Welcome to Suzuki and Strings

Every Child Can – More than forty years ago, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music and called his method the “Mother-Tongue” approach. The ideas of parental involvement, loving encouragement, constant repetition, and listening, are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach.

Parental Involvement Parents are involved in the musical learning of their child even though many parents may have little or no musical experience. They attend lessons with the child and the teacher will provide weekly instructions for the parent to serve as the “home tutor”.

Early Beginning 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.

Listening Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Daily listening to the Suzuki repertoire is essential so the child may internalize the pieces before practicing has begun.

Repetition Constant repetition is vital to instrumental proficiency. Children do not learn a piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.

Encouragement As with language, the child’s effort to learn an instrument 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. Children are also encouraged to support each other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.

Learning with Other Children In addition to private instruction, children participate in regular group lessons and performances to foster a cooperative, non- competitive attitude towards music.

Sequential Repertoire Pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are designed to present new techniques, which are learned in the context of the music rather than through dry exercises.

Reading Children learn to read after their ability to speak has been well established. In the same way, children should develop basic technical competence on their instruments before being taught to read music.

Dr. Shinichi Suzuki Shinichi Suzuki was a violinist, educator, philosopher, and humanitarian. Born in 1898, he studied violin in his native Japan before going to Germany in the 1920s for further study. After the end of World War II, Dr. Suzuki devoted his life to the development of the method he calls Talent Education. 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 can develop musical ability, just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. The potential of every child is unlimited.” Dr. Suzuki’s goal was not simply to develop professional musicians, but to nurture loving human beings and help develop each child’s character through the study of music.