Philosopy and Legacy
Suzuki Method is named after its founder Dr. Shinichi Suzuki who was born October 17, 1898 in Nagoya, Japan. Suzuki’s father owned a shamisen factory which later became a factory that produced violins, mandolins, and guitars. When he was seventeen-year-old Shinichi Suzuki heard Schubert’s Ave Maria performed by Mischa Elman. He was so amazed and touched by the beautiful sound of the violin, and Elman’s performance that he decided to learn the violin. A few years later he went to Berlin, Germany to study with Karl Klinger. In 1928, he returned to Japan along with his German wife, Waltraud Prange, where he taught the violin, and performed with his family members in the The Suzuki String Quartet. After World War II he settled in Matsumoto where the Talent Education Research Institute (TERI) was established.
One day as he was puzzling over how to teach a four year old student the violin, a thought came to his mind; ‘All Japanese children speak Japanese perfectly!’ Is it possible to learn an instrument in the same way that children learn their native language? From this idea, Dr. Suzuki developed the ‘Mother Tongue Method’ of learning. Children are trained from an early age with the support of their parents and a positive environment. With patience and much repetition children as young as three years old learn the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Variations as their first ‘words’ of classical music. Over time new repertoire is learned by listening and through careful step by step instruction by a Suzuki trained teacher. Suzuki repertoire is presented in a series of books that are carefully sequenced to teach the ‘grammar’ of playing the instrument. Since the repertoire is the same for all Suzuki students, it is easy to facilitate regular group classes and performances in concerts, camps and conferences. Children and parents experience great enjoyment and motivation in being part of a Suzuki community that promotes a positive learning environment for all members.
Underlying the Suzuki method is the philosophy and the deep belief that every child can learn and that through a loving, positive environment children not only learn to speak the language of music but also develop good character qualities and become fine, noble human beings.
Dr. Suzuki died on January 26, 1998 leaving his legacy to the world of music education. His method has spread throughout the world and includes the Americas (North and South), Europe (Africa and the Middle East), Pan Pacific (Australia, New Zealand), and Asia.