Myth: Suzuki students can only play back what they hear or who are not taught to find their own interpretations of music. I find it difficult to imagine that Suzuki students are more susceptible to being unable to make their own decisions about music than traditional music students who are told when to get louder and softer. A successful Suzuki teacher, as any successful music teacher, will enable a student to make her own decisions about music. In addition, Suzuki students are encouraged to listen to music, and they will have the opportunity to listen to many different performances of the same music. This unique exposure to multiple performance styles can only encourage student to make unique and independent decisions for their own performances.
Myth: Suzuki students do not learn how to read music. Unfortunately, this myth has an element of truth in it. Every Suzuki teacher I have met teaches reading to students, but typically only after the student has mastered a certain level of playing technique and a competence in the listening ear. Modern Suzuki pedagogy addresses this issue and assumes that all students need to learn to read. However, it is not uncommon for a Suzuki student to resist learning to read music. This is because the typical Suzuki student can play by ear long before he is asked to read music. A student who plays well by ear will not feel motivated by the simple tunes used in early reading method books. So that my students do not suffer this same fate, I begin teaching reading as soon as possible. We start our reading away from the piano, so that we can maintain the integrity of the core Suzuki method. When the child is ready, we start a formal reading program at the piano.
Myth: Suzuki trained musicians do not become great musicians. By searching the Internet, one can find plenty of accomplished musicians with a Suzuki background. Even some of Dr. Suzuki's first students went on to become concertmasters of major orchestras. I personally know many professional musicians who were Suzuki trained. I suspect that there are two factors contributing to this myth. The first is the relative newness of Suzuki's methodology in the United States. It was only introduced to the United States in the 1960s, and the formation of a strong group of trained Suzuki teachers in taking years to evolve. In the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, where I used to live, there is only a handful of Suzuki piano instructors a small percentage of the piano teachers in the area. Because of this, there are a greater number of musicians trained in traditional manners than in the Suzuki method. A second source for this myth may stem from the attitude many professionals take towards Suzuki training. I have read that many Suzuki trained musicians do not admit to their professional colleagues or teachers to being Suzuki trained. Apparently, they fear that those with misconceptions about Talent Education will dismiss the validity of their training.
There are several myths about Suzuki training. Most of these myths originate from not understanding the principles and philosophies of Talent Education or from exposure to poor Suzuki teachers. Below I explore a few of the most common myths: