History — One Man's Vision
Shinichi Suzuki — violinist, educator, philosopher, and humanitarian, was born in 1898. He was the son of Japan's first violin manufacturer. Suzuki worked in the violin factory as a child, but was not interested in playing the violin until he was seventeen.
Suzuki then studied violin in Japan for several years before going to Germany in the 1920's for further studies.
When he returned to Japan, Suzuki formed a quartet with his brothers and toured extensively. During this period, Suzuki became interested in the education of young children.
After World War II, Suzuki saw a great opportunity to enrich the lives of children through music. He based his approach on the belief that musical ability is not an inborn talent, but an ability that can be developed — that the potential of every child can grow if the child is given proper training and learning environment. Noting that children all over the world learn to speak their native language with ease, Suzuki applied the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music. He called his method the mother-tongue approach, or Talent Education.
In 1945, Suzuki was invited to teach at a school in Matsumoto. He accepted with the condition that he could try this new method of teaching very young children. Because he was a violinist, he applied his theories first in teaching them to play violin. (Today the Method includes piano, violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, harp, guitar and recorder)
After a year, Suzuki presented some of his young students at a concert in Tokyo. Listeners were amazed at the performance of the children, and the Talent Education movement began to grow.
Over the next 30 years, Suzuki did extensive research to develop his series of violin repertoire books. He choose his pieces carefully, so they would present musical and technical points in a logical, sequential manner. Other violin teachers studied with Suzuki and began to teach his Method throughout Japan. The Suzuki Method soon spread to the United States and the rest of the world.
Today, Suzuki's idea of teaching peace and understanding through music has gained acceptance by parents and teachers in at least forty countries in Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa and the Americas to join his effort to nurture loving human beings through the mother-tongue approach to music education.
Thousands of children all over the world are now able to gather and play together, overcoming language and cultural barriers through the language of music. The dream of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki is coming true.
Dr. Suzuki died in January 1998, but his beliefs and dream lives on in the children, parents and teachers following his teachings creating better people and making the world a better place to live in.