Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Suzuki Learning Philosophy - Azara Feroz Sayed

I read about Schinichi Suzuki in Zig Zilgar's See You at the Top book. Though there are many programs in Japan using Suzuki's style for learning especially music. There is a school in Atlanta following Professor Suzuki's style of learning.

Schinichi Suzuki is an unusual japanese scientist who performs what many people consider to be one of the miracles of our time. He takes babies a few weeks old and starts playing beautiful, recorded music next to their beds. He plays the same tune many times and after about thirty days he repeats the procedure with another recording. He continues this process until the infant is about two years old. At that time, he starts about three months of music lessons for mother, with the two-year-old as an observer. Next he puts a minature violin in the hands of the child, who begins to get the feel of the instrument while learning bow movements. This first lesson lasts only two or three minutes. From there they gradually build up to an hour. By the time the child is old enough to learn that the violin is supposed to be difficult to play, he has already mastered it and is having fun in the process. Professor Suzuki conducted a concert with some 1,500 of these japanese children performing. Average age of the children was about seven and they played the classics-Chopin, Beethoven, Vivaldi etc. Significantly, Suzuki emphasizes that the vast majority of these children had no "natural" misucal talent. However, he believes every child has talent that can be developed by following the same procedure we use in teaching children to speak. A baby is around older people who constantly talk, so the first step is "exposure". Next, the baby tries to talk, which is "imitation". Friends and relatives brag on the baby, which gives "encouragement" and motivates the baby to try again. This is the process of "repitition". Then the baby starts adding words and tying them together into phrases or sentences. This procedure is "refinement". At age three or four, the child has quiet a vocabulary and still can't read a word. Professor Suzuki maintains that virtually anything can be learnt by the same method.


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