Week 1 - The Goal

“To create an environment for children, free from pressure in which they can gain skills, a sense of purpose in life, an understanding of discipline and an appreciation of beauty.”


The Suzuki Method of learning involves the child, parent and teacher.  Each one is as important as the other and we need each other to create ‘The Goal’.

The environment we create is both in class and at home too. Listen to the CD, sing and do the action songs together everyday. This will also help us achieve ‘The Goal’.

The skills they develop are not just musical skills, but social and emotional. Watch your child (and the others) grow in each class, becoming more confident and learning how to socialise with both children and adults.

 

Week 2 - Every Child Can

"Every child has the potential to develop amazing ability"
Dr Suzuki - Young Children's Talent Education and Its Method


Children develop skills through repetition. The more advanced they become at these skills the more we extend their learning with gradually layering new skills on top of the old. Thorough mastery of one skill allows the next skill is to be easily learned. Children love repetition, but adults, however, become ‘tired’ of it! Try and be the best role model to your children by having fun and enjoy repetition!

Parents must not ‘hurry’, ‘give up’ or ’compare’ their children to others. Every child can, but every child will do it at their own pace.

Suzuki Method talks about the “Mother Tongue Method” of learning. The “Mother Tongue Method” is learning music in the way that a child learns their own language, through repetition and praise. When a child speaks their first word, the parent will praise the child and encourage them to say it again. We can use this same ‘method’ in the learning of music.

Just as every child learns how to speak their own language, every child can learn music.

 

Week 3 - Parent involvement in education is crucial

"The fate of the child is in the hands of the parent."
Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero

“When parents are supportive and actively help children, their accurate feedback helps the process of learning to focus and learning becomes thoroughly mastered. Although a child learns by experience to avoid a hot stove after touching it, the feedback for much learning is more often muted and needs to be supported by an adult.”
Dorothy Jones

"Children behave the same as their parents. They absorb the actions of their parents by merely watching them...Children only know the way their parents act and so they act accordingly."
Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero

"Small children do not learn by will power, they learn as a natural function of growth."
Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero

"An unlimited amount of ability can develop when parent and child are having fun together."
Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero

 

Week 4 - Why Music?

"Our purpose does not lie in a movement to create professional musicians, but to create persons of a beautiful mind and fine ability." Dr Suzuki - Nurtured By Love


Music is not only learning instruments or how to sing, it’s all about life!


Here are just some of the skills the children will develop in class that they can then apply to life:

  • Patience - waiting for your turn and being calm (eg. coping with the anticipation!).

  • Respect for peers, teachers and parents - for example, when someone else is playing the xylophone, everyone is listening, being attentive and supportive.

  • Listening - to people and following instructions.

  • ‘Fine tuning’ the ear to hear and appreciate lots of different sounds.

  • Confidence - to step up and take a turn! This may take time!! And there are many opportunities in class without pressure.

  • Socialization - How to be aware of your surroundings including people and environment. How to pass on gracefully to the next person after your turn.

 

Week 5 - Environment Nurtures Growth

"Talent is not inherited or inborn but has to be educated and developed."
Dr Suzuki - Nurtured By Love

"If a child hears good music and learns to play it himself he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance."
Clifford Cook - Suzuki Education in Action

"Children live, see and feel, and their ability develops to fit their surroundings."
Dr Suzuki - Nurtured By Love

“When parents, teachers and adults around the child are supportive and helpful, when they reward the child with positive feedback for efforts they make and when they show acceptance of the small successes that children have, the environment is nurturing and helpful for growth.”
Dorothy Jones

"The environment determines the person."
Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero

"It is a superior environment that has the greatest effect in creating superior abilities."
Dr Suzuki - Nurtured By Love

 

Week 6 - Encouragement is Essential

"Where love is deep, much can be accomplished"
Dr Suzuki

“The social reward of a supportive parent or adult (or other child) will speed the learning and remove doubt about what constitutes success in a child's learning experience. No encouragement negates the fundamental reward of success in any learning experience. It is possible for the physical environment to provide the reward necessary but if there is no encouragement from any aspect, the learning is not complete.”
Dorothy Jones

"If a child is able to write neatly...he should be praised for that ability and encourages to become better so that his motivation will increase."
Dr Suzuki

 

Week 7 - Success Breeds Success

"Develop ability from what a child can already do and that ability will promote the happiness of doing things better and better. An unlimited amount of ability can develop when parent and child are having fun together. It is simple but often overlooked."
Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero

"...extremely easy material was chosen at the start, and all the children accomplished what was set with no mistakes and full marks. This was a start in building confidence and enthusiasm. He made sure that every child understood the material and made no mistakes."
Dr Suzuki - The Law of Ability an The 'Mother Tongue Method' of Education

“Success in any task has some implicit rewards but when the environment provides some social or physical rewards like approval or a hug, the child quickly learns to repeat the effort.”
Dorothy Jones

"Ability develops through practice."
Dr Suzuki - Nurtured By Love

 

Week 8 - Children Learm from One Another

“The social reward of a supportive parent or adult (or other child) will speed the learning and remove doubt about what constitutes success in a child's learning experience. No encouragement negates the fundamental reward of success in any learning experience. It is possible for the physical environment to provide the reward necessary but if there is no encouragement from any aspect, the learning is not complete.”
Dorothy Jones

"If a child is able to write neatly...he should be praised for that ability and encourages to become better so that his motivation will increase."
Dr Suzuki

"Where love is deep, much can be accomplished"
Dr Suzuki

 

Week 9 - Ability Develops Early

"There is no telling to what heights children can attain if we educate them properly right after birth."

Dr Suzuki - Nurtured by Love

"Ability is not inherited, rather every baby is born with an equal potential for ability which will be nurtured along with the living soul throughout his life."

Dr Suzuki - The Wonderful Strength of the Living Soul

"Nurturing is the basis for developing ability."

Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero

"Children learn abilities best when they are having fun."

Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero

"Everyone has a sprout of talent."

Dr Suzuki - Ability Development from Age Zero

 

Week 10 - Babies 'Cry in Mother's Tongue'

 

Week 11 - The Power of Music

The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people

Article by Susan Hallam

Recent advances in the study of the brain have enhanced our understanding of the way that active engagement with music may influence other activities. The cerebral cortex self-organises as we engage with different musical activities; skills in these areas may then transfer to other activities if the processes involved are similar.

Some skills transfer automatically without our conscious awareness, others require reflection on how they might be utilised in a new situation.

Speech​

Speech and music have a number of shared processing systems.

Musical experiences which enhance processing can, therefore, impact on the perception of language which in turn impacts on learning to read. Active engagement with music sharpens the brain’s early encoding of linguistic sound.

Eight-year-old children with just 8 weeks of musical training showed improvement in perceptual cognition compared with controls.

Speech makes extensive use of structural auditory patterns based on timbre differences between phonemes. Musical training develops skills which enhance perception of these patterns. This is critical in developing phonological awareness which in turn contributes to learning to read successfully. Speech processing requires similar processing to melodic contour.

Eight-year-old children with musical training outperformed controls on tests of music and language.

Learning to discriminate differences between tonal and rhythmic patterns and to associate these with visual symbols seems to transfer to improved phonemic awareness.

Learning to play an instrument enhances the ability to remember words through enlargement of the left cranial temporal regions.

Musically trained participants remembered 17% more verbal information that those without musical training. Children experiencing difficulties with reading comprehension have benefitted from training in rhythmical performance.

Numeracy​

Research exploring the relationships between mathematics and active musical engagement has had mixed results, in part, because not all mathematics’ tasks share underlying processes with those involved in music.

Transfer is dependent on the extent of the match, for instance, children receiving instruction on rhythm instruments scored higher on part-whole maths problems than those receiving piano and singing instruction.

Intellectual development

Learning an instrument has an impact on intellectual development, particularly spatial reasoning.

A review of 15 studies found a ‘strong and reliable’ relationship, the author likening the differences to one inch in height or about 84 points on standardised school tests.

A study contrasting the impact of music lessons (standard keyboard, Kodaly voice) with drama or no lessons found that the music groups had reliably larger increases in IQ.

Children in the control groups had average increases of 4.3 points while the music groups had increases of 7 points.

On all but 2 of the 12 subtests the music group had larger increases than control groups.

General attainment and creativity

There is a consistent relationship between active engagement in music and general attainment but much research has been unable to partial out confounding factors.

A recent study, adopting more sensitive statistical modelling overcame these difficulties.

Two nationally representative data sources in the USA with data from over 45,000 children found that associations between music and achievement persisted even when prior attainment was taken into account.

Music participation enhances measured creativity, particularly when the musical activity itself is creative, for instance, improvisation.

Personal and social development

General attainment may be influenced by the impact that music has on personal and social development.

Playing an instrument can lead to a sense of achievement; an increase in self-esteem; increased confidence; persistence in overcoming frustrations when learning is difficult; self-discipline; and provide a means of self-expression.

These may increase motivation for learning in general thus supporting enhanced attainment.

Participating in musical groups promotes friendships with like-minded people; self-confidence; social skills; social networking; a sense of belonging; team-work; self-discipline; a sense of accomplishment; co-operation; responsibility; commitment; mutual support; bonding to meet group goals; increased concentration and provides an outlet for relaxation.

Research in the USA on the benefits of band participation found that 95% of parents believed that participation in band provided educational benefits not found in other classrooms.

Working in small musical groups requires the development of trust and respect and skills of negotiation and compromise.

In adolescence, music makes a major contribution to the development of self-identity and is seen as a source of support when young people are feeling troubled or lonely.

Emotional Intelligence

Music has been linked to the capacity to increase emotional sensitivity.

The recognition of emotions in music is related to emotional intelligence.

Increasing the amount of classroom music within the curriculum can increase social cohesion within class; greater self-reliance; better social adjustment and more positive attitudes, particularly in low ability, disaffected pupils.

The positive effects of engagement with music on personal and social development will only occur if, overall, it is an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

The quality of the teaching, the extent to which individuals perceive that they are successful, and whether in the long term it is a positive experience will all contribute to the nature of any personal or social benefits.

Physical development, health and wellbeing

Rhythmic accompaniment to physical education enhances the development of physical skills.

Learning to play an instrument enhances fine motor co-ordination.

There may be particular health benefits for singing in relation to the immune system, breathing, adopting good posture, improved mood, and stress reduction.

The research has been carried out with adults but these benefits could equally apply to children.

 

Week 12 - The Benefits of Music

The Benefits of Music on Child Development


By Jovanka Ciares and Paul Borgese

Childhood is an exciting, fun and challenging period of life. Every new experience is an opportunity to learn and grow.

It is the most critical time for building the physical, mental and emotional foundations that will support us for the rest of our lives.


As parents and loved ones, we should strive to give our children the tools to build a successful life, and one of the best choices you can make for your children is giving them the gift of music.

We should encourage our children as early as possible to listen to and make music.

Children can start by listening to their favourite songs and accompanying the music with simple instruments made from household products and they can then advance to playing more complex musical instruments and perhaps even take formal lessons.


Music and Skill Development

In addition to improving creativity, learning music cultivates many skills that will continue to be useful to your children throughout their lives.

The following are some of the skills that listening to music and taking music lessons help develop in children.

Concentration

Learning a musical instrument will help your child develop concentration, as they must focus on a particular activity over extended periods of time.

Developing concentration in this way also will help them when they must focus their attention on other subjects at school.

Coordination

Practising musical instruments improves hand-eye coordination. Children develop important motor skills when playing music just as they do when playing different sports.

Relaxation

More and more, music therapy is being used to complement more traditional forms of medicine.

Researchers acknowledge that certain types of music can aid relaxation by lowering heart rates and blood pressure.

Patience and Perseverance

In order to learn a musical instrument, children must develop patience and perseverance, which will help them later in life when they must tackle other more difficult challenges.

Self-Confidence

The act of learning and playing an instrument, the encouragement of a teacher and the enthusiasm of a proud parent, will build in a child a sense of pride and confidence.

Moreover, children who practice self-expression and creativity often become better communicators later in life.


Researchers also have found a significant relationship between music instruction and positive performances in such areas as:

  • reading comprehension

  • spelling

  • mathematics

  • listening skills

  • primary mental abilities (verbal, perceptual, numeric, spatial)

  • motor skills.

 

Week 13 - Rhyme Time

Babies love rhymes


Before birth, babies hear the rhythmic beat of their mother's heart.

Shortly after birth, they are conscious of different rhythms, including their own sucking rhythms as well as breathing and rocking.

They seem ready to tune into rhythms of speech - in fact, babies seem to pay more attention to rhymes and be more responsive to them than to normal speech.

Why rhymes are so good for babies and toddlers:

  • Your baby has your undivided attention and your face is close, so they can more easily 'read' and later imitate the sounds.

  • Your speech is softer, slower and higher-pitched than normal speech, which makes understanding easier and reflects your love for your child.

  • Most rhymes include some physical interaction, which adds fun and surprise and gives opportunities for smiles and laughter.

  • Your child will learn about turn-taking, listening and joining in - all essential skills for communicating.

  • Your child will become familiar with repeated rhymes and will take comfort from them.

  • Singing or reciting rhymes with your child increases word acquisition.

But rhymes are also good for adults!

  • Some adults find it difficult to talk to babies. Saying a rhyme can be an effective way of starting communication and sustaining interaction, as the baby is likely to respond enthusiastically and want more.

  • Rhymes provide ideal one-to-one bonding situations

  • Rhymes can sooth your baby

  • No equipment is needed

Presentation:

  • Make sure your baby is 'in the mood' before you begin. Your baby or toddler should be looking at you

  • Introduce and accompany the rhymes with a running commentary, such as "Listen to me. Time to stop now. Well done."

  • Give lots of praise when your child joins in. Children like an audience!

  • Add fun by the way you use your voice. Pause to add suspense

  • Begin with familiar rhymes, which comfort your child, and work towards the new

  • Turn off the TV and radio so your voice can be clearly heard

  • Personalise rhymes by adding your child's name where possible

  • Make it fun! The more engaged your child is, the more likely it is that he will acquire words

Recommended nursery rhymes:

  • Birth to 2 years of age

    • ​This Little Piggy

    • Hush-a-Bye Baby

    • One-Two Buckle my Shoe

    • Pat-a-Cake

    • What Can the Matter Be?

  • 2 to 3 years of age

    • ​Old McDonald

    • London Bridge

    • Incy Wincy Spider

    • Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

    • The Wheels on the Bus

    • Row, Row, Row your Boat.

 

Week 14 - Active Participation

Why active parental involvement in music during infancy?

Review by Ahna Jensen - Registered Suzuki Violin Teacher & Accredited Suzuki ECE Teacher

Is active participation in music really necessary during infancy? Why not put on The Wiggles?

Educational infant videos are a growing market, which can reduce the pressures for busy parents.

However, this can also reduce the number of those beneficial and special interactions between infant and parent.

Infants observe and learn from their environment, including through social interaction, and a stimulating and nurturing environment helps mould an infants' mind.

Through the Suzuki Method, both teachers and parents know an active parent-child relationship is crucial to the development of a child.

In 2012 David Gerry, Andrea Unrau and Laurel J. Trainor studied the effects of an active music classes on infants musical, communicative and social development.

The study compared active music classes and passive music classes.

The active music class followed the Suzuki Early Childhood Education (Suzuki ECE) curriculum with a weekly one-hour group class plus home listening and engagement.

In the Suzuki ECE classes, the parent and child were encouraged to actively participate through singing, playing and movement.

The passive music class consisted of synthesized classical music played in the background while parent and child were free to choose an activity from the five stations; art, books, balls, building blocks and stacking cups.

The Suzuki ECE curriculum emphasised singing, movement, infant and parent bonding, repetition of set repertoire and active parental involvement in music-making and infant development.

The passive music class did not have a curriculum and focused more on free play.

The results of the study reiterated Dr Suzuki's belief that active parental involvement is critical.

The infants who participated in the Suzuki ECE classes were found to respond better to communicative gestures, were easier to soothe and were found to be less distressed than the passive music class participants.

The following are some extracts from the discussion in their article:

"The results indicate that when appropriate pedagogical techniques are used, active music classes for infants and parents can accelerate infants' acquisition of culture-specific musical knowledge and can positively influence communication and social interaction between parents and infants. The present findings suggest that the infant brain might be particularly plastic with respect to musical expression".

Music educators debate the age at which it is appropriate to begin musical training and whether there is an optimal order as to when different musical skills should be introduced.

The present results suggest that when parents are actively involved and materials appropriate for infants are utilised, musical training can profitably begin early in infancy.

Toy and educational companies have created musical recordings that require virtually no parent-infant interaction and rely for the most part on inexpressive, synthesized musical sounds, sometimes marketed as being beneficial for infant development.

However, one study on the effects of the popular Baby Einstein™ videos found that infants did not learn words highlighted in the videos in the absence of parental interaction

(From: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Journal 164: Word learning from baby videos by Richert, Robb, Fender and Wartella.).


Music media aimed at busy parents with young children have sometimes become a substitute for infant-parent interaction involving the singing of lullabies and play songs.

Our results suggest that active participation is crucial to fully realising musical, communicative and social benefits of musical experience in early development."

"Children learn to smile from their parents." Dr Suzuki

For full article see: Developmental Science Journal 15:3: Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development by David Gerry, Andrea Unrau and Laurel J. Trainor.

 

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