11 Teaching Methods For A Parent Or Teacher

Dr. Suzuki recommended that we teach a single concept in 100 different ways…here are eleven methods to get started with.

I think Dr. Suzuki had a genius mind. He could come up with dozens, if not hundreds of ways to teach one concept.

It was as if he saw every facet of the diamond and could approach each facet uniquely while he taught.

Dr. Suzuki recommended teachers teach a single concept in 100 different ways.

Luckily, I came across an AWESOME list of teaching methods that have helped me execute Dr. Suzuki’s recommendation

(I received the list during teacher training, with Patricia D’Ercole, some years ago…).

1. Challenge Method: Put the student up to a test, with subliminal encouragement…”I have seen nine year olds hold their bow correctly through an entire song, but I don’t know if I have ever seen a five year old do it!”

2. Discrimination Method: The student becomes the teacher and decides what needs fixing. Likewise, two excerpts are played and the student decides which one is correct.

3. Forecasting Method: As the student nears a trouble spot in her piece, the teacher/parent gives a cue (gesture or word) that helps prevent a mistake. “Get ready for that extended finger three!”

4. Mastery Method: Student must successfully complete or execute a song or passage before moving onto the next. “We will move on to your new piece after you can play ‘Chorus’ with whole bows.”

5. Transference Method: Student’s focus is transferred to a less intimidating subject to release tension (breathing, walking, humor). “Look how I can play this piece while I am marching, can you?”

6. Guided Self Awareness Method: The teacher/parent guides the student in recording himself, watching himself in a mirror, or physically manipulating student in self awareness.

7. Game Method: Definitely one of the most effective methods for beginners. Student vs. teacher, or student vs. herself. Student seeks to win by completing a technique correctly, collecting candy, or earning marbles, etc.

8. Dissect and Stack Method: Breaking a skill down into it’s smallest tasks. Play one hand alone, only sing the rhythm, drill the progression of only two notes, etc. The smallest chunk possible. Very effective for remedial teaching to re-wire muscle memory.

9. Fantasy/Imagery Method: Teacher/parent uses stories, vignettes, or tales to describe the desired outcome. “I held a lost kitten, but found that he only liked to be held while I was cradling him softly, it’s the same way with your bow hold…”

10. Question Method: Questions are used to create clarity for the student. “Do you remember what your teacher told you about this passage? Do you think forte or piano would sound better here?”

11. Exaggeration Method: Students are prompted to exaggerate their mistake to the extreme. “Play SO LOUD here that it sounds awful, stretch your wrist here and see how painful it really can be.” By exaggerating the incorrect approach, the student learns how illogical it is.

As you try using these methods, you’ll recognize that you use many of them already, quite naturally. Keep it up, and challenge yourself to use some new methods! Start small by using one technique for a few days, and then transfer to a new one.

Pretty soon, you might have 100 different ways to teach just ONE concept! Please let me know what results you see! I love hearing about practice experiences!

Author: Suzuki Way

I am a music teacher who makes practicing fun and productive. Because I have four of my own little musicians, I know what works at home! Please enjoy my print-outs, methods, and routines for practicing!

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