Is it legal to use Suzuki materials?

August 6, 2017, 9:02 PM · I teach a personalized method but I like to use Suzuki materials and pedagogy I inherited by reading his books. I'm going to be starting an early ages violin class in a month, and I'm wondering if it is alright to use the Suzuki books in class. I am not, and have no intention of getting certified (I learned Suzuki first hand and have my qualms with the certification system and consequential monopolization). Could I get sued if I use the materials, even if I pay for them? I've been doing my research but I've been getting various answers, and I trust the level of knowledge I have seen exhibited on this website. Please and thanks!

Replies (16)

August 6, 2017, 9:08 PM · You don't have to be a Certifived Suzuki teacher to teach from Suzuki materials, just as they don't have to be Bach, Mozart and whatsoever certifived to include that material in the books.
August 6, 2017, 9:10 PM · Yes. The books are for sale to the public - you can use them anyway you want as long as you do not violate applicable copyright laws.Copyrights on the actual music in the books expired decades and centuries ago.

Many teachers, not certified as Suzuki teachers teach from these books; I did for over 30 years.

August 6, 2017, 10:21 PM · There is no such thing as a "certified" Suzuki teacher, only teachers who have registered their training.

You can use their materials -- many non-Suzuki teachers do, after all -- as long as you are not violating copyright by making copies for your students. If you teach from the Suzuki materials, each of your students should buy their own copy of the relevant book.

Edited: August 7, 2017, 12:16 AM · It may be illegal to advertise oneself as a a "Suzuki teacher" without certification/registration, as opposed to someone who simply uses the materials. Suzuki Method is a trademark registered by Warner.

Registered Suzuki teaching is a lot more than just using the books.

August 7, 2017, 5:02 AM · It would seem perfectly legitimate to me to indicate that your pedagogy is aligned with the philosophies of Shinichi Suzuki and that you use the corresponding method books in your teaching. But you can't call yourself a "Suzuki teacher" or claim to teach according to the "Suzuki Method" (especially) without the approval of the trademark holder.

I agree with Lydia that you should be very diligent about copyright. Don't encourage your students to photocopy things. Suzuki books are cheap and well-made.

Edited: August 7, 2017, 6:08 AM · If you couldn't use them without the training, they wouldn't be available for anyone to purchase, but only for Suzuki teachers through the Suzuki Association. Except for a handful of pieces in book one written by Suzuki himself, I've seen almost identical arrangements of much of the rest of the Suzuki rep. in other books.
It would be dishonest to advertise as a "Suzuki teacher" without taking the training (although this does't sound like what you are doing), but I'm pretty sure the Suzuki Association does not go after non-trained teachers claiming to be "Suzuki." You might have trouble if you start a "Suzuki" school without training, but individual teachers can pretty much get away with whatever.
I do have some Suzuki training and have never heard of any ban on using materials, although some in the Suzuki community feel you shouldn't (but that's just their personal opinion). Others think it is great that traditional teachers are benefitting from this resource, as their goal is to have more students playing the violin well, and the Suzuki repertoire is well sequenced to help teachers and students.
August 7, 2017, 6:41 AM · I believe the Suzuki association deliberately has no restrictions on who can call themselves a Suzuki teacher. And since they would like to sell more books, they are plenty happy to encourage everyone to use them, Suzuki-trained or not.
August 7, 2017, 6:47 AM · No, if you buy a Suzuki motorcycle. If you drive a Kawasaki, that is altogether a different issue.
August 7, 2017, 6:58 AM · It may be legal to use them for beginning classes, but that doesn't mean it's effective.
I'd start a class like this with All For Strings, which proceeds step-by-step with everything a child (and their parent) needs to know about music and playing the violin. Everything ix explained. And it has a classroom score.

I suppose the Suzuki books can supplement this, but you'd still have to teach them all the other stuff anyway.

Edited: August 7, 2017, 7:39 AM · Who would need to photocopy a Suzuki book when you can get much better editions ( sometimes Urtext ) of most of the pieces on IMSLP, most of which are public domain somewhere?
August 7, 2017, 2:44 PM · I agree with Scott, in terms of using a more slowly incremental and thoroughly-explained book series, rather than suzuki, to teach a class of brand-new beginners.

It will just save you the trouble of having to "reinvent the wheel" for every student in the class (because suzuki material tends to need to be explained more).

Lieschen, I don't think his students need the urtext edition of Twinkle or lightly row :) In all seriousness, unless we're talking about the very late Suzuki pieces, the fingerings/bowings in the Suzuki pieces are arranged in a particular way to allow linear development of technical skills, which I think is the main reason the books are used (besides just saving an instructor from having to print up songs every week).

August 7, 2017, 4:59 PM · Annnndddddd there we go...

From a straight-forward question about legality of using Suzuki materials, the thread degenerates into the usual anti-Suzuki posts.

Seriously, you don't need to jump on that bandwagon every single time there is the merest mention of the word Suzuki.

August 7, 2017, 5:20 PM · If it isn't just use them anyway.

Just beware of the Suzuki police. Sometimes they send fake students to spot the Suzuki pirates.

August 7, 2017, 5:51 PM · Demian,

You might wish to add an emoticon lest people take your joke seriously. Just sayin'.

August 7, 2017, 7:40 PM · "Suzuki? Suzuki? Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch..." - Madam Butterfly

And yes, :-D

August 13, 2017, 7:48 PM · Hi, James! It's perfectly legal to use the Suzuki repertoire even if you don't identify yourself as a Suzuki teacher. Here are two examples of very prominent teachers who use pieces from at least the first two volumes of the Suzuki repertoire: Kurt Sassmannshaus and Mimi Zweig. On their websites in the category of repertoire they use you'll see the Suzuki books 1 & 2 listed:
http://www.violinmasterclass.com/en/graded-repertoire/violin-and-piano

For Mimi Zweig's website you need to register (it's free) and then you can look at the rep list.
http://www.stringpedagogy.com

I highly recommend both of these resources. They're a treasure trove of useful videos and established methods of teaching.

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