At Silver Music, we strive to integrate the strength and structure of the Suzuki approach with a flexibility that shows our understanding of the daily reality of modern, New York City life. We believe that following the Suzuki model will ultimately lead not only to a successful music learning experience for your child, but also to strengthened family and community ties. We are excited to be part of that process.
Dr. Shinichi Suzuki was born in 1898 in Nagoya, Japan. He was a visionary who transformed music education and in particular, the pedagogy of string instruments. Suzuki began developing his ideas in the aftermath of World War II Japan, and his stated goal was to help develop more “noble souls” in the hopes that such education could help avert another catastrophe of the magnitude of WWII.
At the center of the Suzuki approach is the idea that we can help children achieve ability, what Suzuki saw as the life force, in a loving environment. He maintained that all instruction should come from a place of kindness and respect—his main text is titled “Nurtured by Love”. While his philosophy is focused on quite lofty goals, his pedagogy method is concerned with the minutia of playing the violin. He was able to break down the skills of a concert artist into tiny, toddler-sized bites. His guiding principle in this process was what he called the “mother tongue” approach: the idea that if every child can learn to speak their mother tongue, a very complex skill, then every child can learn to play the violin or cello.
are necessary for this mother tongue approach to work.
the child listens repeatedly every day to the pieces they will learn (the Suzuki CD), so that the music is as familiar to them as their mother tongue.
just as we encourage every effort that leads up to a child’s ability to speak, we must also encourage each effort in the process of learning an instrument. You would never respond to your child’s first attempt at pronouncing your name with an immediate correction, and likewise, positive reinforcement should always be your first response in helping your child learn an instrument.
For a child to acquire a skill with the confidence that they learn to speak their language, practice must happen as often as they are exposed to speech—every day. Dr. Suzuki told children that they should “only practice on the days they eat”. We have many resources to guide you in your daily work with your children.
- Suzuki programs include parent classes which act not only as a discussion and support group, but give parents a technical grounding in the basics of their child’s instrument so that they can function as the “home teacher” or “practice partner”, a very important concept in the Suzuki approach. Parents attend the child’s lessons, taking notes and/or video taping, in order to be able to effectively help the child learn during the week.