Dr. Shinichi Suzuki was the founder of the worldwide music education movement known as the Suzuki Method. Born in Nagoya, Japan in 1898, he was the son of Japan’s first and largest violin manufacturer. Suzuki taught using the concept ‘character first, ability second’. His goal was to embrace the whole child nurturing a love of music and the development of a fine character rather than just the mastering of a musical instrument. He established a school in Matsumoto, Japan and since then his unique method has spread to the world as a way of educating children not only in music but also in a lifelong love of learning.
The Suzuki Method can best be described by focusing on the three main concepts. The first is called the “Mother Tongue Method.” Dr. Suzuki made the famous realization that “all Japanese children speak Japanese”. What was remarkable about that to him was that Japanese is considered a difficult language to learn, yet all children in Japan speak Japanese fluently. In fact, all children all over the world speak their native language fluently, regardess of the difficulty of the dialect. Suzuki realized that all children are born with the potential to master the intricacies of language and ultimately do, with very few exceptions. He developed a method of teaching the violin that closely mirrors language development in very young children. Listening, imitation, and repetition, are all crucial in the process of learning a language and Dr. Suzuki utilized those same techniques in teaching young children to play a musical instrument.
Dr. Suzuki discovered that, contrary to the widely held belief at the time, all children are capable of musical ability with the right environment, not just those with “talent”. The idea that talent is not inborn but can be taught to all children is the basis for “talent education.” This doesnt mean that everyone will achieve the same level of competence at the violin, but that everyone has potential. The right combination of environment and hard work will result in success, not only in music but in all aspects of life.
A plant raised in a sunny place grows better than one raised in the shade.
The “Suzuki Triangle” is a term used to describe the equal role that the student, teacher and parent all play in child’s learning process. The parent observes and takes notes in each lesson, and the teacher interacts with both the student and parent in order to insure that the parent has an understanding of the weeks practice goals. The parent becomes the “at home teacher” and can assist the child with focusing the practice time on the important concepts covered in each lesson. The parent/ teacher relationship is truly a cooperative effort in order to foster the best possibe support system and learning environment.
STEP Birmingham is proud to be a Suzuki school offering violin, viola and cello lessons in Birmingham, AL.