taught to play “by ear” first, and learning to sight read music is not taught until the child is successful with reproducing music by ear.
Sep 28, 2012

This is the same information in the "Every Child Can" handbook published by the Suzuki Association of America. The CD at the back of every Suzuki Book is for the purpose of learning to play by ear. Here we are talking about learning the songs in Suzuki Book 1 the first time through. The second time you go through Book 1, you are taught the different symbols (the clefs, Time & Key Signature, notes) on paper.

By the time you get to Book 2 you would know enough symbols to read off the sheet if you wish. Some people are used to playing by ear will continue to learn by listening to the CD.


It’s well established, though, that the overwhelming majority of children lose the ability to learn a language by listening by their early teens - it seems that the language “wiring” in our brains becomes fixed at around about that age. I can see the value of the Suzuki method, therefore, for young children, but I doubt its usefulness for an adult learner such as the OP.


Actually my piano teacher took beginning cello as an adult just a few years ago and highly recommended it for beginning cello adult students. If I can ever retire, I will sign up 😊


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Personally, I think the Suzuki as it's applied to a percussion instrument is like assuming that what's delicious for one species (like Hershey's/Cadbury's/Lindt depending on your country and taste buds wink ) is also good for another, like dogs. Every dog owner knows - or should know - that isn't so.

Suzuki was devised for unpitched string instruments, principally the violin. You can get tiny violins suitable for small children, and they learn to listen and play in pitch with Suzuki, in group settings. That doesn't translate to piano, not in the least. Pitch is predetermined. Either you play the right note or you don't, and there's no 'almost there'.

When playing by ear on the piano a student can be 'not there', too, by a semitone or a tone. I think the idea of learning to play by ear on the piano by trying to repeat melodies is actually very good.

Originally Posted by bennevis
It's impossible to get several pianists to play exactly together, and the asynchronization sounds awful, unlike with violins.

In fact there is no need to play notes simultaneously. A student can play with a little delay and it would sound nicely like a canon.

Originally Posted by bennevis
With languages, if you can't read, you have nothing - no nice stories to enjoy etc, unless you have a tame mother to read everything for you.

Or unless you have a radio, or a television, or the internet. Those who play by ear have much greater possibilities nowadays.

Originally Posted by bennevis
And as everyone knows, when you start playing by ear and get reasonably good at it, why bother with learning to read?

It's a good question. But there is an opposite question that should be asked, too. When you start reading music and get reasonably good at it, why bother with learning to play by ear? Of those who start playing by ear using Suzuki method I think the majority learn to read music fluently later as well. And I'm sure they benefit from their early skill of playing by ear greatly. OTOH, what percentage of those who learn to read music firstly do learn to play decently by ear later? I guess the percentage is very small and it's a great drawback for them, because not only the memorization relies on that skill, but also improvisation and composition.

I wouldn't discard the Suzuki method. I think the principle behind it is basically right. I wish I had had a chance to learn to play by ear at an early age before learning to read music, because I had many difficulties learning to play by ear later.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by bennevis
Personally, I think the Suzuki as it's applied to a percussion instrument is like assuming that what's delicious for one species (like Hershey's/Cadbury's/Lindt depending on your country and taste buds wink ) is also good for another, like dogs. Every dog owner knows - or should know - that isn't so.

Suzuki was devised for unpitched string instruments, principally the violin. You can get tiny violins suitable for small children, and they learn to listen and play in pitch with Suzuki, in group settings. That doesn't translate to piano, not in the least. Pitch is predetermined. Either you play the right note or you don't, and there's no 'almost there'.

When playing by ear on the piano a student can be 'not there', too, by a semitone or a tone.

That's right.

"Not there" = wrong note = wrong. Full stop. On the piano.


Quote
Originally Posted by bennevis
It's impossible to get several pianists to play exactly together, and the asynchronization sounds awful, unlike with violins.

In fact there is no need to play notes simultaneously. A student can play with a little delay and it would sound nicely like a canon.

This is a canon:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZPqYuKwiag

Does it sound anything like asynchronization?

(Hint: Note the predetermined "delay".)



Quote

Originally Posted by bennevis
And as everyone knows, when you start playing by ear and get reasonably good at it, why bother with learning to read?

It's a good question. But there is an opposite question that should be asked, too. When you start reading music and get reasonably good at it, why bother with learning to play by ear?

With classical music, you don't ever have to learn to play by ear. You can be a top virtuoso without doing it, ever.

With pop/folk/rock/rap music, you don't ever have to learn to read music. Ever. You can be a top pop without being able to read music.

As per my advice to the OP.


Quote
Of those who start playing by ear using Suzuki method I think the majority learn to read music fluently later as well.

Are you sure about that, for piano?

Have a read in the Piano Teachers Forum......


Quote
And I'm sure they benefit from their early skill of playing by ear greatly. OTOH, what percentage of those who learn to read music firstly do learn to play decently by ear later? I guess the percentage is very small and it's a great drawback for them, because not only the memorization relies on that skill, but also improvisation and composition.

I wouldn't discard the Suzuki method. I think the principle behind it is basically right. I wish I had had a chance to learn to play by ear at an early age before learning to read music, because I had many difficulties learning to play by ear later.


Did you know your basic harmony and theory?

I was able to play by ear - very well - after I'd developed decent aural skills and learnt the topography of the keyboard and knew which note corresponded to what I wanted to play, once I'd established the key. By then, I was reading music well too, and knew some basic harmony. As a student, I often wrote down hymns that I liked after hearing (and singing) them in school assemblies, and then playing them later on the piano. I had no money to buy the hymn book. Same if I wanted to play pop music. I had no money to buy piano arrangements, even if they had been available then.

Most classical pianists can play by ear to some extent, but as that's not what they need to do to play piano, they never bother to do it on a regular basis.

Play pop/rock/jazz by ear, and classical from the score - that's my recommendation, and has always been.


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Originally Posted by bennevis

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by bennevis
Personally, I think the Suzuki as it's applied to a percussion instrument is like assuming that what's delicious for one species (like Hershey's/Cadbury's/Lindt depending on your country and taste buds wink ) is also good for another, like dogs. Every dog owner knows - or should know - that isn't so.

Suzuki was devised for unpitched string instruments, principally the violin. You can get tiny violins suitable for small children, and they learn to listen and play in pitch with Suzuki, in group settings. That doesn't translate to piano, not in the least. Pitch is predetermined. Either you play the right note or you don't, and there's no 'almost there'.

When playing by ear on the piano a student can be 'not there', too, by a semitone or a tone.

That's right.

"Not there" = wrong note = wrong. Full stop. On the piano.

It's the same on the violin. There is no difference between 'not there' and 'almost there', it's wrong anyway. If a violin student understands that he is 'not there' or 'almost there' he corrects the sound by moving his hand. The same thing happens when a piano student understands that he is 'not there' or 'almost there', he just plays another key. The degree of mistake may vary but the principle of learning is exactly the same. Listen, play, correct the pitch if required. So I don't see why it doesn't translate to piano. In my opinion it translates very well.

Originally Posted by bennevis

Quote
Originally Posted by bennevis
It's impossible to get several pianists to play exactly together, and the asynchronization sounds awful, unlike with violins.

In fact there is no need to play notes simultaneously. A student can play with a little delay and it would sound nicely like a canon.

This is a canon:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZPqYuKwiag

Does it sound anything like asynchronization?

(Hint: Note the predetermined "delay".)

You probably didn't understand what I'd said. There is no need for pianists to play notes simultaneously (unison) when learning to play by ear. Why would they need it? When learning to play by ear a student plays every note after the teacher/parent/recording with some delay, and the result sounds nicely like a sort of a canon or echo.

Originally Posted by bennevis
With classical music, you don't ever have to learn to play by ear. You can be a top virtuoso without doing it, ever.

Ok, I don't agree but I understand your position.

Originally Posted by bennevis

Quote
Of those who start playing by ear using Suzuki method I think the majority learn to read music fluently later as well.

Are you sure about that, for piano?

Have a read in the Piano Teachers Forum......

I see that reading music is a part of Suzuki's syllabus. I don't remember such messages in teachers' forum, but if some teacher skips that part, I think it's not a Suzuki's fault. On the other hand, as far as I know, playing by ear is not a part of most classical syllabuses. And I think it's a drawback.

Originally Posted by bennevis
I was able to play by ear - very well - after I'd developed decent aural skills and learnt the topography of the keyboard and knew which note corresponded to what I wanted to play, once I'd established the key. By then, I was reading music well too, and knew some basic harmony.

I see, this is my way as well. But having observed the musical development of several natural players-by-ear I conclude that earliest development of that skill can be easier and greatly more beneficial for forementioned reasons.
So if someone is considering Suzuki's method for a little child, I think it's a good way to go.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

It's the same on the violin. There is no difference between 'not there' and 'almost there', it's wrong anyway. If a violin student understands that he is 'not there' or 'almost there' he corrects the sound by moving his hand. The same thing happens when a piano student understands that he is 'not there' or 'almost there', he just plays another key. The degree of mistake may vary but the principle of learning is exactly the same. Listen, play, correct the pitch if required. So I don't see why it doesn't translate to piano. In my opinion it translates very well.

No, it's nothing like the same.

The violin student learns to play in tune as well as play the right notes. He also learns that thirds and fifths etc aren't tuned quite the same as on pianos. He learns to make minute changes to correct the pitch 'on the fly'. (Some string players make a virtue of using portamenti as an expressive device, approaching high notes from below pitch etc). He learns to tune his own instrument.

The piano student just learns to play the right notes.

Have you ever tried to play a fretless string instrument?



Quote
You probably didn't understand what I'd said. There is no need for pianists to play notes simultaneously (unison) when learning to play by ear. Why would they need it? When learning to play by ear a student plays every note after the teacher/parent/recording with some delay, and the result sounds nicely like a sort of a canon or echo.

So, you're talking about teaching by rote?

Spend a little time in the Piano Teachers Forum to see what all the teachers think about that.

Quote
On the other hand, as far as I know, playing by ear is not a part of most classical syllabuses. And I think it's a drawback.

Playing by ear isn't by itself, but aural skills is part of all the major piano syllabi - ABRSM/Trinity, RCM, AMEB etc. Without aural skills, you can't play by ear.

As I said earlier, to play by ear on the piano, you have to know the topography of the keyboard, know your intervals (aural skills etc) and know some basic harmony. Otherwise you'd just be trying every key and chord to see what 'fits'.

On the violin, it's all down to aural skills. Playing by ear on the violin is a far more straightforward way to learn.


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Originally Posted by bennevis

Quote
You probably didn't understand what I'd said. There is no need for pianists to play notes simultaneously (unison) when learning to play by ear. Why would they need it? When learning to play by ear a student plays every note after the teacher/parent/recording with some delay, and the result sounds nicely like a sort of a canon or echo.

So, you're talking about teaching by rote?

Spend a little time in the Piano Teachers Forum to see what all the teachers think about that.

I'm certainly talking about teaching by rote. The initial stage of Suzuki method is all based on teaching by rote. Haven't you read about Suzuki method before discussing it? The main idea of Dr. Suzuki is that a little child can learn to play music just as he learns to speak his mother tongue, i.e. by listening and imitating what others say. According to Dr. Suzuki, and I tend to think that it's true, his approach gives many advantages, because
1. A child not being constrained to simple pieces develops technique and finger dexterity much faster than those who struggle with simple pieces while learning to read music. Now we can see the power of this approach all over the Internet, like here.
2. A child develops aural skills much faster because playing by ear is the best way to develop them.
3. A child develops musical memory much faster because he needs to remember everything not being able to read the music.

The combination, or perhaps even the synergy of these factors is meant to give student a great boost in his musical development.

Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

It's the same on the violin. There is no difference between 'not there' and 'almost there', it's wrong anyway. If a violin student understands that he is 'not there' or 'almost there' he corrects the sound by moving his hand. The same thing happens when a piano student understands that he is 'not there' or 'almost there', he just plays another key. The degree of mistake may vary but the principle of learning is exactly the same. Listen, play, correct the pitch if required. So I don't see why it doesn't translate to piano. In my opinion it translates very well.

No, it's nothing like the same.

The violin student learns to play in tune as well as play the right notes. He also learns that thirds and fifths etc aren't tuned quite the same as on pianos. He learns to make minute changes to correct the pitch 'on the fly'. (Some string players make a virtue of using portamenti as an expressive device, approaching high notes from below pitch etc). He learns to tune his own instrument.

The piano student just learns to play the right notes.

Have you ever tried to play a fretless string instrument?

Yes. But I still don't understand your point. A student is supposed to play by ear after his teacher or after CD recording. What is the difference if he is playing on violin or on the piano or on the flute? The principle of training is the same.

Originally Posted by bennevis

Quote
On the other hand, as far as I know, playing by ear is not a part of most classical syllabuses. And I think it's a drawback.

Playing by ear isn't by itself, but aural skills is part of all the major piano syllabi - ABRSM/Trinity, RCM, AMEB etc. Without aural skills, you can't play by ear.

As I said earlier, to play by ear on the piano, you have to know the topography of the keyboard, know your intervals (aural skills etc) and know some basic harmony. Otherwise you'd just be trying every key and chord to see what 'fits'.

I met people who can play piano by ear not even knowing the names of the notes, not to mention harmony. The idea of Dr. Suzuki is that at an early age everyone can learn to do it, too.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

I'm certainly talking about teaching by rote. The initial stage of Suzuki method is all based on teaching by rote. Haven't you read about Suzuki method before discussing it? The main idea of Dr. Suzuki is that a little child can learn to play music just as he learns to speak his mother tongue, i.e. by listening and imitating what others say. According to Dr. Suzuki, and I tend to think that it's true, his approach gives many advantages, because
1. A child not being constrained to simple pieces develops technique and finger dexterity much faster than those who struggle with simple pieces while learning to read music. Now we can see the power of this approach all over the Internet, like here.
2. A child develops aural skills much faster because playing by ear is the best way to develop them.
3. A child develops musical memory much faster because he needs to remember everything not being able to read the music.

The combination, or perhaps even the synergy of these factors is meant to give student a great boost in his musical development.

This is a piano forum, and I'm talking about piano. So......really??

How many concert pianists past, present and future were taught by the Suzuki method? How many of the great Russian pianists that everyone turn to when wanting to hear the best interpretations of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev et al were taught in that manner? (Tell me one)

Actually, how many great violinists were taught this way?

BTW, if you can't understand the difference between teaching by rote on the piano (where listening is secondary to watching) and teaching by ear on the violin (where watching is secondary to listening), you haven't understood what I'm talking about. You haven't understood the difference between an unpitched string and a fixed-pitch percussion instrument.

Suzuki works - to an extent - on the violin, because of all the things that Suzuki thought were important: listening to others as well as to oneself when playing, and therefore playing in unison in groups was part of the deal.

I've already explained - more than once - why that doesn't work well with piano. All you're left with is "monkey see, monkey do". The student just copies exactly what the teacher shows him.

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I met people who can play piano by ear not even knowing the names of the notes, not to mention harmony. The idea of Dr. Suzuki is that at an early age everyone can learn to do it, too.

Suzuki was talking about the violin:

The Suzuki Method was conceived in the mid-20th century by Suzuki, a Japanese violinist who desired to bring beauty to the lives of children in his country after the devastation of World War II. As a skilled violinist but a beginner at the German language who struggled to learn it, Suzuki noticed that children pick up their native language quickly, and even dialects adults consider "difficult" to learn are spoken with ease by children at age five or six. He reasoned that if children have the skill to acquire their native language, they have the necessary ability to become proficient on a musical instrument.

He pioneered the idea that preschool age children could learn to play the violin if the learning steps were small enough and the instrument was scaled down to fit their body. He modeled his method, which he called "Talent Education" (才能教育 sainō kyōiku), after his theories of natural language acquisition. Suzuki believed that every child, if properly taught, was capable of a high level of musical achievement. He also made it clear that the goal of such musical education was to raise generations of children with "noble hearts" (as opposed to creating famous musical prodigies).


He played no part in devising the piano method, in which essential parts of his central tenets were completely discarded. Read up about them.

I meet and chat to people who play only by ear very often (read my previous posts). And famous pop singers boast about never being able to read music too. Jazz pianists too.

What does a child do when given a toy keyboard? He plays by ear - maybe trying to play nursery tunes he has heard with one finger. Eventually, if he's musical, he'll find combinations of notes that sounds nice. How far will that get him? Well, that depends on what he wants to play.

As I've said countless times, if you aren't interested in classical music, you don't need to learn to read music, and just play by ear.

I've mentioned my jazzer friend before - he's been playing piano from the same age as me, is entirely self-taught and cannot read music. He makes good money playing light jazz and pop with his small band (for parties, weddings, functions etc), all of whom also play entirely by ear.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
This is a piano forum, and I'm talking about piano. So......really??

How many concert pianists past, present and future were taught by the Suzuki method? How many of the great Russian pianists that everyone turn to when wanting to hear the best interpretations of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev et al were taught in that manner? (Tell me one)

The Suzuki method was almost totally unknown in Soviet Union and Russia until lately, so there is no sense in discussing it. I also have no statistics about other countries. But because you ask about the future too, I can say that I believe in the future this method will be more widespread and will grow up many good pianists thanks to its advantages. I would also like to draw attention to the fact that many great musicians, forementioned Rachmaninov and Prokofiev included, had the natural ability to play music by ear, so the idea that stands behind the Suzuki method, the idea to develop that ability at an early age is well grounded.

Originally Posted by bennevis
BTW, if you can't understand the difference between teaching by rote on the piano (where listening is secondary to watching) and teaching by ear on the violin (where watching is secondary to listening), you haven't understood what I'm talking about. You haven't understood the difference between an unpitched string and a fixed-pitch percussion instrument.

No, you mix different things, we were talking about playing by ear, these were my words: 'A student is supposed to play by ear after his teacher or after CD recording. What is the difference if he is playing on violin or on the piano or on the flute? The principle of training is the same.'

Originally Posted by bennevis
He played no part in devising the piano method, in which essential parts of his central tenets were completely discarded. Read up about them.

I read, but I was unable to find out how his central tenets were discarded. What he proposed for a violin seems to be successfully implemented in piano practice. That is acquisition of musical language by listening and repeating by ear after teacher. That's his core idea.

Originally Posted by bennevis
Suzuki works - to an extent - on the violin, because of all the things that Suzuki thought were important: listening to others as well as to oneself when playing, and therefore playing in unison in groups was part of the deal.

As far as I know, Suzuki piano students play in ensemble as well as vilolin students. I don't know if they play unison or not, but that part of learning to listen to others when playing is there, no one discarded ensemble playing from piano practice.

Originally Posted by bennevis
What does a child do when given a toy keyboard? He plays by ear - maybe trying to play nursery tunes he has heard with one finger. Eventually, if he's musical, he'll find combinations of notes that sounds nice. How far will that get him? Well, that depends on what he wants to play.

That's how Mozart and Prokofiev and many other composers started to compose music. The ability to play well by ear brings a new degree of freedom and creativity at the instrument.

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

The Suzuki method was almost totally unknown in Soviet Union and Russia until lately, so there is no sense in discussing it. I also have no statistics about other countries. But because you ask about the future too, I can say that I believe in the future this method will be more widespread and will grow up many good pianists thanks to its advantages. I would also like to draw attention to the fact that many great musicians, forementioned Rachmaninov and Prokofiev included, had the natural ability to play music by ear, so the idea that stands behind the Suzuki method, the idea to develop that ability at an early age is well grounded.

The Suzuki method has been around for some 70 years.

It's a lot less used now than it was when its inventor was still alive. I used to hear frequent mention of Suzuki, and see videos of lots of little kids playing violins in unison in Suzuki music classes on TV when I was a kid, whenever children's music education was mentioned. These days, all I see is one teacher with one student, learning & playing from the music. What does that say about Suzuki's relevance and usefulness today?

BTW, there is (?was) a piano teacher in PW who taught Suzuki. She hasn't posted for a long time, possibly because of the flak she got from other teachers about her use of it. (And no, her students don't play piano in unison. She teaches one-to-one).

As you seem to be so interested in it (from total ignorance 48 hours ago), why don't you start a new thread in the Piano Teachers Forum about it, and get some first-hand experience from teachers who get transfer students from previous Suzuki teachers? We've derailed this thread long enough......


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That's how Mozart and Prokofiev and many other composers started to compose music. The ability to play well by ear brings a new degree of freedom and creativity at the instrument.

How do you think they developed that ability?

(No, don't answer here - answer in your new thread all about Suzuki)


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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