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How Suzuki Method conquered the music world

Despite global success, Japanese teacher dreamed even bigger, wanting to transform society at large

Shinichi Suzuki with young students: The Suzuki Method of music education brought a universalizing and inclusive approach to what had once been regarded as a strictly Western art form. (Courtesy of Talent Education Research Institute)

TOKYO -- Jan. 26 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of the violinist and teacher Shinichi Suzuki, whose approach to early childhood music education is widely known as the Suzuki Method. His program has gained followers around the world and remains popular, with approximately 400,000 children globally learning to play instruments -- including violin, piano, cello, flute and guitar -- the Suzuki way.

The Suzuki Method is based on the idea that the attainment of musical skills can mimic the natural process of an infant acquiring a mother tongue. His approach strives to make music a part of the child's everyday environment, for instance by constantly playing recordings by masters at home while turning the seemingly daunting technical motions of music-making into fun activities.

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