Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.”--Shinichi Suzuki
The Suzuki Method
The Suzuki method was founded by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in post-WWII Japan. Dr. Suzuki was devastated by the trauma of the war, and it was out of this grief that he developed his philosophy and method of teaching young children music. He felt that the study of a musical instrument would increase children's sensitivity, patience, listening, empathy, and would help raise good citizens and build a better world. Dr. Suzuki believed that children could be taught music by the same method that they learn their native language--through listening every day, frequent repetition, good role models, and a nurturing environment. He called this the mother-tongue method.
The Suzuki method is based on the mother-tongue method. Listening to every piece of music well in advance is a crucial part of the Suzuki curriculum, and Dr. Suzuki said the rate of learning can be tied to the amount of listening the student has done. Dr. Suzuki wanted the study of music to be a catalyst for social connection, and the relationships built between teacher, child, and the parents who act as the at-home instructor is at the heart of the method. Parents must attend lessons and help the child accomplish new skills each week for the next lesson. Group classes are another important component of the Suzuki method with students interacting in a friendly, non-competitive environment.
In Dr. Suzuki's words, "Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline, and endurance. They get a beautiful heart."