Tag Archives: note reading

Do you teach note-reading?

Published / by Entertainer / Leave a Comment

Yes! Contrary to common belief, the Suzuki method has a comparable note-reading element. In the early days of the Suzuki method in America, many teachers, all of whom where new to the method, often missed this skill development. Truthfully, there was a time that many American Suzuki students did not note-read well. But, for several decades the Suzuki Association of the Americas has been making great effort to correct this folly. Sadly, the archaic narrative that Suzuki students do not read music continues to be propagated by those unwilling to properly investigate the method’s merits. In truth, most Suzuki students coming out of today’s studios read music just as well as students using other standard methods.

Like literacy in language, note-reading is not introduced to the Suzuki student until they achieve a suitable command over several other facets of playing,  i.e. posture, tone, intonation, etc. The latter two are directly connected to ear-training, a crucial discipline for a string player. Experience has taught me that if adequate ear-training is not completed preceding note-reading, it does not reach its pinnacle. It is essential to develop these two skills in a sequential order. On the other hand, wait too long and the lack of note reading will inhibit a student’s rate of progress.

Ear-training happens at a different rate for each student, so there is no specific time that I move on to note-reading. By the time a student gets to book 3 they should have a basic competency in note-reading. Between the Twinkles and that point, it happens when the student is ready.