“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. Shi’nichi Suzuki
So, how does Suzuki work?
Dr Suzuki named his unique teaching method the “Mother Tongue Approach”, after having an “a-ha!” moment in Germany when he saw tiny German children chattering away in German, noticing the difference between their ease with their native language, and his struggle to learn it as a Japanese man in his 20s. He realized that if a young child can so easily learn to speak his/her native tongue, then surely they could learn music the same way – as long as their they had encouraging parents who were willing to create a musical environment play in the home.
Just as when a child learns to speak, the following factors are at work in the Suzuki Method of learning music: Listening • Motivation • Repetition • Step-by-step mastery • Memory • Vocabulary • Parental Involvement • Love
Because the Suzuki Method so closely follows language learning, Dr. Suzuki always recommended that music should become an important part of the baby’s environment from birth (or even before). When a baby’s environment includes beautiful music as well as the sounds of its native language, it makes complete sense that the child will develop the ability to speak and to play a musical instrument (with technical guidance) before being required to read in either language. Suzuki instrument lessons often can begin as early as 3 years of age, which is the age of learners that The Toronto Suzuki School accepts into the piano program – particularly if they have participated in Little Music classes.
Please click here to read more about the origins, principles and research outcomes of Suzuki ECE, and its unique impact on the littlest learners.