(For comparison of Suzuki and traditional approaches, please see bottom of page.)
We offer Suzuki instruction in violin, viola, cello, piano, flute and guitar, for students age 3 and up. We have several registered Suzuki teachers, offering Suzuki violin/viola instruction up to Book 8, Suzuki piano instruction up to book 4, Suzuki guitar up to book 3, and Suzuki cello and flute instruction up to book 2.
The Suzuki program consists of weekly Suzuki private lessons (on-site or via Zoom), plus Suzuki supplemental group class for your instrument. Group class adds musical and social reinforcement to enhance your child's learning, counts as a day of practice done for you - and is fun!
Private lessons: 20 mins (age 3 - 4 only, with certain teachers) - $41 30 mins - $54.50
(For longer lessons for older/more advanced students: see here.)
Day and time: by arrangement, either on-site at our facility or on-screen via our dedicated Zoom platform.
Supplemental group class for private lesson students (violin/viola/cello/guitar/flute):
15 group classes per semester, plus group class play-in and/or performance, and parent support event. Group classes start late September.
Supplemental group class times for Private Lesson students, fall 2023
Bowed strings (at WSM): Tuesday 5:05 - 5:50
Guitar (at WSM:) Thursday 5:05 - 5:50
Piano (at WSM): Monday 5:05 - 5:50
Mixed strings (at First Parish, Wayland): Saturdays 1:30 - 2:15
Suzuki program fee: $320 per semester
Includes 15-session group class, parent education and event, group performance and more
(Must also be taking private lessons in your instrument. If these are with a non-WSM teacher, we need that teacher's written permission for you to join class.)
Students of non-WSM teachers may join our group classes with written permission from their teacher.
For Suzuki violin and guitar, we also offer a pre-Suzuki-program "taster" option for certain ages, depending on availability:
Through Wayland Recreation, we offer Small Group Intro to Violin and Small Group Intro to Guitar, a one-semester group class. This is a general introduction to each instrument based on Suzuki philosophy and methodology (see below).
New groups begin each semester, and families may choose to take this class before adding private lessons.
Wayland Rec class details and link to registration are here.
Spring 2024 Wayland Rec pre-Suzuki schedule:
Small Group Intro to Guitar, age 6-7
Thursdays @ 4:10, 15 weeks, starting 2/1
Suzuki Education and Philosophy
More than fifty years ago Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki, observing that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease, began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music. He called his method the mother-tongue approach. The ideas of parent involvement, loving encouragement and constant repetition are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach:
Just as parents are naturally involved in their children’s acquisition of language, with the Suzuki method parents are involved in the musical learning of their child. They attend lessons with the child and serve as “home teachers” during the week. Sometimes the parent learns to play before the child, so that s/he understands better what the child is learning to do.
But no prior musical experience is required of the parent - the teacher will help both parent and child. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.
The early years are the time of explosive development in mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to music may begin at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four, but it is never too late to begin.
Children learn words by hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. In the same way, listening to music every day is key, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so that the child absorbs them before ever playing them – just as s/he does with nursery rhymes or advertising jingles!
Repetition is a key factor in learning of any kind, including learning an instrument. Children do not learn new words or pieces of music and then discard them. Instead, they add them to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using them in new and more sophisticated ways.
Developmentally appropriate curriculum
The Suzuki method is developmentally targeted to young children. Children build strong foundational skills through creative and playful activities alternating between exercises, movement, and song (video here and here). Teacher, child and parent work together - no prior experience is needed, as parents learn right along with their child in class and partner with them at home. As the children grow they build on this foundation, transitioning gradually and naturally to increasing mastery and independence in their learning.
What is the difference between Suzuki lessons and traditional private lessons?
At Wayland School of Music we do not believe that one approach is “better” than the other. Above all, the most important factor in your child’s learning is an expert, experienced and enthusiastic teacher who really knows how to connect with children and is a good personal “fit” for your child.
(Note - a Suzuki method tryout will be in a private lesson format, but serves as a taste of the same methodology used in both private Suzuki lessons and Intro group classes. The teacher will help you decide on the best choice for you.)
Generally start at age 5 or 6 and up.
Can start as young as 3 or 4.
Music reading is usually taught from the beginning stages.
Music is initially learned by ear through repeated listening to recordings; music reading is not added until the child is fluent in the language of music (just as with oral language acquisition), and has developed basic technical proficiency.
Parents may attend lessons (and are often encouraged to do so) but are not required to attend.
Parents are an integral part of the teacher/child/parent “Suzuki triangle”, learn along with their child, and partner with the child at home (no previous experience is required, however!).
Parents may help their children practice (and are often encouraged to do so) but are not required to.
Parents are their child's practice partner at home throughout the early years of lessons.
Lessons are always individual, and the opportunity to play with other children depends on teacher and music school.
In the early stages lessons are either individual or in small groups of two or three, with each child receiving individual attention while others observe; a group class is also an integral part of the curriculum.
Teachers choose their own curriculum and materials based on personal preference and approach, which may vary widely. Training and experience may also vary (and should always be thoroughly investigated).
Teachers follow a standardized curriculum with standardized materials; they have undergone intensive training specific to the Suzuki method, and are registered as having completed that training.
NB Be wary of teachers who claim to be "Suzuki based" or "modified Suzuki" unless they also show proof of Suzuki training: merely "using the books" does not make someone a Suzuki teacher. Registered Suzuki teachers have completed 30 hours of intensive training plus 15 hours of observation to teach the first Suzuki book, and add 15 hours training/7 hours observation for each subsequent book.