A thread was begun here on Suzuki violin, and over time has morphed into a discussion of the pros and cons thereof: http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?ID=26216
That thread is now at its maximum responses, so I'm starting a follow-up thread.
I'll start with a response to Linda Goulder (whose post I've replicated below so that this thread has context).
I don't have overwhelming feelings about Suzuki vs. non-Suzuki methods. I do think that the teacher, and potentially the overall music program, matters far more than whatever particular methodology that they use.
Linda, you seem to be vastly confused about the difference between undergraduate programs in music, where violinists are already expected to be years and years beyond what any method out there covers, and the methods used to teach brand-spanking-new beginners.
I would also draw a major distinction between, say, the Russian and Chinese music academies that put young children in full-time music-immersion environments, and the kind of approach that you find in the United States (or most of the rest of the world, I believe), where with the exception of prodigies who are concertizing as pre-teens, even very serious study of music is still considered to be one activity in an otherwise well-balanced well-rounded life.
I cannot think of a pre-college program in the United States that teaches a comprehensive understanding of theory and analysis. Basic theory, maybe even basic part-writing, yes. But in-depth formal analysis is normally part of the undergraduate music curriculum, at least in the US. It may be different outside the US.
(FYI, a significant percentage of this board's readers are well aware of what is involved in a music major, since a goodly chunk of us are formally educated in music at the post-secondary level.)
Linda Goulder wrote (copied verbatim from the other thread):
Lydia in response to your November 10,2014 post:
I can understand your overwhelming feelings, given your background including method of study in reference to how you see the entry level requirement of formal violin studies for both beginning level adults as well as children as being unbelievable. I will provide an example of a child prodigy which will provide a better understanding of why the entry level requirements for formal music studies for both child and adult beginners are so intensive, complexed and advanced both for primary education levels and formal post-secondary education levels.
This example involves a Russian born child prodigy who from a very early age, prior to the four year age range was immersed in music skill building sets. This young prodigy's father-a musician performing with a local Russian Philharmonic Orchestra as well as mother- a chorale director who conducted a five hundred voice children's choir, helped this three to four year old prodigy develop an in depth, comprehensive understanding of skill sets such as theory, ear training, site reading, site singing and composition.
At four years of age, this child prodigy began formal studies with a Russian violinist who taught the Russian Method of violin. By Age five this prodigy made their first public debut. At age seven this prodigy, performed Mendelsohn's Concerto.
Upon their tenth year this prodigy won the junior division of the prestigious International Karol Lipinski and Henryk Wieniaswki Competition in Poland. After winning this competition, this prodigy continued to perform regularly in public.
At age 15, this prodigy won the International Carl Flesch Violin Competition. By age 16, this prodigy was teaching a master class at the University of California.
This same prodigy went on to become a world wide sensation and virtuoso who was born to play the violin, renound Russian Violinist/Conductor and Mundelein Professor Maxim Vengerov.
Most two year colleges require freshman level theory courses, aural training and site reading course as well as practical music applications courses such as piano, orchestra performance, and vocal performance.
Most of the Two year colleges, I've attended all possess very competitive music programs which offer extensive studies in order to produce the best musicians possible.Even a two year college often sets the bar quite high and can refuse entrance to any prospective music major into their program of study if there isn't a comprehensive understanding of theory, ear training, site reading and composition .
Music Majors like myself, aren't normally required to take a suggested fluff courses known as music appreciation which is mainly only taken by non music majors. Because the majority of these Music Majors matriculating into these music programs already have a very comprehensive, in depth, understanding of theory, site reading, ear training, analysis and performance skill sets.
This transfers over to the four year institutions whose music programs have even higher expectations for Music Majors applying to these programs. The requirements for audition and entrance into these programs requires a very complexed and comprehensive knowledge of both technical and musical aptitude. The competition is fierce for entrance into these programs and applicants can be denied if the technical as well as musical aptitude isn't there.
Many of these four year music programs are designed to teach their prospective Music Majors, many whom not only pursue Bachelor's degrees but also Masters, Doctoral as well as PH D's too not only learn performance but chorale conducting, Orchestra Conducting and composing, which is why the bar is set even higher at a four year university.
As a music major who has matriculated both into two year as well as four year institutions offering extremely competitive music programs, I can honestly say I've never had a problem being accepting into any of these programs that I applied too.
It is true that transposing by ear and practical application needs to be practiced. Transposing by ear by itself does have it's drawbacks, it is both practical application of applied theory practices as well as transposition by ear which allows for better accuracy and consistency.
The conductor wishes to transpose down two octaves, and make the necessary adjustments to the key signatures, time signatures as well as adjusting the intervals by applying the proper diminishments, augmentations and naturals where needed, in order to create a richer more consistent flow throughout the composition.
The problem with learning to transpose by ear alone is it can create a chaotic, fractured, division which is often unnoticeable to the musician, but very noticeable to other musicians within the orchestra as well as the Conductor including audience members.
By applying both transposition by ear as well as transposition theory analysis the result is much better and more consistent.
While reading clefs are part of the transposition process, dynamics, key signatures, time signatures, accidentals, placement, tempo, divici's, voice, cords, hybrid cords, poly cords, articulation and ornamentation are all crucial in the transposition process.
As I have stated before in previous posts; I have always been supportive of the benefits of learning Suzuki for students who just want to experience learning an instrument in a fun environment, where stress isn't a factor, while learning some basic notation, learning where rote is emphasized and just having fun doing so.
It boils down to this, learning a style of violin which you are most comfortable with and happiest pursuing is always the best avenue to pursue.
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