At Momentum, our students experience music daily and our teaching is inspired by the Suzuki Method. Suzuki and Montessori learning philosophies go hand-in-hand. Where Montessori fosters engagement in our natural environments and child-led learning experiences, Suzuki also encourages exploration, teamwork and creating a sense of community through music. Both cultivate a spirit of independence and creative problem-solving in children that will serve them well into the future.
When it comes to learning, kids are naturals. A child raised in a home where multiple languages are spoken will likely learn all of them with ease. They’re proverbial sponges – soaking up an incredible amount of knowledge in early childhood. Their potential for growth is immense, especially when their teachers understand how they learn.
When Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki developed his teaching method, also called the mother-tongue approach, he realized how easily children are able to acquire language skills and applied that thinking to how they might also understand music. His approach includes many of the same elements found in a child’s natural learning environment, like parents as teachers, constant repetition and abundant encouragement.
Some of the key foundations of the Suzuki Method include:
Parents are the pillars of learning for most children – we teach them how to walk, eat, talk, socialize and problem-solve. In Suzuki learning, parents are encouraged to take on the role of teachers at home, helping their child to practise and learn. In typical Suzuki lessons outside of the school, parents also attend the class.
The amount of learning that occurs in early childhood is truly miraculous. Suzuki believes that music can and should be part of that learning experience from the start, as those early years are an important time for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Ideally, lessons begin at age three or four, but it’s never too late to jump in!
Consider how many times a child hears a word before they speak it. Listening is a critical part of the learning experience in language development, as well as music. Listening to music and to the Suzuki repertoire in particular, is something that should happen daily.
When children learn a piece of music, it becomes a part of their knowledge library, the same way a new word becomes a part of their vocabulary. Constant repetition is an important part of learning to play any instrument.
Children are most eager to learn when their efforts are met with kind encouragement and praise. Every child learns at their own pace and it’s important to rally them along as they make improvements, however small. Playing together with their peers, kids learn to encourage one another as well.
Participating in group music activities gives children opportunities to motivate each other and to collaborate.
Children learn to talk well before they learn how to read. With Suzuki teaching, little musicians first develop basic technical competence before learning to read music.