“Think of violin training as fun” by Shinichi Suzuki Suzuki Violin Studio,

Manchester NH, (603) 785 1884

“Instilling the Desire to Learn”

By Shinichi Suzuki

Excerpted from Nurtured by Love, pp 95-96.

We encourage them to think of violin training as fun

We begin by training the parent rather than the child. Although we accept infants, at first we do not have them play the violin. First we teach the mother to play one piece so that she will be a good teacher at home. As for the child, we first have him simply listen at home to a record of the piece he will be learning. Children are really educated in the home, so in order that the child will have good posture and practice properly at home, it is necessary for the parent to have firsthand experience. The correct education of the child depends on this. Until the parent can play one piece, the child does not play at all. This principle is very important indeed, because although the parent may want him to do so, a three- or four-year-old child has no desire to learn the violin. The idea is to get the child to say, “I want to play too;” so the first piece is played every day on the gramophone, and in the classroom he just watches the other children (and his mother) having their lessons. The proper environment is created for the child. The child will naturally before long take the violin away from his mother, thinking, “I want to play too.” He knows the tune already. The other children are having fun; he wants to join in the fun. We have caused him to acquire this desire.

 Suzuki photo with kids Violin Studio Chris Cavanaugh

We encourage them to “play” with the violin

This situation having been created, lessons are led up to in the following order. First the parent asks,

“Would you like to play the violin too?”
The answer is yes!
“You will practice hard?”
“All right; let’s ask the teacher if you can join in next time.”

This always succeeds. What a thrill the first private lesson always is! “I did it too,” the child boasts. “Now I can play with the other children.” Parents who understand children make fine teachers. In the classroom there are private lessons and group lessons. Parents who do not understand children think they are paying for the private lessons and that the group lessons are just recreation periods. So although they make sure that their children attend the private lessons, they often fail to bring them to the group lessons. But the fact is that what the children enjoy most is the group playing. They play with children who are more advanced than they are; the influence is enormous and is marvelous for their training. This is the real talent education.

From Suzuki Violin Studio,

Manchester NH, (603) 785 1884