The Suzuki Philosophy is truly the foundation of the Suzuki Method, and can be divided into four main ideas. Of course, these are just an overview, but they are a great place to start:
Having the parents be involved in the lesson is one of the main foundations of the Suzuki Method. The parent not only acts as a scribe during the lesson, but learns alongside their child, and becomes the teacher during weekly practice. They also provide support during the lesson and practice, and at solo recitals. With the parent involved in every lesson, all three people are regarded as equally important, and is referred to as the Suzuki Triangle. I take this a step further, and think of the student, the parent, and the teacher as the base of a pyramid, with the instrument at the top. When we all work together, the goal of learning to play the cello becomes much easier.
Dr. Suzuki found that, when a child is put into the best environment for them to learn, any child can flourish, and reach their highest potential. Over the years, I have found that when we create a nurturing environment during the lessons and practice, children not only have an accelerated learning process, but grow comfortable around the instrument much faster, and are willing to take on challenges with an open mind.
Children learn to speak by listening and imitating the spoken word around them. When learning an instrument, the same idea applies: when the student listens to the Suzuki repertoire every day, they are able to learn the pieces much faster than if they worked by themselves. In fact, listening to any piece, by any instrument will help the students grow as a musician, as they are surrounding themselves with excellent performances, and begin to see that as the ideal for themselves.
In the Suzuki Method, emphasis is not only put on the private lessons, but on group classes, as well. This is usually three or more students around the same level, learning at the same time. The benefits of this are numerous, both musically, and socially. Group classes help the students hear how they sound in a group, and help them adjust to match their sounds to those around them, which is the foundation of orchestral and chamber music performing. It also creates an environment of support, by teaching them to be part of a team. I made many of my friends in middle and high school through group classes!
One final point for the Philosophy, and probably the most important:
Dr. Suzuki's main aim with the Suzuki Method was not to create musicians, but to create better human beings. As he himself said, “Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.”