Below is an overview of the Suzuki Method as written by Cathy Williams Hargrave, Master of Music. Natalie Khatibzadeh began studying Suzuki Piano with Cathy Hargrave at the age of three. Ms. Hargrave is one of a select few Suzuki Piano teachers to have been trained under Dr. Shinichi Suzuki (creator of the Suzuki Method) and Dr. Haruko Kataoka (co-creator of Suzuki Piano).


About the Suzuki Method


The Suzuki Method, also known as Talent Education or the Mother Tongue Approach, was created by the Japanese violinist, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki (1898 - 1998). It is an educational system with principles derived from Dr. Suzuki’s analysis of the way all children learn to speak, and eventually read, their native language. Babies possess the innate ability to learn a language depending upon their circumstances. The same principles can be applied to other subjects with equally successful results. By applying these principles to young children’s lives through musical study and mastery, they learn to create beauty, have a healthy respect for life and culture, and develop fine character. Dr. Suzuki always said: ”Character first, ability second.


Principles of the Suzuki Method



Every child can be educated in a nurturing environment.


Lessons begin as early as age 3.


Parents play an active role in lessons and home practice.


Learn small steps one at a time and master them through daily repetition.


Refine and advance skills through review.


Delay reading music. Then, associate symbols with sound.                


Observe other children’s lessons to learn by example.


Perform for, and with, others often.




Cathy Williams Hargrave has been teaching Suzuki Piano since 1979. After earning both a Bachelor and Master of Music degree in Piano Performance, she moved to Matsumoto, Japan to enroll in the Teacher Training program with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki (creator of the Suzuki Method) and Dr. Haruko Kataoka (co-creator of Suzuki Piano).  In 1983, she became the 4th American pianist to receive a Suzuki Teaching Degree from Dr. Suzuki. From 1988 - 1991, she lived in Matsumoto another 3 years for the express purpose of continued study with Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Kataoka. Currently, there are approximately ten Suzuki Piano teachers world-wide who received such extensive training directly from the creators of the Suzuki Method.


Ms. Hargrave has won national and international awards for her performances and teaching. She has conducted seminars for teachers and students throughout the U.S., as well as various locations in Canada, Russia, and Japan. She currently maintains a studio of 25 students, is a registered teacher trainer in the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the European Suzuki Association, is the author of two books (Reading Music By Ear, Basic Rhythm Studies), and numerous articles for Suzuki publications.