The Suzuki method is based on the recognition that children learn their parents' language almost entirely by ear. Suzuki students listen to recordings repeatedly, and they progress much faster when their listening is consistent.
Parents study along with their children. For children five and under, it's best for a parent to take a few lessons first to learn the basics of position and technique. During this time, a young child will have a "starter" box and stick for practicing position and instrument care, and will learn the Twinkle rhythms through clapping and bowing the stick on their shoulder—older beginners skip this step and start with their real violins. Young students graduate to real instruments when they can take care of them and when they have internalized the Twinkle rhythms.
Students make the most progress with regular practice and when they're invested in the lessons. I write assignment "prescriptions" in the student's notebook each lesson, so the student knows what and how to practice.
In lessons, we work on:
Listening to recordings, studying scores, and learning music history are also integrated.
As a professional orchestral violinist, I enjoy helping people of any level prepare for auditions. Younger students usually need scales, a prepared solo piece, maybe a prepared excerpt, and possibly sight reading. Part of our lessons is spent working on sight reading and other audition skills. Sometimes I set up mock auditions, where the student plays through several different rounds in a realistic setting. I record the student, then we listen to the "audition" together and discuss what happened and what might be improved.
Teaching adult beginners is very different from teaching children. We start immediately with note reading along with theory and technique exercises. I use pieces from the Suzuki books, however I supplement them with other material. Lessons are geared to each student's level with an eye toward what they hope to achieve.
Some adults played violin when they were younger, and want to get in shape for an audition or to play in a community orchestra. Working on orchestra music is a great way for anyone with a regular job to escape the rat race. Just put on a CD, grab your violin, and jam!