Dr. Shinichi Suzuki developed his “mother tongue method” in the 1940’s and 50’s, which utilizes the basic principles of how children learn to speak and understand their first language. Dr. Suzuki realized that since children are able to learn their mother tongue through listening, imitation and repetition, they can also do the same with learning an instrument.
Suzuki method heavily relies on parental interaction, listening to music in the home, and learning by ear – the same way a child learns language through their parents and environment.
About the Suzuki Method
The Suzuki Method
"Every Child Can Learn"
More than fifty years ago, Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother-tongue approach. The aspects of The Suzuki Method are parent involvement, learning with others, loving encouragement, daily listening, constant repetition, etc., are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach.
As when a child learns to talk, parents are involved in the musical learning of their child. Parents or caregivers attend lessons with the child and serve as “home teachers” during the week, and work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment for their child.
Learning With Others
In addition to private lessons, children participate in regular group lessons and performances at which they learn from and are motivated by each other.
Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others.
Listening to music every day is important, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the child knows them immediately.
As with language, the child’s effort to learn an instrument should be met with sincere praise and encouragement. Each child learns at their 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.
Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument. Children do not learn a word or piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.