Infants Are Like Seedlings
Suzuki said that infants are like seedlings. We don’t let a sprout whither and then give it a lot of fertilizer, sunlight, and water, thinking that is the right time to grow. It’s too late for the withered sprout. Likewise, we don’t set children aside until they enter kindergarten saying that’s when education begins.
Suzuki said you don’t expect a bumper crop when you plant nothing. What you will get will be whatever seeds happen to land in the field. Likewise, parents should not leave education up to chance. If they do, they won’t get what they hoped for.
Plant early enough in the season! Suzuki told a story about Darwin who was asked by a mother when she should start educating her one and a half year-old son. Darwin told her she was a year and a half too late.
Suzuki observed how children learn by watching the way they learned to talk. Children begin to talk a lot between the ages of 2 and 5. They seem to learn to speak almost overnight once they begin. He says a young baby learns one word at first, which is repeated by the adults around him or her. Then later another word is added, but the first word is not dropped. He based his teaching Method on the way a baby learns language. He says to start with listening to music. Immerse the infant with good music.
Very, Very Early Suzuki Training!
Start your Suzuki training from the time of birth. Not because you want your child to be an Einstein. But because you really do know it is the right thing to do. Surround the infant with good music. Since infants hear and absorb the sounds of their environment, play good music softly in the background. Play it at home and in the car. Learning to play violin, for a baby, is simply listening to music.
From birth to age 3 is the best time to develop an ear for music. Play one piece repeatedly during the day. The music should be played softly. Just loud enough to know it is on. Suzuki says that if you play a five-minute piece of Mozart, for example, every day, by 5 months old the baby has learned it.
He says test this: play a different piece of music for the baby; then switch to the familiar piece. Observe the baby’s response. For the 1st piece, the baby will listen intently and his or her eyes will be absorbed. As soon as the music switches to the familiar piece, the baby will smile, look for his mother, and may even shake his or her body to the rhythm of the old piece.
Suzuki says the piece has become the baby’s music—a comfort.
Eventually add more pieces, one at a time. The result is “a heightened musical sensitivity” similar to that of the acquisition of language.
Choose Beautiful Music
Select beautiful music from the European masters. It has sophistication and intricacy which appeals to children. You wouldn’t put off looking at beautiful masterpieces and only focus on simple sketches. Likewise, babies shouldn’t have to listen to simple melodies only, without the opportunity to hear masterpieces.
Babies don’t need to understand the music. Music is sensed, not understood. Adults don’t necessarily understand music, but they certainly can feel it. So it is with infants.
Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Following the ideas of early exposure to good music, Dorothy Jones created an early childhood education program in 1993 which was approved by the International Suzuki Association. Suzuki Early Childhood Education is developed on the same principles as that of the Suzuki Method for teaching children to play a musical instrument. Our studio introduces SECE classes in September 2017 for ages 0-3!
And when baby is around 3, a good Suzuki Violin Program for your child would be:
1. Begin as early as possible
2. Create the best possible environment
3. Use the finest teaching method
4. Provide a great deal of training
5. Use the finest teachers
“The fate of a child is in the hands of his parents.” Shinichi Suzuki