Suzuki vs Traditional method for older adult
I'm 65, taking Suzuki lessons. I've played music (accordion, some fiddling) since about 2000. 99.99% learned by ear. But not always with an emphasis to exactly copy the original player, but to do what I could and get a feel for the song and then do it my way.
I've had a life-long decrement in rote memorization. Been tested and that is documented. I am memorizing the Suzuki pieces, but it just seems slow. Could do one per week (not two), and Etude took a couple of weeks because I was sick and not playing. I can't just memorize as a long string of notes. My brain spazzes out. Doing one measure at a time is not how my brain works. It works better to memorize complete phrases, and search for some sort of structure within the pieces. And, the exact copying of a piece is not the way I've done it in the past.
I'm wondering if Suzuki is the best approach for me. I don't necessarily want to be tied to sheet music for stage work (fiddling). I also sound pretty bad, though I'm improving. Previously, playing cajun music, there were a lot of drones to keep me in tune. Not so with Suzuki (and other types of music too).
So, I do see progress, but I just sound awful tackling a new song, and not quite up to snuff before the teacher moves me on. That's not so bad, as I'm not wanting to keep much of the Suzuki stuff in my repertoire, and am more interested in building the skill set to apply to music that enthuses me.
Just looking for thoughts on this. I like the structure of Suzuki over past teachers saying "try this, ok, try that now, ok now try this" and I'm not sure where we're going or why.
Just wondering whether I should try something else. I might have to give up this particular teacher as my job in my current location is coming to an end next week and I don't know if I can find other work in this area.
I taught music (violin and cello in the late afternoons after my regular job) for over 40 years. I had students from age 5 to age 60. I used the Suzuki books for the last 30 of those 40 years because they provided a logically progressive path that I think is very good. I did not require memorization nor even encourage it.
She is not a "Suzuki teacher", but is familiar with the books and does teach from them. So, no recitals (as of yet anyway).
I would not teach an older adult in the Suzuki way (lots of listening and rote memorization) for exactly the same reason that an older adult dropped into a foreign language environment would not pick up the language in the way a child would. Adults need to study a new language in a way a child does not.
It’s not decline per se. but a life long problem. Plus some mild traumatic brain injury from a car accident. Not a huge decrement, but lower than normal. My music of choice to play is not classical (though I would if I could) but rock, blues, funk, Cajun, etc. Stuff my band could do. I do really need some technique though, and I was the one who picked the Suzuki method over the O’Connor books.
David, you wrote:
David wrote: "I do like the idea of playing in a community orchestra"..."I can't just memorize as a long string of notes"
I didn’t say I can’t or won’t learn to read. I am slowly. It’s just not the focus of Suzuki at the beginning.
The Suzuki Method is intended to start 3-4 year old children at a pace that matches their acquisition of their first language, by speech, then by symbols. It makes no sense to approach learning the violin the exact same way as an adult.
David, are you repeatedly listening to the songs, or just attempting to play them to memorize them?
I don't memorize easily either. Never have. There's a lot of us non-memorizers out there who would like to enjoy the violin just the same. I see nothing wrong with it.
I posted a response and it disappeared.
I'll add that, I don't usually do well with weekly lessons. My brain needs a little more space to assimilate, and some down time. I'm seeing more and more teachers who want to see you every week. I'm trying, but, sometimes I need a rest.
David, I am not a fan of Suzuki. I tried learning cello around 2012 or 2013 with a leased cello. I was in my late 50’s. I told my instructor that I need to go slow. That I need to do a song over and over and cannot move on until I get the skill or technique that that song is trying to instill in me. I said she might find it boring, but to me it is necessary. She said that was no problem. Turns out that she did not follow that. We were moving along like it was a race. I was not capable of learning the current technique or skill before she moved on. I to her I was not in a hurry. Every week a new lesson. This was built on the weak ability to do the previous Suzuki lesson. What a complete waste of time and money. When my lease was up, I quit. Suzuki needs a trained Suzuki teacher, from what I am told. Also, I think adult learners need teachers trained in adult students. We do not learn the way a child does.
Learning to read music is not that hard for an adult. It just takes a bit of time and determination. It won't stop you from memorizing things, it just frees you from having to memorize everything.
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