What is Suzuki violin?
The Suzuki approach to violin teaching was developed in Japan more than
50 years ago by Shinichi Suzuki. He called the approach the "mother
tongue method." Students learn to play the violin in the same way they
learn their native language—by listening, imitation, repetition, and
The Suzuki approach is a natural, nurturing process of learning. Both parent and teacher proceed from an attitude of love and encouragement, rather than ambition for achievement. The first year of instruction is a slow developmental process—a time to build the foundations of musicianship that students will use for the rest of their lives. Emphasis is placed on a balanced playing position, beautiful tone, and secure intonation, as opposed to the quick learning of many pieces.
The essence of Suzuki education is that all children are born with ability, and that by nurturing ability in a loving, respectful, and non-competitive environment, we develop children with mature and sensitive spirits.
The Suzuki approach . . .
- combines listening, practicing, and performing within the "learning triangle" of teacher-parent-student;
- introduces instrumental and musical skills in very small steps, reinforced with much repetition and many opportunities for observation;
- emphasizes cooperation, not competition;
- emphasizes what the student can do; and
- teaches music as a language—first by ear, and then later through reading.
Who is Shinichi Suzuki?
Shinichi Suzuki was born in Nagoya, Japan, in 1898, the son of the owner of the Suzuki violin factory. After studying violin in Berlin with Karl Klinger, he returned to Japan in 1928 to pursue a concert career and teach. As a result of his interest in the learning potential of very young children, he founded the Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto. His purpose was not to create prodigies, but, through music, to build a noble spirit in each child. By the end of the 20th century, the Suzuki approach to music education had spread around the world. Suzuki died in 1998, just a few weeks short of his 100th birthday.