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My First Suzuki Workshop

6 Jul


Yesterday, I spent the day in the first class required for Suzuki teacher training, “Every Child Can.”

First of all, it was an incredibly rejuvenating and inspiring and igniting experience to be in a room with other caring teachers and learn and discuss Shinichi Suzuki’s philosophy and method for teaching children.  I learned so much. Additionally, often when a class member made a comment, the teacher would ask, “do you mean ‘…’ by that?” and rephrase their answer.  Sometimes, the connections made were so unlike my own, that I got 3 new ideas from each comment: the idea of the class mate, the idea of the teacher, and the connecting idea that related the two.

I loved the ideals that Suzuki put forth.  I loved the camaraderie of the class.  I look forward to attending more in the future.

Things I learned:

Shinichi Suzuki was born in 1898 and died in 1998, nearly 100 years old.  He trained musically in Germany in 1926 and married a German woman as well as becoming friends with Einstien.  He and his family suffered much during World War 2.

This puts a context to his work with children.  He was not just teaching music to children, he was trying to change the world.

“Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.” 
― Shinichi Suzuki


“Perhaps it is music that will save the world.” 
― Shinichi Suzuki, Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education


I also learned that Suzuki never stopped learning, himself.  He called his teaching “research” and was continually trying new things and seeking more knowledge.

“To make a resolution and act accordingly is to live with hope. There may be difficulties and hardships, but not disappointment or despair if you follow the path steadily. Do not hurry. This is a fundamental rule. If you hurry and collapse or tumble down, nothing is achieved. DO not rest in your efforts; this is another fundamental rule. Without stopping, without haste, carefully taking a step at a time forward will surely get you there.” 
― Shinichi Suzuki, Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education

Until we die, we should spare no time or effort in changing our weaknesses to merits. To do so can be pleasant and interesting. We can become like the horse that starts last and yet outruns the field, reaching the wire first; it is the same fun.” 
― Shinichi Suzuki, Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education


As I listened and learned yesterday, I made many connections with what I learned reading Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry Prizant, PhD.  I feel that both of these men see children as human beings worthy of respect, and this is what makes their work effective and inspiring.  Charlotte Mason (whose educational philosophy I have written about before) also saw this when she stated as her first principle: “Children are born persons.”  It seems like such an obvious statement, rather like Shinichi Suzuki’s statement “All Japanese children learn Japanese.”  Yet it is recognizing a simple truth (which the majority of people have taken for granted) that changes the world.