Suzuki Piano at Milford Square Music Studio
The Suzuki Piano movement started to grow in the US in the 1970’s, and MSMS was there at the start. The concept of starting children on music lessons as young as age 4 is a wonderful way to make music as natural as their native language. Dr. Suzuki’s dream was to bring music to every child, and before he passed away in 1998, he experienced the joy of seeing his method spread across the globe.
At our studio, we teach all levels and all ages. Most of our students start lessons between ages 4-6. We do occasionally start older students and take transfer students, and when practice is consistent, we have success with all of them. We have graduated at least one and as many as five students each year at the close of their senior year in high school, each having completed anywhere from 8-14 years in our studio. Some continue their music studies in college as majors or minors or take courses for enjoyment. Many play for churches, choirs, summer camps, or local music groups. We have been in the Quakertown area for close to 40 years, and we currently have students taking lessons who are children of our former students. We cannot think of a better testament to the importance of what we do every day.
In Suzuki Piano, families experience the triangle of teacher, parent and child. Each one has an important role to play. Before the student begins, the parent who will be working with the child attends our 10 week Parent Education Class. We meet once a week, in the summer months, to discuss the Suzuki method and philosophy, the parent’s role, best practice habits, and suggestions for making music study as successful as possible. Parents who have not played piano are coached in the basics of reading notes, and everyone, even experienced pianists, are taught how to produce a beautiful tone. The method places strong emphasis on learning tone production from the very beginning, and MSMS has developed its own special adaptation that works with even our youngest beginners. After parents complete the course, students are ready to start in the fall. If we have families who want to begin lessons during the school term, we provide a condensed one-on-one version of the course for a few weeks, and then the family can start anytime during the year.
The Suzuki method is primarily private instruction, but Dr. Suzuki understood the importance of group instruction and set it up as part of the schedule. Our teachers have done extra study or taken extra training in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Orff with barred and percussion instruments, improvisation, Jazz, music history, composition, solfege and singing, conducting, etc, and we offer experiences in these studies to our students. We start with a simple approach for the youngest ones and add layers of complexity as the students grow and progress. Most of this extra enrichment is covered in the group classes, and reinforced in the private lesson. Students receive about 14-15 hours of group instruction per school term which enhances their musical understanding and creates a community with the other students.
Recitals, Auditions and Competitions
Every student, even the youngest, takes part in our annual Spring Recitals where they play a solo selection, in the Duet and Ensemble Recital where they play with other students, and in the Composition Recital where they play an original piece. As students progress, they perform for the National Guild auditions each spring. When they are ready, they play for the PA Music Teachers local auditions and state recitals. If students desire more experiences, they have the option of participating in the Music Teachers National Association competitions in solo performance, duets and composition. Each year, we support and send students to a variety of one to three day Suzuki family workshops, sponsored by local Suzuki groups. We make an effort to provide many motivational activities for our students, and they enjoy being involved in these events.