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START NOW
If you want to play the piano, you have to start doing it. Do it now! Especially if you are one of those who have always wanted to – or wished they had stuck with it – it is not too late. Read More

Many people have told me they always wanted to play. “I’m going to, once my life settles down!” one senior citizen said. “Don’t wait much longer,” I laughed.

You have to start, and you have to play regularly – even if it’s only at your lesson. That’s right. Every teacher has students who never practice but come to their lessons anyway. Despite themselves, they start getting good, and that’s when their interest takes off.

Five or ten minutes a day adds up. It will amount to something! Bottom line: Things are never going to be perfect. If you don’t have time to practice, come to your lesson, and let that be that your practice for the week. If your lessons are fun, that’s all that counts.

PLAY MUSIC YOU LIKE
If you like what you’re playing, you’ll practice it more, stick with it longer and get better faster.

Suzuki is about learning by ear and example, whatever the music. Its “central tenet,” as its founder often said, “is inspiring in children [and adults] a joyful desire and will to practice. Lessons should be thought of as entertainment.” Music should be fun. Read More

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” is the first piece in the Suzuki books. I have yet to meet a 4-year-old who didn’t love it -- and are thrilled to play it right off. But what if you’re 8? “What kind of music do you like? Do you have any favorite songs?” From these questions, I learned “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” “The Pink Panther,” any number of Disney tunes and “Great Balls of Fire” (to name but a few) were keys to turning a whole generation on to music.

What kind of music do you want to play? I don’t have to like it one bit. Lessons are about you. If there’s something you want to play, and I can teach it, I will. The trick is finding something easy enough, but impressive.

LEARN BY EAR
Can you tell the two black keys from the three? If so, you can play the piano. You don’t have to read music. You don’t even have to know the names of the notes. You just have to know how a song sounds. Read More

Any 4-year-old can sing “Twinkle.” You show them what keys to play, which fingers to use, and they’re playing it. This is how you learned English. You listened and imitated. Suzuki translated this process to learning music. Where most teachers don’t want students before they can read, Dr. Suzuki started his as infants.

Reading music is great, but it’s not the same as being able to play. Reading can, in fact, become a crutch. Suzuki students may or may not be able to read, but they can and do play, far beyond their years.

The question is where to start. Start by having in mind some kind of music you want to play -- and find someone fun who can show you how.