What Is Talent Education?
The philosophy of Talent Education was developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in Japan in the 1940's. This method, which today has become an international movement, is based on respect for the child. Dr. Suzuki said, "Talent is not inherited and the potential of every child is unlimited". All children are respected as unique human beings, capable of developing their musical abilities to the same level as their linguistic abilities and other abilities.
Dr. Suzuki noted that children all over the world learn to speak their mother tongue with ease, no matter how complicated the language might be. They learn to speak by listening, primarily to their parents and other caregivers, and then by imitating. If a child's efforts to speak and increase their vocabulary are met with praise and positive reinforcement, the learning process is facilitated. Thus, very young children can acquire huge vocabularies seemingly without effort.
Dr. Suzuki believed that the same steps involved in language learning could be applied to the learning of music:
The Suzuki Method repertoire was selected to build skills in easy, sequential steps for young children. The mastery of these skills builds confidence. Each child progresses at their own pace. Group classes and concerts provide a vital connection with other children learning the same skills and playing the same music. This gives motivation and enjoyment.
Qualities such as memory skills, coordination, quick response, careful observation, pride in accomplishment, and sensitivity to others are also developed with this method of instruction.
A Suzuki education provides students with an excellent foundation for pursuing a career in music, and many of the world's most famous young string players have a Suzuki background. However, the goal of Talent Education is not to create performers, but to develop fine character.
A key tenet of the Suzuki approach is parental involvement. The parent attends every lesson with their child and also learns to play the instrument, acting as the "home teacher" during practice sessions at home. Beginning families attend Parent Education classes taught by senior faculty. A strong cooperative relationship between teacher, parent, and child is established. Meanwhile, the parent and child grow together through their mutual experience of learning to play an instrument.For more information about the Suzuki Method:
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