Honoring Suzuki’s wisdom

Today I received the following quote that inspired me to honor the wisdom of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s philosophy. Unfortunately the “productization” of his ideas, branding of “the Suzuki Method” and packaging it into widely accessible cookbook-style volumes of music has opened the doors to many, widely varying interpretations of the core philosophy.

The excerpt below, written by a non-musician educator (actually a former football coach), captures what I believe is the essence of Suzuki’s wisdom, which is worth remembering as we create the environment that will bring up the next generation.

from Winner’s Circle Network with Lou Tice – 7/9/03 – “All Children Can Learn”

Do you know people who talk about kids who can learn and kids who can’t? Or kids who can be helped and kids who can’t? Well, they are wrong, and I’ll tell you why.

Some 30-odd years ago, the great Japanese teacher, Dr. Suzuki, who taught over 20,000 children to understand and play the violin like virtuosi, had some words of wisdom to  share with us. He said, “People today are like gardeners who look sadly at ruined saplings and shake their heads, saying the seeds must have been bad to start with – not realizing that the seed was all right, and that it was their method of cultivation that was wrong. They go on their mistaken way, ruining plant after plant. It is imperative that the human race escape from this vicious circle.

Dr. Suzuki did not believe that some children were gifted while others were not. He believed that every child could be superior, and that every child could be educated. Talent, he believed, was no accident of birth, but a purposeful effort, a powerful creation.

Let’s teach our children to understand that when they see someone of ability, they see a person who has been carefully taught, and who has worked hard to realize their unlimited potential. Let’s teach them that they have the same unlimited potential. And let’s teach them to believe in sustained effort, self-discipline and self-determination.

We have the ability to raise an entire generation of superstars.

Why would we settle for less?
Lou Tice
The Pacific Institute


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