Dr. Suzuki believed that every child can be educated and that every child has the potential to reach a high level of skill. Daily practicing and listening are the keys to a child’s musical success.
The “Mother Tongue” Approach
The “Mother Tongue” approach is based on Dr. Suzuki’s belief that all children can learn when given the opportunity. Every child is expected to speak. Children are lovingly and patiently taught their native language by absorbing what they hear around them. They repeat the sounds they hear as they slowly and constantly build their own vocabulry. Listening, imitation, and repetition are also the key building blocks in learning to play an instrument.
Encouraging an Early Start
We are never too old to learn, but it is more natural and more effective when the child gets an early start. A three-year-old child can begin their instrument specific music education via the Suzuki Method.
Parent Involvement is Crucial
The involved parent is the “practice partner” at home. The parent attends every lesson, takes notes on assignments, and directs home practice with the teacher’s guidance and supervision. The teacher has great trust in the parent as the teacher guides the parent through every step.
Students listen to their current pieces daily and repeatedly, just as they do when learning a language. They listen to familiarize themselves with what they will be learning, and the maintain and build their skill base.
Learning by Repetition
Students constantly review and refine the pieces that they have learned. This in turn strengthens memory, solidifies technique, and develops musical expression.
Each skill and piece of music is broken down into the most basic units, which are carefully mastered before continuing. This insures a child’s ease of playing and ultimate success in performance.
Positive Reinforcement Promotes Success
Enjoyment is an important part of the learning process. The teacher and parent praise the child’s progress. They find supportive and creative ways to work towards further improvement.
Weekly Individual and Group Lessons
Individual lessons provide the parent and child with the tools they need to work together at home. Group lessons provide an opportunity for a student to practice those skills with others, review the materials from the private lesson, and gain confidence and inspiration from other students.
The responsibility of the child’s progress lies with the parents and the teacher. They work together to nurture ability. They are the base that hold up the child at the top of this triangle. They not only instill a music education, they work together to develop the whole child.