The Suzuki Approach

Dr. Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998)
Dr. Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998)

The Suzuki approach is an educational philosophy developed by Shinichi Suzuki to teach children to play violin and other musical instruments.  Americans were first exposed to this Japanese method in 1958; since then it has produced generations of successful and well-rounded musicians.

There are two basic assumptions involved in the Suzuki approach.  One is that musical ability is developed, not inherited. The other is that children are capable of learning a tremendous amount at a young age if provided with a specifically nurturing environment.

So what makes a good environment?  The single most important ingredient for success is the parent’s involvement and commitment. The parent attends every lesson with the child and functions as the at-home teacher. Other important aspects include constant exposure to music, daily practice, moving in small steps, group lessons, and frequent positive feedback.

The guiding principal of the Suzuki approach is that it strives to develop the whole child by helping him or her to become a good and happy person. The purpose of Suzuki training is not just to produce great artists, but also to help every child find the joy that comes through making music.