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Shinichi Suzuki - Contributions to Pedagogy
The life lessons of Shinichi Suzuki and the philosophies which surrounded him throughout his life were recapitulated in the lessons he developed to teach his students. It was very important to Suzuki that his teaching was not viewed as a “method” as it is today.

“First, to set the record straight, this is not a ‘teaching method.’ You cannot buy ten volumes of Suzuki books and become a ‘Suzuki Teacher.’ Dr. Suzuki has developed a philosophy which, when understood to the fullest, can be a philosophy for living. He is not trying to create the world of violinists. His major aim is to open a world of beauty to young children everywhere that they might have greater enjoyment in their lives through the God-given sounds of music.” (Hermann, 1971) Suzuki developed his ideas through a strong belief in the ideas of “Talent Education, a way of instruction that was being developed during the time he was beginning to build his ideas. At the 1958 National Festival Suzuki said, “Though still in an experimental stage, Talent Education has realized that all children in the world show their splendid capacities by speaking and understanding their mother language, thus displaying the original power of the human mind. Is it not probable that this mother language method holds the key to human development? Talent Education has applied this method to the teaching of music: children, taken without previous aptitude or intelligence test of any kind, have almost without exception made great progress. This is not to say that everyone can reach the same level of achievement. However, each individual can certainly achieve the equivalent of his language proficiently in other fields.” (Kendall, 1966)
Suzuki employed the following ideas of Talent Education to his music pedagogy schools:

  • The human being is a product of his environment.
  • The earlier, the better – not only music, but all learning
  • Repetition of experiences is important for learning.
  • Teachers and parents (adult human environment) must be at a high level and continue to grow to provide a better learning situation for the child.
  • The system or method must involve illustrations for the child based on the teacher’s understanding of when, what, and how. (Kendall, 1966)
  • The epistemological learning aspect, or as Suzuki called it, the “mother tongue” philosophy, is that in which children learn through their own observation of their environment.