“With love, much can be accomplished”
— Dr. Shinichi Suzuki
Diana Nuttall teaches children how to play cello using the Suzuki Method, a gentle non-competitive approach that emphasizes the development of auditory skills while creating a life long love for music. Shinichi Suzuki, a philosopher, musician and pedagogue, realized that children learn music best when they learn it like they learn their first language: by listening to music and watching their parents try to learn, and imitating. Children start by learning to play by ear, and then, after certain skills are developed, music notation is introduced, while ear development continues.
A positive and structured approach, Suzuki Method is appropriate for small children as young as three or four years of age, but also for older children and adults who want to learn music. The students in the Edmonton Endpins Studio have a private lesson and a group lesson every week. Children 3 and 4 years of age start in small, parented groups twice a week, at first without cellos. Singing, posture, and games designed to introduce musical concepts such as high and low are emphasized. Parents learn how to approach practicing. When the child and parent are ready, the cellos are introduced. Gradually, lessons evolve into “private” lessons and a group lesson. Parents of young children learn to play the cello as well, playing until they have mastered “Twinkle”. Sometimes a parent continues studying cello to become quite a good player!
“Every child can learn.”
— Dr. Shinichi Suzuki
Parents are very much involved in the process: attending lessons and learning to play “Twinkle” themselves, as well as playing recordings for the child on a daily basis and practicing with the child. Step by step is mastered. Mastery of the instrument is achieved gradually and happily. Each child moves at his or her own rate, mastering each step along the way. Diana, a specialist in starting young children, as well as teaching advanced students, has also studied Adult Education to help parents work one on one with their children.
As the children grow older, the role of the parent changes from more of a role model for learning to that of a coach, and later to that of a “Silent supporter”. The child becomes more and more independent as he or she gains learning skills. Teenagers attend lessons by themselves. The development of each child as an independent learner is the goal of Diana’s teaching. She teaches the children right from the beginning through to advanced levels.
The skill of playing in ensembles is a major part of being a fine musician, so the regular group lessons are emphasized in Diana’s studio. They provide a wonderful vehicle for social interaction, ensemble skills and ear development. The group lesson time is often considered by the child to be the most important part, and the most fun!