Monday, July 31, 2017

Nurtured by Love by Suzuki

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I liked reading Shinichi Suzuki's book Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education in general, but it wasn't life-changing. I liked the first half better than the second half, because I felt it got too much into general life philosophy and not so much music education. But the part about the earlier the better for educating kids, learning music like one learns a language, exposing them to classical music and helping them learn it from an early age was all great. I like the similarities I saw between Suzuki's and Maria Montessori's views on what she termed "the absorbant mind." They both saw that children 0-6 will absorb everything in their environment without descrimination.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"In my opinion the child who cannot do arithmetic is not below average in intelligence; it is the educational system that is wrong."

"For thirty years not I have been pleading with people to believe that all children can be well educated, and not to turn away those who drop behind in learning. I named my method Talent Education, and began an educational movement in which children dropping behind or struggling to get along are not turned away."

"According to Mr. Miyazawa, you must begin training a bird soon after birth. In the beginning you must have much perseverance, energy and patience."

"It is a frightening fact. By no means only words or music, but everything, good or bad, is absorbed."

"Talent is not inborn, it has to be created. If one knows this, he or she can be buoyed up with hope even though the road is one of hardship and distress. Exertion is always beneficial as long as one is aware that it is goal oriented."

"Here I only want you to remember one thing - repetition. After one has learned a thing, it should be thoroughly mastered by repeating it again and again."

"There is no limit to our shortcomings. Until we die, we should spare no time or effort in changing our weaknesses to merits. To do so can be pleasant and interesting."

"If we cannot be patient, but stop a project halfway through - then later start again, drop it, start again and so on - this kind of repetition will not bring good results."

"The motto of my alma mater, Nagoya Commercial Schooo, was 'First character, then ability.' These words were inscribed on a tablet that hung in the lecture hall. This principle has been a light to my path all my life and is written on my heart. Fine scholars, artists, businessmen, and politicians alike succeed in their fields only if they are fine men."

"The purpose of Talent Education is to train children, not to be professional musicians but to be fine musicians and to show high ability in any other field they enter."

"There has been no thorough research into how ability is acquired. The word education implies two concepts: to educe, which means to 'bring out, develop from latent or potential existence' (Concise Oxford Dictionary), as well as to instruct. But the emphasis in schools is only on the instruction aspect, and the real meaning of education is totally forgotten."

"'I should write a letter' - 'I should reply to a letter.' If you think so, write immediately. You are not doing anything at the time but just think you will wait and do it later. Even small tasks should not be neglected, but completed right away. It is very importante to be able to do this. People who get a lot done manage it becasue they have the ability to get each necessary thing done right there and then."

"If they have learned the wrong fa by hearing it five thousand times, on must make them listen to the right fa six thousand or seven thousand times. At first there are no results, but after hearing the right fa three thousand, then four thousand times, and when the number reaches five and six thousand times, the ability to produce a correct fa acquired by listening to it six thousand times begins to take precedence over the ability to produce the wrong fa that was acquired by listening only five thousand times."

"But I have found that the most important thing is 'memory talent education.' The ability to memorize is one of the most vital skills and must be deeply inculcated."

"Until the parent can play one piece, the child does not play at all. This principle is very important indeed, because although the parents may want him to do so, a three or four-year-old child has no desire to learn the violin. The idea is to get the child to say, 'I want to play too'."

"Practicing according to the correct method and practicing as much as possible is the way to acquire ability. If one is faithful to the principle, superiod skill develops without fail. If you compare a person who practices five minutes a day with one who practices three hours a day, the difference, even though they both practice daily, is enormous. Those who fail to practice sufficiently fail to acquire ability. Only the effort that is actually expended will bear results."

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