The Suzuki method is a very unique way of learning music and it is different from the traditional method.
- Suzuki teachers believe that musical ability can be developed in all children.
- Students begin at a young age.
- Parents play an active role in the learning process.
- Children become comfortable with the instrument before learning to read music.
- The technique is taught in the context of pieces rather than through dry technical exercises.
- Pieces are refined through constant review.
- Students perform frequently, individually, and in groups.
"The main concern for parents should be to bring up their children as noble human beings. That is sufficient. If this is not their greatest hope, in the end, the child may take a road contrary to their expectations. Children can play very well. We must try to make them splendid in mind and heart also."
More than fifty years ago, Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music and called his method the mother-tongue approach.
Shinichi Suzuki was a violinist, educator, philosopher, and humanitarian. Born in 1898, he studied violin in Japan for some years before going to Germany in the 1920s for further study. After the end of World War II, Dr. Suzuki devoted his life to the development of the method he calls Talent Education.
Suzuki based his approach on the belief that “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 help develop each child’s character through the study of music.
Some of the main features of the method that are different from the traditional way of learning the instrument are:
That is one of the most important parts of the method because the parent is a “home teacher” who is working with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment during the home practice.
Formal training can begin at age 3-4 because the early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination.
Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Listening to music every day is important and should begin from the first days of a child’s life. When the training starts it is very important to listen to the pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the child knows them immediately.
Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument as it helps to create strong links in the brain. Children do not learn a word or piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.
As with language, the child’s effort to learn an instrument should be met with sincere praise and encouragement. Each child learns at their own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered. Children are also encouraged to support each other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.
Learning with Other Children
In addition to private lessons, children participate in regular group lessons and performance at which they learn from and are motivated by each other.
Parents whose children are involved in the Suzuki program throughout the country are enthusiastic about the benefits for their children and their whole families.
Benefits for your Child
- Opportunity to make new friends while sharing musical experiences with other Suzuki students as well as learning how to cooperate with other children.
- Learning discipline, goal setting, and constructive use of time.
- Developing self-esteem and the ability to get up in front of people easily.
- The Suzuki approach puts emphasis on the development of the child’s character and focused on nurturing a good person.
"It is in our power to educate all the children of the world to become a little better as people, a little happier."