Suzuki Philosophy in Music Education

The Suzuki piano approach is based on the philosophy and teaching methods of the Japanese violinist, pedagogue and humanitarian, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, who coined the phrase, "Talent Education."  

Dr. Suzuki believed that every child is born with a talent for learning languages and music.  Both deal with patterns of sound and intonation.  The inborn musical talent of every child can be educated to a very high level, by using the same principles as those used in language acquisition.

Every child is born with musical talent, and it is up to the parents and teacher to develop that talent.  Just as a seed needs sunshine, water, and good soil to sprout and grow, musical talent needs encouraging parents, quality lessons, and a music-filled home environment.  Every human has that musical seed waiting to sprout and grow.

It is important to realize that Suzuki is a philosophy, rather than a series of books and pieces.  Even though we teach other pieces in addition to the Suzuki repertoire (including modern composers, duets, and masterworks from many genres) and employ teaching techniques from Montessori and Kodaly, we are, at heart, a Suzuki studio.  

A question we frequently hear is, "Does the Suzuki method teach how to read music?"  The answer is, "Yes!"  (See Reading Music.)  Reading music is vital to every student's advancement.  This is in keeping with true Suzuki philosophy, as taught by the Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation, which is rooted in the teachings of Dr. Haruko Kataoka, the pianist who developed the Suzuki Piano Program in Japan under Dr. Suzuki's direct supervision.  We have three goals for our students:  good listening skills, fluency in reading music, and excellent playing technique and tone.

On a grander scale, though, Dr. Suzuki's approach is concerned with the education of the whole person through music:

"Our purpose does not lie in a movement to create professional musicians, but to create people of beautiful minds and fine ability through an unparalleled, uniquely musical approach.  We engage in human education through music so that children will grow beautifully, with high sensitivity."