Dr Shinichi Suzuki was raised in a traditional Japanese home where great emphasis was placed upon honor which in turn led him to become a man of very deep character.
As a teenager he discovered Tolstoy’s Diary and this was a seminal point in his life, for this began a lifelong search for inner truth and a fascination with philosophy.
While studying violin in Germany, he met and befriended Albert Einstein as well as other intellectuals. He also became greatly moved by the music of Mozart.
After returning to Japan, where he was teaching and performing, Suzuki was suddenly struck by the concept that all children speak their native tongue. This fact and finding the solution to it became the basic purpose of his life.
Soon after this discovery, he was asked to teach a four year old how to play the violin. After much contemplation, he realised his discovery could apply to the teaching of music.
Dr Suzuki insists that the environment is everything, that what does not exist in the environment will not exist in the child. After studying the environment of a child learning to speak, he concluded that it contains six fundamental elements: love, listening, motivation, vocabulary, repetition and parent involvement.
The parallel between music and sound or speech is as one for a young child. While an adult finds speech immediate and music complex, a child, who has yet to decipher speech finds both complex and yet obviously enjoyable and within reach.
Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy is based on the theory:
“Talent is no accident of birth
and the potential of every child
“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.”
“Where love is deep, much will be accomplished.”
“What is man’s ultimate goal in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.”
“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.”
“The aims of the Suzuki method are to produce a child who loves and appreciates good music through the highly skilled mastery of an instrument: to ennoble his soul through the appreciation of beauty: to help parents and children to love and respect each other: to develop the character of the child: to unite the world through the love of music and occasionally produce professional musicians”
Alinta Thorton, A Parents Guide to the Suzuki Method