What is the Suzuki Method?

Shinichi Suzuki


Born in October 1898 in Nagoya, Japan and son of a Violin factory owner, Suzuki was surrounded by music from the very start. However, he did not care for the violin until much later when he listened to a recording of Mischa Elman playing Ave Maria which he found so beautiful he had to emulate the sound and thus began his life long passion for the violin.

The Mother Tongue Approach

It was not until 1933 while playing in a quartet with his brothers, he had an epiphany that would be the root of what would become the Suzuki method: “every child in Japan can speak Japanese” it is such an obvious and simple epiphany but something that only Suzuki took advantage of. He realised that if children could learn a language just by listening to their surroundings, surely that would be the best and most natural way to learn an instrument? This is why children who are taught using the Suzuki method, do not use written music until their foundations in violin playing are the most natural thing in the world for them, so when reading music is introduced, it is an easy transition as they are already fantastic musicians who have developed a beautiful tone and posture.


Ailish Oldfield

Ailish Oldfield, was taught using the Suzuki method from the age of 6-18 on both violin and viola, with the brilliant teacher Jane Panter.

At the age of 18, Ailish went on to further music studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on the Viola. Whilst there she had many opportunities to learn from wonderful musicians including quartet masterclasses with the Brodsky Quartet, Jackie Shave and Peter Manning and orchestral rehearsals with Nicola Benedetti.

After graduating in July 2016 with a BMus Hons, Ailish began training to be a Suzuki Violin teacher and gained her Level 1 violin teacher status in June 2017 from the British Suzuki Institute and is currently training for her Level 2.