The Suzuki Method and Philosophy
Shinichi Suzuki of Japan instituted an approach to teaching and learning based on a philosophy of respect for the child. Dr. Suzuki discovered that children are capable of developing their ability in music the same way they learn to speak their native language – through listening, repetition, and a nurturing environment. Dr. Suzuki's approach is often called the mother tongue method or talent education.
“I respect children as my teachers…I radiate respect for them.” – Shinichi Suzuki
The Mother Tongue Method
Dr. Suzuki’s observations about early language learning resulted in his discovery of the mother tongue method. He made a simple, yet profound observation that all Japanese children speak Japanese, and that learning one’s native language has a 100% success rate. Suzuki noticed that the qualities of the environment when human beings learn to speak include listening from age zero, a positive and nurturing atmosphere, parents’ eager participation, repetition and accumulation, speaking a shared language, learning from other children, and gradual mastery at a natural pace.
“The baby is born. Does he start to say ‘Mama’ the next day? For months he just listens.” – Shinichi Suzuki
Suzuki determined to apply these same characteristics to the process of developing ability in music. Believing that talent, or ability, is learned or developed, not inborn, Suzuki considered the environment, not genetics, to be the foundation of what he called talent education. His philosophy was that every child can learn. Therefore, Suzuki students usually start at an early age, learn by listening, and are nurtured in an encouraging environment. Parental involvement is vital. Learning happens in small steps with each step mastered through repetition. Students learn together in a joyful, caring, noncompetitive atmosphere.
“Success breeds success.” – Shinichi Suzuki
Dr. Suzuki's Vision
Throughout this nurturing education, Dr. Suzuki’s greatest desire was to enable all children to have excellent values, refined sensibilities, and beautiful hearts.
“If love is deep, much can be accomplished.” – Shinichi Suzuki