Home > FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Useful Information for Parents
A: This method was developed in postwar Japan by the famous violin
pedagogue, Shinichi Suzuki. Also called the 'Talent Education'
method, it is based on the astonishingly simple idea that if a young
child can learn to speak a language, then surely he or she can learn
to play a musical instrument with the same level of mastery.
Essential elements of the Suzuki method are the same as what parents
everywhere spontaneously use in teaching their children to speak
their native language. They include repeated listening to the music
the child is to learn, mastery of skills through repetition and a
nurturing environment to learn in. Daily listening to the recording
is essential, whether it be in the car, on the MP3 player or in the
background like elevator music.
Q: What is the Saskatoon Suzuki String Program?
A: The Saskatoon Suzuki String Program is a not-for-profit
organization funded in part by the Saskatchewan Orchestral
Association. It currently consists of seven teachers trained in the
Suzuki Method. It has a program director and is run by an executive
of parent volunteers and teachers. Every student takes a weekly
private lesson from one of these teachers and a weekly group
activity. More experienced students who read music have the
opportunity to play in one of the three string orchestras in the
program. Group activities are held at Walter Murray Collegiate (map).
Q:What musical instruments are taught in the Saskatoon Suzuki String Program?
A:Violin, viola and cello.
Q: Do Suzuki students learn how to read music?
A: Absolutely! We generally introduce music reading after the
child has learned the basics of playing the instrument and when the
child is old enough to tackle reading. Pre-reading skills are often
introduced in group lessons.
Q: How much would I be involved in lessons and home practice as a parent?
A: At the private and group lessons, you would be taking notes at
the lesson and following through on those notes in daily home
practice with your child. In the first year, you would also be
learning the instrument along with your child. In the first few
years, you would be leading the daily practice sessions at home. You
would also be making sure that your child hears the recording on a
consistent basis. Although we can?t deny there will be ups and
downs, this can be a rewarding way to spend quality time with your
child. Your child will gradually become more independent in home
practice and at private lessons over the years.
Q: Do I need to have musical training as a parent?
A: Musical ability in the parent is not necessary. It is helpful,
however, if your household takes an active interest in music of
artistic merit. Classical music is the basis of the Suzuki
repertoire, and is enriching to anyone who listens to enough of it.
There is plenty of other good music, including jazz, folk and other
Q: What is a good starting age?
A: In our experience, four years old and up is a good starting age,
or occasionally a mature and motivated 3 year old. Any younger, and
we recommend a music and early childhood education program.
Q: How do I know if my child has any talent?
A: The beauty of the Suzuki Method is that talent can actually be
formed in a young child in the right nurturing environment. As
teachers we have witnessed this time and again as our students have
developed good musical ears. That is what Talent Education is all
Q: Is it too late to start my child?
A: It is rarely too late. The main difference is that talent
formation happens mostly at a younger age. If your lifestyle does not
lend itself to starting your child in music lessons at an early age,
we recommend listening to good music at home and attending child
friendly concerts until you are ready to start lessons.
Q: What do I need to get started?
A: Before you get started, you will need an instrument for your
child and one for yourself, especially if your child is younger than
7-8 years old. You will also need rosin. Cello students need armless
chairs or stools that are knee height. You will also need the Suzuki
Volume 1 book and recording for your instrument. Please do not
purchase instruments before consulting with your teacher and please
do not start learning on your own before the first lesson! You can
start listening to the recording right away.