— Jorge Heredia interviews Love Nurtured Music‘s master violin teacher, Rigo Murillo.
What is the Suzuki Method?
The Suzuki Method is one of the most prominent methods of music education, especially for young children. It is based on the way we learn to speak our native language. At the Love Nurtured Music Program, we use the Suzuki “Native Language” approach exclusively.
When we’re young, we hear a lot of language. We hear our native language and the meaning of things way before we speak depending on the environment where we grow up. Our parents speak to us and help us to learn the language in a very natural way, without taking classes. They help us pronounce the words, and even though we don’t speak perfectly then, they encourage us and praise us for our efforts.
This way, the dynamics of learning our native language in a completely natural way are also the same principles that we use in the Suzuki music learning approach.
How does the Love Nurtured Music Program work?
In the same way we learn to speak, at the Love Nurtured Music Program, we adapt these steps to learning music. The same steps that are involved in learning to speak are applied to every step we take in the teaching of music.The Suzuki Method has been adapted for violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, harp, flute, guitar and organ. It is very dynamic. We have an organizational structure, and we apply the steps to each learning stage.
Our music program is very family-oriented. The student, the parents and the teacher form a triangle. The teacher is responsible for presenting the musical concepts to the child, with lesson activities and to guide the parent on how to practice with the child at home. The parent is responsible for directing the child at home practice. And the student is responsible for practicing and focusing. This takes special effort from the parents and the teacher, presenting the information in a natural and fun way for children, because, as you know, when we are young, we just want to play. So we teach music through games and activities in which children are involved very naturally. The parent, the teacher and the child are connected by a triangle that we call the “Suzuki Triangle.”
At what age can a child start with music lessons?
The starting age of my students is three years old. It’s best to start as early as possible because at that age, they learn better and faster. At that age, children take music learning more deeply, and that’s when the brain is more malleable, improving brain connections and helping the child not only musically, but also academically. However, we accept beginners of any age. We have no age limits of admission.
In the Love Nurtured Music Program, we have students from age three to adults. I teach everyone using the same methodology, with certain adjustments according to the age and learning pace of each student.
Aren’t musical instruments expensive?
Today, instruments are very affordable and you can buy or rent. A good-quality student-level violin can be purchased starting at about $300 to $400, or, if you prefer, you can also rent one for about $25 a month. So, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to start giving your child a meaningful musical education.
Anyone can benefit from learning music. Music helps us to live a better life. Music gives us a sense of belonging, and a way to express ourselves no matter if we are three or 100 years old.
What motivates you?
When I was young, I started learning the violin because I loved the sound. I loved the sound of the violin back then, I love the sound of the violin now, and I love to give people the opportunity to love the sound of the violin. One of my passions when I am teaching is that my students make a very nice sound on the violin. That’s number one. If a child starts learning the violin and doesn’t like the way it sounds, that’s bad news. So, we try to make sure that each child makes a great sound on the violin from the very first time and we take steps to ensure that each student will love the sound they make.
After everything, the objective is music and sound. That’s what motivates me. And, of course, the love of children, seeing and hearing them play and have fun, benefitting from making music. I just love to see their faces when they’re performing. They really do a great job and when they finish their performances, they see all that they have done, their accomplishments that not everybody else has. And that is because they put the effort. That helps them enjoy the process and the music.
Do you want to give your child the gift of music?