I teach a combination of the Suzuki, Paul Rolland, and traditional methods.
"Musical ability is not an inborn talent but an ability which can be developed. Any child who is properly trained can develop musical ability, just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. The potential of every child is unlimited. "
- Shinichi Suzuki
Often referred to as the 'mother-tongue' approach, founder Shinichi Suzuki began developing his method with the realization that children can and will learn from their environment. He witnessed children across the globe master their complicated native languages with ease through absorption and mimicry. Dr. Suzuki, believing that music is also a language, created a philosophy of early music instruction based on principals that parallel the environment of acquiring a native language. Key factors of the Suzuki approach include repetition, listening, parental involvement, community learning, and beginning instruction at an early age.
Many of todays professional musicians are former Suzuki students (myself included!). Even international soloists such as Hilary Hahn and Rachel Barton Pine started with Suzuki beginnings. However, Dr. Suzuki did not strive to foster young prodigies; but rather to nurture and develop each child's character through the study of music.
While the Suzuki method has shaped my broad educational philosophy; I embrace Paul Rolland's method as a guide to the technicalities of how to play the violin.
Rolland emphasized relaxation, balance, and body awareness in his teaching. Rolland would teach a new skill beginning with the largest muscle group with the belief that large "easy" movements will train and prepare the muscles for future intricate and physically taxing violin techniques. Rolland had an incredibly analytical and scientific mind and became respected by many outside of his field; especially kinesiologists. He was one of the first people to propose the direct correlation between physiological activities and neurological development. Like Shinichi Suzuki, Paul Rolland believed the early years of instruction to be the most crucial. Rolland 's method outlines a system that teaches all of the physical demands of violin playing in the first two years of instruction.
The "traditional" method is difficult to define because it is a product of several hundreds of years of Western European violin development. It is in some circles seen as simply "anything not Suzuki." The main traditional element that I incorporate into my teaching is early music reading. I utilize supplemental materials such as sight-reading exercises, etude books, and shifting exercises to aid early music reading skills.