I want to make good citizens. If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart. — Shinichi Suzuki, Nurtured By Love
Every Child Can Learn
Shinichi Suzuki was a violinist, educator, philosopher and humanitarian. Born in 1898, he studied violin in Japan before going to Germany in the 1920s for further study. As a skillful violinist but a beginner at the German language who struggled to learn it, Suzuki realized the fact that children over the world pick up their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music (Mother-tongue Approach) and devoted his life to the development of the method he called Talent Education.
Dr. Suzuki’s belief is “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.”
Dr. Suzuki’s goal was not simply to develop professional musicians, but to nurture loving human beings and cultivate each child’s beautiful hearts and souls through the study of music. His vision is carried out by all Suzuki teachers around the world today.
The Suzuki Triangle is a three-way partnership between the student, teacher and parent(s) all working together. When a child starts to talk, parents are involved. Likewise, parents are involved in the musical learning of their child in the Suzuki method. Parent(s) attend lessons and help the child practice at home though the parent needs not be a musician. Step by step instruction of how to help the child at home is taught at the lesson. Parents cooperate with the teacher to create an enjoyable, positive learning environment.
Children learn words after hearing the words spoken hundreds of times by others. Without knowing how it sounds and what it means, they won’t start to talk or to use the word. Listening to music every day is important, especially listening to the pieces they play or going to play, so the child knows how it sounds.
Constant and meaningful repetition is crucial in learning to play an instrument. Just as when children learn new words, they use them repeatedly; increase their vocabulary, then gradually using the previously learned words in new and more sophisticated ways. Learning musical pieces are the same, students keep reviewing previously learned pieces, instead of discarding them, so they will increase their repertoires and they can gradually evolve their acquired skills in new and more sophisticated ways.
Learning with Others
Children learn from other children and are motivated by each other. In addition to private lessons, children are strongly encouraged to participate in group lessons and group performances.
As with language learning, sincere praise and encouragement facilitate children’s effort and their learning of music.
Each child learns at his/her own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered. Children also learn to support each other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of kindness and cooperation.
The most common misunderstanding about the Suzuki Method is that “Suzuki students don’t (or can’t) read the music”. This is completely wrong! Reading music is taught in a “delayed” manner to the young children, usually after they develop the basic skills for the instrument. This is the same as the way children learn to read books after their ability to talk has been well established.
(*For older students or adults, and some young students who already learned to read music, this delayed reading approach may not apply.)
For more information, please visit the web site Suzuki Association of the Americas