"The main concern for parents should be to bring up their children as noble human beings. That is sufficient. If this is not their greatest hope, in the end the child may take a road contrary to their expectations. Children can play very well. We must try to make them splendid in mind and heart also."- Dr. Shinichi Suzuki
The early years of every child's life are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. In the Suzuki method, children often start their formal training at age three or four, but it is never too late to learn.
Suzuki strongly believed that parents should be involved in the musical learning of their child. Parents should attend lessons with the child and serve as "home teachers" during the week. Parents should also work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.
Suzuki believed that listening to music should begin at birth. Listening to music every day is important-- especially to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire--- so the child recognizes them and learns more quickly.
Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument. Children do not learn a word or piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.
As with language, the child's effort to learn an instrument should be met with sincere praise and encouragement. Each child learns at his/her own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered. Children are also encouraged to support each other's efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.
Learning with Other Children
In addition to private lessons, children participate in regular group lessons and performances with other children. This allows them to gain great friendships with kids their own age, and stay motivated by watching the 'older kids' perform.