What is the Suzuki Method?

 

The Suzuki method, also called Suzuki Talent Education, was started by Shinichi Suzuki (1899-1998). He was a violinist, educator, philosopher, and humanitarian. While Dr. Suzuki was studying in Germany, he realized how easily the children could pick up the language where he was struggling to master it. He also realized that all Japanese children could easily learn to speak Japanese, a highly complicated language. He thus came to the conclusion that all children could learn music the way they learnt their mother tongue effortlessly through listening, imitation and repetition, and that they had to be taught with love, affection and encouragement. 

 

Dr. 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.”[1] 

 

Dr. Suzuki’s embraced the notion of “Character first, ability second”. His goal was not to simply develop professional musicians, but to nurture loving human beings and help develop each child’s character through the study of music. As Dr. Suzuki quoted, “Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens, noble human beings. 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.”[2] 

 

The Suzuki philosophy emphasizes that: 

  • All children can learn. 

  • Environment is crucial to development. 

  • Ability development is vital.  

  • Talent education helps character development.

 

[1] ____, ‘The Suzuki Legacy’, Suzuki Association of the Americas, 

<www.suzukiassociation.org/SuzukiWeb/Parents/Twinkler/Twinkler3.htm>

 

[2] ____, ‘History of Suzuki Music’, Suzuki Talent Education Association of Australia (2000),

<www.suzukimusic.org.au/suzuki_method/history.html>

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