Suzuki Guitar Information


What are some of the benefits of Suzuki Education?
What is the Suzuki Program like?
What is the Parent Education course like?
What kind of music will my child be learning?
What is the difference between Suzuki and traditional lessons?
Why is parental involvement required?
Where can I purchase a guitar for my child?
How old does my child have to be to take Suzuki lessons?
How do I know if I should come in for the free interview?
When and where are the lessons and group classes?
Estimated Costs
Important Dates – Fall 2017 / Spring 2018



From the SAA website:

"More than forty years ago, Shinichi Suzuki realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother-tongue approach. The ideas of parent responsibility, loving encouragement, constant repetition, etc., are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach."

My goal for the students is to instill in them an appreciation for music and the self-esteem to realize that they can achieve their goals (music or otherwise) if they work diligently and properly.  The goal is not professional musicianship.  Suzuki study is more than music lessons, it is life lessons.


What are some of the benefits of Suzuki Education?


As a result of studying an instrument by the Suzuki method, students will:


1.  Learn to equate success with hard work and perseverance.

2.  Improve their sense of self esteem.

3.  Gain an appreciation for classical music.

4.  Improve listening and concentration skills.

5.  Interact with peers in a positive environment.

6.  Interact with their parents in a positive manner.



Many studies have shown the positive effect that learning a musical instrument can have on a developing brain.   The results from one such study are included below:

Source: Music With The Brain In Mind by Eric Jensen, Corwin Press, 2000, p.64


What is the Suzuki Program like?


After parents complete the required Parent Education course (see below), students come twice a week:  once to the individual lesson and once to group class.  A parent (preferably the same one) is required to attend and observe all lessons and group classes with his/her child, and to actively direct the child’s practice at home.  Uninterrupted daily practice between parent and child is essential, and parents are encouraged to strive for 4 minutes of practice for each year of the child's age (e.g. - 20 minutes per day for a 5-year-old child).


Unalterable Parental Commitments (courtesy of Frank Longay)

1.  Practice Daily

2.  Listen Daily

3.  Continually Strive for Beautiful Tone

4.  Continually Strive for Technical Excellence

5.  Maintain Review

6.  Regularly Attend Group Classes

7.  Be On Time

8.  Create a Positive and Nurturing Environment


What is the Parent Education course like?


The Parent Education Course takes the place of the child's first four group classes and a number of individual lessons.  In the group classes, we discuss the parental commitment and Suzuki philosophy (including strategies for getting your child to practice).  In the individual lessons, the parent learns the material up to and including the first Twinkle variation and theme.  The parent takes individual lessons in place of the child until he/she can play the two pieces to the instructor’s satisfaction.  An adult with no experience who practices a half-hour every day will probably be finished with the playing part of the course in about six lessons. 


Required Materials for Parent Education

1.  Nurtured by Love - Shinichi Suzuki

2.  Ability Development from Age Zero - Shinichi Suzuki

3.  Helping Parents Practice - Edmund Sprunger

4.  Suzuki Guitar Book and CD, Volume 1


I highly recommend buying these materials before the parent education class.  I usually have a few extra copies on hand and can generally provide them to you following your child's initial interview.  High Strung Stringed Instruments usually has a few copies of Nurtured by Love and Ability Development from Age Zero, as well as the Guitar book and CD.  For the Sprunger book I would go to Amazon or Shar Music.



What is the difference between Suzuki and traditional lessons?

The two primary differences between Suzuki and traditional lessons involve repertoire and parental involvement.

The Suzuki Method is geared towards classical music.  The repertoire is carefully selected to gradually introduce the student to new challenges.  In traditional lessons, the student is largely responsible for choice of repertoire, which hopefully will help to cultivate the student's interest.  In each case I feel that listening to the repertoire being learned is vital to the success of the student. Suzuki students do learn to read music, but reading is delayed for a few years to enable the student to focus on proper technique, tone, and musicianship.

Unlike in Suzuki lessons, parents are not required to practice with their children for traditional lessons.

Choosing a quality guitar is vital to the success of all students.


What kind of music will my child be learning?


Your child will be learning classical guitar.  The pieces in the Suzuki repertoire have been carefully selected to slowly introduce to concepts and challenges to the student.  If you are unfamiliar with classical guitar, I recommend listening to the following:


Suggested Listening

Christopher Parkening - Simple Gifts

Pepe Romero - Concierto de Aranjuez (Rodrigo)

Julian Bream - Plays the Music of Spain

John Williams - The Guitar is the Song

Anything by Andres Segovia


If you do not enjoy any of the recordings above, it will likely be difficult for you to regularly play the Suzuki CDs for your child.  In this case, Suzuki Guitar may not be the best fit for you.  I recommend the Suzuki method for any instrument.


Why is parental involvement required?


Parental involvement is the cornerstone of the Suzuki Method! Just like your child wouldn't have learned to speak without you, s/he will not learn to properly play a musical instrument without you. Learning a musical instrument requires hours of detailed work which most children (and most adults!) find tedious at times. Young children need the parent both to keep an eye on the many points of hand and body position as well as to make it fun! Suzuki without the parent is not Suzuki.


Where can I purchase a guitar for my child?


After you have completed the Parent Education course, I will provide guitar for your child.  Good instruments are responsive and provide immediate aural feedback if played with good positioning and good nail tone. This teaches the student to have responsibility to play with both.

I have high quality, child-sized guitars available for rent for $25/month with a $200 deposit. These guitars are available to purchase from me, and a portion of the rent is applied to the purchase of the instrument if and when a parent chooses to do so. I will buy the guitar back once the student outgrows it, provided it is in good condition.


How old does my child have to be to take Suzuki lessons?


I accept Suzuki students as young as 3 years of age.  There is no upper age limit.


How do I know if I should come in for the free interview?


If you think there is a possibility of meeting the time commitment required of the parents to be in my Suzuki program, please call or email me to request a free interview.   In the interview, I spend about 10 minutes working with your child to assess whether or not s/he is ready for Suzuki lessons.   If so, I will give you the first homework assignment.   I will then be available for about 20 minutes to discuss the Suzuki program with you.


When and where are the lessons and group classes?


Group classes meet Sunday afternoons at Asbury United Methodist Church.   Individual lessons can be scheduled either Tuesday or Thursday evenings at Triangle Music School.


Individual Lessons                    * Triangle Music School
                                                4815 Hillsborough Rd
                                                Durham, NC 27705

Group Lessons                         Asbury United Methodist Church

                                                806 Clarendon Street

                                                Durham, NC 27705


*Individual lessons may be given at the student’s home for a per lesson surcharge of $2/mile from the instructor’s house to yours, with a $5 minimum.


Estimated Costs


1.  Parent Education Course — $800 (6 lessons and 4 parent discussion classes, the vol. 1 CD, and all books)

2.  Remainder of Fall 2017 Tuition — $380 (8 lessons and 10 group classes)

3.  Guitar — $700-$800 (or $25/month with a $200 deposit)

4.  Stool — $50*

5.  Footstool — $15

5.  Theory Book — $10


*The child’s chair/stool must also be appropriately sized.  I can order this for you if necessary.


Checks should be made out to me and not to Triangle Music School.


Important Dates – 2017-2018


Fall 2017 Recital – December 16 or 17, 2017

Spring 2018 Recital - May 19 or 20, 2018

Next New Parent Education Class – September 2017


Suzuki Lessons
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