Suzuki violin pedagogy imparts technical skills needed to play the violin in a way that has similarities with the approach used in traditional Asian martial arts. There is meticulous attention to form, detail, and movement. Suzuki formulated a highly original violin technique that is radical and remarkably efficient. He has disseminated these ideas to teachers and students in the form of “teaching points” – specific descriptions, each dealing with a single aspect of technique and recommended exercises for its mastery. In the process of renovating violin study, Suzuki dramatically improved the way the violin is technically mastered.
Traditional violin pedagogy is far from standardized in its approach to violin technique. Some traditional teachers focus on “musical” aspects of playing and are vague or not concerned with form, position, and movement. Others teach laborious, elaborate, and inefficient ways of playing, using standard scales and the traditional etudes. On the whole, technical training in traditional violin pedagogy has been a clumsy affair. Many students with the potential to become fine violinists have been discouraged by the “trial by ordeal” nature of technical study taught in the traditional way.
Kids and violins on the surface do not sound like a good mix, but the violin is actually a practical instrument with several benefits for even very young children. The violin is preferable to other instruments for kids for several reasons:
Portability: The violin is one of the most portable instruments around, being small and compact and needing no amplifiers, microphones or attachments. A violin can be carried in a small case by even a very young child. Try that with a guitar or a piano.
Sizing: The violin comes in several different sizes, with very small sizes to fit the youngest students. This is an instrument that can be replaced as kids grow, instead of a one-size-fits-all instrument that a child might have a hard time handling.
Sound volume: As strange as it sounds, the screeching noise of a kid learning the violin is actually not that bad. It is quieter than drums and other large instruments, and it is less annoying than the flute.
Cost: The high cost of some instruments make them serious investments, and may make parents nervous about letting kids learn on them. Even a small piano is quite costly, as are cellos, tubas, saxophones, etc. A violin is much less expensive than most other instruments.
Music reading: If the main goal of music lessons is to teach your child to read music, a violin is ideal. Violins have only four strings, making them easier to learn than a guitar. The few notes, once learned, teach the child the basics of reading notes and music symbols that later be applied to other instruments.
Responsibility: The small size of the violin means that a child can be responsible for it. Even a child in the early elementary years should be able to take care of the violin, put it away, and retrieve it for lessons. This is a lesson in responsibility that would not occur if the instrument was larger and had to be handled and taken care of by adults. The violin is kind of like a goldfish that can not die if the child does not feed it.
Versatility: The sound of a violin can go from the lilting sounds of classical music to the weird screeching of the fiddle. This allows the child an opportunity for self expression through music.