The Suzuki Approach
Shinichi Suzuki was a violinist, educator, philosopher and humanitarian from Japan. Over the past half century he has had a profound influence on music education throughout the world. 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 in a nurturing environment can develop musical ability, just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. The potential of every child is unlimited”.
The Suzuki Method began when, encouraged by the ability of children to assimilate their mother tongue, Dr. Suzuki saw a great opportunity to enrich their lives through music. Dr. Suzuki did not develop his method to produce professional musicians but to help fulfill their capabilities as human beings and to create happy, sensitive, high achieving people.
By following this educational philosophy, we envolve the parents in their child’s learning, we celebrate every step and create a calm, nurturing environment which your child can learn best.
The early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle strength. Listening to music should begin during pregnancy and early childhood music classes can start from birth! Formal cello lessons can start from three or four years old, but it is never too late to begin. Beginners of all ages can learn and grow through the Suzuki method.
Just as when a child learns to talk, parents are involved in the musical learning of their child. Parents attend lessons with their child and serve as “home teachers” during the week. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment and help their children to grow and progress through music. But don’t worry parents, you don’t have to be an expert!
Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Listening to music is the same principle and is part of the daily practice routine. Listening every day is important, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the child knows them immediately.
Just as with a language, the child’s effort to learn should be met with sincere praise and encouragement. Each child learns at his/her own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered confidently. Children are also encouraged to support each other’s efforts through group playing and recitals, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.