Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shinichi Suzuki

I've been studying up on the Suzuki music method out of curiosity...I hear so much about it but I never really knew much.  I found some books online that were either about him, or written by him, but our library only had one - so that's what I've been reading.  Utterly fascinating.  The book is: "Ability Development From Age Zero".

Sadly, I forgot until I was almost done reading to put page numbers by my quotes...don't know what I was thinking.

** Have children give a weekly (musical) performance for Dad and family.  Have Dad clap!  Dad should request another performance the following week.  (This is to motivate your young children to keep practicing.)

**"The ability to concentrate for long periods of time can be nurtured".  Start by presenting fun tasks which he can do.

How to teach your child a skill
1.  Begin as early as possible
2.  Create the best possible environmnet
3.  Use the finest teaching method
4.  Provide a great deal of training
5.  Use the finest teachers

** Daily pray for your child
"A prayer is when you whisper the hopes of your heart".
"The real heart of a parent is prayerful".

** "Watch the actions you inspire in your child through your attitude.  Respect them.  Speak pleasantly" (as you would someone else's kid).

** "The heart that feels music will feel people.  If we listen to the music of Bach or Mozart, we can feel the hearts of Bach and Mozart in their music.  Maybe at first only the melody is understood, but after continuous listening it is possible to understand all of the religious, sensitive, overpowering personality of Bach...This is the beauty and wonder of music".

** "I have concluded that anger is unnecessary in human life.  Practice not being angry instead of developing an ability for anger".

** "If a child is brought up to have a beautiful heart and wonderful abilities, with love for others and the happiness of being loved, then the mission of a parent is ended.  The way (to make a living) will open up for the child later.  Parents need not worry whether or not their child will succeed".

**  "Having great ability means having a deep and great ability of the heart".  (regarding musical ability specifically) pg 59

** "We do not have to become professional musicians...If, as a person works at playing the violin well, he develops the talent to overcome any difficult problem by working, then the talent will be born to accomplish even the hardest problems easily."  pg 62

**  "A real meaning of sophistication is to be sensitive to another person's feelings, and have respect for their point of view".  pg 63

Later, Suzuki talks about the importance of parents in education and how it is ultimately their responsibility.  He thinks it is stupid when a school asks parents for their cooperation.  He said that is backwards...the parents should be asking the school for their cooperation in the education of their children. 

Some of the things that I didn't agree with Suzuki about -
From what I can tell, he pretty much goes with the Tabula Rasa view of children and says that it is mainly environment that shapes their later proclivities.  He says you can't say that a five year old has a "gift" for music without taking into consideration the experiences that they have had for the five years leading up to the discovery of this gift.  While I agree that children can be taught many things and talents can be developed (not every talent has to be inherent from birth) - I do think that we come to earth with different personality traits and talents already part of us.  He applies this same theory to raising a good child - it's all based on how the parent interacts with their child that will determine what sort of adult the child turns out to be.  While I don't agree with his underlying assumption, the way he describes we should interact with our children was interesting and made me feel like I could use some more work on the subject.
He gives an interesting example in how our attitudes shape our children:
If the mother says, "Take a bath while the water is still hot", she is more likely to be obeyed than if she says,  "The water is hot, so hurry up and take a bath, or else!".  
Ok.  I get it.  Stop being grumpy.  ;-)  I'm trying!!!

And while I'm on the blog.  It is in my memory that someone here (one of Andrea's sisters????) is currently living in Switzerland.  Is that right?  Because I'd like to speak at them.  ;-)  My husband, sister, brother-in-law, and my parents are going to be in Interlaken for a week next summer.  We're staying at the Hotel Victoria-Jungfrou.  I'm wondering if you have any tips for traveling, must-see's, etc.  None of us speak German, and I'm hoping that won't be a problem.  I'd also like to see the Swiss Temple if we have time, and I'm wondering how far away that is and what the best way to travel there might be.

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