Every Child Can Learn
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.
As when a child learns to talk, parents are involved in the musical learning of their child. They attend lessons with the child and serve as “home teachers” during the week. One parent often learns to play before the child, so that s/he understands what the child is expected to do. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.
The early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to music should begin at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four, but it is never too late to begin.
Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Listening to music every day is important, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the child knows them immediately.
World Renown Repertoire: Original Works, Not Arrangements
In the graded Suzuki Books, children do not learn -arrangements- of J.S. Bach, Mozart and Schumann, they learn every note the master intended, often when a child is as young as 7. Other methods use simplified versions or arrangements of these same pieces. Dr. Suzuki believed that children could achieve musical greatness at an early age, if given the tools and a nurturing environment.
How does Suzuki Method differ from other methods of teaching music to children?
Thoughtful teachers have often used some of the elements listed here, but Suzuki has formulated them in a cohesive approach. Some basic differences are:
- Suzuki teachers believe that musical ability can be developed in all children.
- Students begin at young ages.
- Parents play an active role in the learning process.
- Pieces are refined through review.
- Students perform frequently, individually and in groups.
Zoe Schommer, our Suzuki Program Director, has been a Suzuki teacher for almost 25 years. She received her Suzuki Pedagogy Training in Raleigh, North Carolina and went on to continue her training in summer institutes directed by Master Teacher Trainers Leah Brammer and Robin Blankenship. She was blessed to have attended several summer workshops and master lessons with the late Dr. Haruko Kataoka, who worked side by side with Dr. Suzuki to adapt his violin method for piano.
All 7 of her children have benefited from the beauty of this method and she has seen the results not only in their musical ability, but also in their virtue and character.
“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.” Dr. Suzuki (1898-1998)
For more information about Suzuki method, click HERE