Dr. Suzuki's Philosophy

Dr. Suzuki said “The potential of every child is unlimited” and “any child who is properly taught can develop musical ability just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue.”

What did Dr. Suzuki mean when he developed the Mother Tongue Method?

Dr. Suzuki observed that children learn to speak their native language or Mother Tongue without direct instruction.  He studied language acquisition and began to apply language acquisition principles to music education.   Children learn to speak by being immersed in their language.  In the same way children learn music by first listening and becoming familiar with the pieces, then playing them and finally, around the age they learn to read words in school, they begin to learn to read music in their lessons.  The earlier the better for beginning music lessons with many children beginning around the age of 3 or 4.  However it is never to late to learn as many parents can attest who learn along with their children. 

One of the core elements of the Suzuki method is Parent Involvement.  This Parent-Child-Teacher teamwork is called the Suzuki Triangle.  The supportive triangle of parent – child – teacher, nurtures musical growth through a process of loving – listening – leading – learning. Each participant in the triangle has a unique role and responsibility to ensure overall success.  Parents attend lessons with their children and serve as “home teachers” during the week. 

Other key elements include

Daily listening – a child learns to speak by being immersed in their language, in the same way a child first learns music by listening to the repertoire daily.

Repetition –early pieces learned become the building blocks to more complex work and early pieces can be retrieved to focus on specific aspects of music learning. 

Carefully selected repertoire –key technical aspects of instrument learning are taught through beautiful music rather than dry exercises.

Group Classes – in addition to the weekly private lesson with the Studio teacher, students attend group classes on Saturdays, at Canterbury HS.  Group classes provide learning in social context, and a chance to focus on the beauty of making music with others. 

The purpose of the Suzuki method is to help every child experience the joy that comes through making music. Through the Suzuki method, children are supported in their learning. Each child is allowed to learn at their own rate and with encouragement and support they develop confidence and self-esteem, a determination to try difficult things, and self-discipline and concentration, as well as a lasting enjoyment of music and the sensitivity and skill for making music. Dr. Suzuki’s main goals are “for the child to build a noble soul, to develop an appreciation of beauty, to give a sense of purpose to life, to learn the discipline of acquiring a skill and to become a fine human being.”