The Suzuki Method was founded in Japan by Dr Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998), a violinist, educator, philosopher, and humanitarian. As a music educator, Dr Suzuki took the approach taken to language learning to teach very young children. Termed the “mother-tongue” approach, or “Talent Education”, Dr Suzuki believed that every child had the ability to learn music with the right environment, instruction, and encouragement.
Listening to the repertoire being learnt plays a huge role in Suzuki’s music learning philosophy. Similar to babies learning language and being immersed in their native dialect, music heard daily becomes internalised so that when the time comes to learn a new piece, the foundations of rhythm, melody, and musical expression (dynamics, tempo etc.) are already present. Playing the piece then comes easily, and students play all music from memory, which is a great skill in itself, and allows them to focus on important things such as tone development and musicality.
The key things required for the Suzuki Method are encouragement, daily listening and practice, and parental involvement. And, if you read any further information about the Suzuki Method, you will read about creating a loving environment for your child. To allow a musician to express an idea or feeling through music requires an environment free from judgement and harsh criticism. Dr Suzuki himself had a fantastic sense of humour, and parents are encouraged to find gentle ways to encourage their children to enjoy their music.
Other key factors of the Method are repetition, step by step mastery, motivation and building a good repertoire of music. Competition is not part of the Suzuki philosophy, as each child learns at their own rate and progresses when they are ready.
For more information about the Suzuki Method, please visit http://www.suzukimusicqld.com.au/
Recommended further reading:
Nurtured by Love by Dr Suzuki
Ability Development from Age Zero by Dr Suzuki
With Love in My Heart and a Twinkle in My Ear by Sheila Warby (written for parents)