The Suzuki Music Approach
Shinichi Suzuki spent his entire life committed to enriching the lives of children and families through his revolutionary means of music education. He believed firmly that given the right environment, all children can develop skills and ability to their highest level. Suzuki spent many years keenly observing how children learn to speak their native language and marvelled at how such a complex skill was learned and mastered with seemingly little effort or study by children all over the world.
He postulated, if children can learn an entire language so easily and at such a young age, why can’t they learn music (and many other skills) in exactly the same manner?
From these ideas, the Suzuki Method was born. Also known as the Mother Tongue method, the Suzuki approach enables the study of music to occur via listening, repetition and imitation just as the foundations of language are cultivated.
Suzuki’s Philosophy – Giving Music Education a Deeper Meaning
“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.”
Suzuki’s method was highly successful and very thorough, but in fact creating talented, young musicians was not Suzuki’s primary aim. Suzuki placed equal importance on cultivating sensitive and thoughtful young people and it was his belief that we can change the world through music.
Little Stars Early Music Education believes strongly in the spirit and soul of Dr. Suzuki’s legacy. Our teaching is influenced by many of his sentiments, including:
“Character First, Ability Second”
“Beautiful tone, Beautiful Heart”
“When love is deep, much can be accomplished”
“It is necessary to be concerned about the importance of educating a really beautiful human spirit”
“Man is a child of his environment”
“Every child grows; everything depends on the teacher.”
The 7 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Concepts
All ECE programs are founded on the following 7 concepts that ensure teachers continue to build on Dr. Suzuki’s legacy.
Every Child Can Learn
We should hold high expectations for each and every child. Each child’s response to a particular learning experience will be unique, but whether the child appears to learn quickly or not, learning does and will occur. Just as a parent expects that their child will eventually speak, so they should expect each child to excel. Keep the steps small until mastery is achieved, and then continue to nurture ability toward excellence.
Ability Develops Early
Young children are capable of extraordinary accomplishments. If they can learn language, they can accomplish many other tasks as well. An early start, while the pathways in the brain are at their optimum growth rate, will create stronger brain connections and a great foundation on which to build. The time will come when this growth rate slows and the best chance to develop those abilities has passed.
Environment Nurtures Growth
“Change the environment, not the child.” Dr. Suzuki said this after adopting a nephew into his family. Man is the son of his environment, and will constantly absorb and change in response to the stimuli surrounding him. Children will respond both positively and negatively to their surrounds. It is an adult’s responsibility to demonstrate the behaviour you would like to see in your child, and let them learn by example.
Children Learn from One Another
In younger children, seeing an older student, whom they perceive as being ‘like them’ motivates them in a way that their parents or adult teachers cannot. They see what another child is doing and they want to do it, too. When they see another child ‘do’ successfully, they believe that they can too. Often, the memory that a young child will have is of active participation even thought they are passivley observing.
Success Breeds Success
With each step achieved, more can be added. The first words may take months to speak, but soon many more follow quickly. Children love repetition and are happy to continue the learning process if given the opportunity. Parents must indulge the desire for constant review and repetition.
Parental Involvement is Critical
The parent sees their child more than any other person. The child hears his mother’s voice from before birth. The parent is, therefore, each child’s first teacher. If this opportunity is maximized, the child’s development will be stronger and his future abilities more secure.
Encouragement is Essential
A colleague once said, “I have never met anyone who says ‘Please, don’t praise me!'” Everyone needs encouragement. Praise for a good effort, a hug or a smile—all of these communicate acceptance and make a person want to try again. This is an important facet of creating a desire to learn.
Little Stars – Our Mission Statement
To provide comprehensive Suzuki Early Childhood Education (ECE) classes for parents and children.
To teach and deliver a program that is inspiring, educational and grounded strongly in the Suzuki philosophy of education which believes that all children have the ability to achieve to a high level—not just musically or academically, but emotionally and intrinsically.
To develop character first, and ability second.
To support parents by providing them with resources for home use and encouraging them to take an active role in their child’s learning and development.
To work towards Dr. Suzuki’s wish that music will change the world by nurturing and encouraging each and every child and family we meet.
Many Children are ready to begin studying an Instrument with a Suzuki teacher around the age of 4 years, however Suzuki Voice tuition can begin much earlier.
We guide our young musicians carefully towards the most appropriate suzuki instrument for them (and their families) and provide many opportunities to observe students and teachers performing on different instruments.