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Every Child Can

Every Child Can

by Mary Ann

based on Every Child Can produced by the Suzuki Association of the America's

The joy of teaching Suzuki piano comes from the basic philosophy which is so positive and uplifting. "Every Child Can" is the first principle taught to new trainees in the Suzuki approach. Just as every child learns his native tongue every child can learn music. When you have a child you know that child will learn your language. You never second guess that ability or think, "Well, if he can't learn English he doesn't have to. Or maybe if he can't learn English he can learn German instead." No! You know your child can and will learn your native language. This same approach and faith in your child can be used in learning music.

When your baby babbles at first you don't say "That's not speaking! Start speaking." No! You say "Look at him! He's talking." You imitate his sounds back to him and talk to him all the time even when he doesn't respond. When he is starting to talk you are so excited. You encourage, coax, praise, and surround the child with people who speak the language proficiently.

When your child starts speaking in phrases and sentences you don't tell them that isn't grammatically correct. No! You smile and tell him how cute he is. Then you say the sentence correctly so he can copy you. The child doesn't quit because it's "too hard". He gladly keeps trying to say phrases and sentences correctly in order to please you and all those around him who are speaking so well - just how he wants to.

By the time your child starts to read he has mastered a fabulous amount of skill in his native language. He articulates and expresses himself well, communicates effectively, and has mastered nuances of the spoken word. Reading is an entirely new skill. It is a symbolic representation of the words the child already knows. It is taught separately from speaking. In learning to read once again the child takes small steps, is encouraged along the way, and, over time, masters the skill.

Hopefully you can see the parallels between learning one's native language and the potential for learning music. If you want your child to learn music you as the parent must surround the child with music just as a child is surrounded by language. As the child starts to experiment with sounds - singing, dancing, playing and instrument - you must be encouraging and positive. You must model the behavior you want your child to have. You must listen to good music. You must value music. If possible you should play an instrument - even if imperfectly - to show the child that music has value to you. You must create the positive, rich environment in which music ability and desire will thrive.

As Dr. Suzuki observed "Music exists for the purpose of growing and admirable heart...The heart that feels music will feel people...The ability to feel music means understanding the human heart." Every child can learn music; every child can grow an admirable heart; every child can learn to understand the human heart. What a great aspiration for our children as they are growing. "Every Child Can." That is the basic belief of the Suzuki philosophy. Will you make it your philosophy? Will you make sure that your child can?

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