Dr. Shinichi Suzuki was the founder of the worldwide music education movement known as the Suzuki Method. Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1898, he was the son of Japan's first and largest violin manufacturer. Suzuki taught using the concept 'character first, ability second'.
His goal was to embrace the whole child, nurturing a love of music and the development of a fine character rather than just the mastering of a musical instrument.
He established a school in Matsumoto, Japan and since then his unique method has spread to the world as a way of educating children not only in music but also in a lifelong love of learning.
The Suzuki Method can best be described by focusing on the three main concepts:
1.) ‘Mother Tongue Approach’
This learning approach at home and in the lessons is made to closely mirror language development in very young children. Listening, imitation and repetition are all crucial in the process of learning a language and Dr. Suzuki utilized those same techniques in teaching young children to play a musical instrument.
‘With patience and repetition, the seed blossoms’
2.) ‘All children are capable of musical ability with the right environment'
The second concept is the belief is that all children are capable of musical ability, not just those with "talent". The idea that talent is not inborn but can be taught to all children is the basis for "talent education."
This doesn’t mean that everyone will achieve the same level of competence at their chosen instrument, but that everyone has potential. The right combination of environment and hard work will result in success, not only in music but in all aspects of life.
’I firmly believe that cultural and musical aptitude does not come from within, and is not inherited, but occurs through suitable environmental conditions’
3.) ‘The Suzuki Triangle"
This is a term used to describe the equal role that the student, teacher and parent all play in the child's learning
process. The parent observes and takes notes in each lesson, and the teacher interacts with both the student and parent in order to ensure that the parent has an understanding of the week's practice goals.
The parent becomes the "at home teacher", creating a musical environment with plenty of affection, support and encouragement. They can assist the child with focusing the practice time on the important concepts covered in each lesson. This creates a strong bond between parents and child that can last a lifetime.
‘Where there is love, much will be accomplished’