Dr Shinichi Suzuki developed a method of teaching music after observing the ease in which young children could pick up their native language. Using the same principle, he believed that if a young child is surrounded in the correct musical environment, they will pick up the skill with ease from a very early age. Playing an instrument is therefore not thought of as a 'talent', but more a skill that any child has the capability to learn, provided they are given the necessary support.
Having formulated this theory, Dr Suzuki set up an institute of music in Matsumoto, Japan, using his 'mother tongue' approach of teaching. The success of his method was soon marvelled upon in the USA when he took a group of his students in 1964. Audiences were astounded at the confidence and musical competence with which Dr Suzuki's students performed and his acclaimed method continues to spread throughout the world today.
Perhaps the main difference between Suzuki's method and traditional methods of teaching is that being able to play a musical instrument is not the sole intended outcome of the training. Despite the high standard of musicianship demonstrated amongst Suzuki pupils, Suzuki stressed that the main objective of his method was to create well-rounded individuals.
Musicians who follow this method develop life skills such as concentration and sensitivity that can be applied to all walks of their life and not just music. His theory was that children studying his method would grow into pleasant and respectable adults and lead enriched lives. In order for this to be the case, each student must be 'nurtured with love'.