Every Child Can Learn
More than forty years ago, Suzuki realized the implications
of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their
native language with ease. He began to apply the basic
principles of language acquisition to the learning of
music, and called his method the mother-tongue
approach. The ideas of parent responsibility, loving
encouragement, constant repetition, etc., are some of the
special features of the Suzuki approach.

Parent Involvement
As when a child learns to talk, parents are involved in the
musical learning of their child. They attend lessons with
the child and serve as "home teachers" during the week.
One parent often learns to play before the child, so that
s/he understands what the child is expected to do.
Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable
learning environment.
Early Beginning
The early years are crucial for developing mental processes
and muscle coordination. Listening to music should begin
at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four, but it
is never too late to begin.

Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds
of times by others. Listening to music every day is important,
especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the
child knows them immediately.

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

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 at which they learn from and are
motivated by each other.

Graded Repertoire
Children do not practice exercises to learn to talk, but use language
for its natural purpose of communication and self-expression. Pieces
in the Suzuki repertoire are designed to present technical problems to
be learned in the context of the music rather than through dry
technical exercises.

Delayed Reading
Children learn to read after their ability to talk has been well
established. In the same way, children should develop basic
technical competence on their instruments before being taught to
read music.

Suzuki Association of the Americas
The Suzuki Philosophy