Shin´ichi Suzuki (1898-1998), Japanese music educator, believed that musical talent is not an inborn gift, but an ability that anyone can develop with the "right education." Suzuki was not a scientist or a researcher, and did not support his ideas with organized studies. However, contemporary research on music learning supports his teaching philosophy and methodology.
The attached Bibliography is from a 1998 Master's Thesis reporting on music learning research organized to prove that the Suzuki method is pedagogically sound. The basis of the discussion is Suzuki's own list of the conditions necessary for ability development: "1) the earlier period; 2) better environment; 3) the better teaching method; 4) more training; and 5) a superior instructor" (Talent Education for Young Children, 1969, 20). In addition to reporting on the research, the thesis also includes a discussion of my own field work, which consists of an interview survey carried out to enhance the knowledge gained from research.
The Bibliography includes books, academic and scientific journals, popular press reports, newspapers, Suzuki literature, and miscellaneous items.
Methods employed include reporting on research in the field of music learning, personal observation, and interview.
Specific topics covered include talent development, the learning process, brain research, music for the very young, and the music learning sequence. The author reports on personal experience with Suzuki and traditional methods. Also included are interviews with parents and educators. Research evidence is then compared with the features of Suzuki teaching.
Based on analysis of the data obtained by the above methods, the author concludes that the teaching principles and techniques employed by Suzuki educators are pedagogically sound and supported by contemporary music learning research.
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Andress, Barbara L. Music in Early Childhood. Washington, DC: Music Educators National Conference, 1973.
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Bigler, Carole, and Valerie Lloyd-Watts. Studying Suzuki Piano: More than Music. Summy-Birchard, 1979.
Blakeslee, Sandra. "At last we can see inside the brain." New York Times 1 June 1993: A1+.
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Critchley, Macdonald, and R. A. Henson. Music and the Brain: Studies in the Neurology of Music. London: William Heinemann Medical Board, 1980.
Critchton, Laura. "Music for Everyone?" British Journal of Music Education 9.3 (1992): 211-15.
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Deliège, Irène, and John Sloboda, eds. Musical Beginnings: Origins and Development of Musical Competence. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
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Feierabend, John. "Music in Early Childhood" in Barbara L. Andress and Linda Miller Walker, Readings in Early Childhood Music Education. Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1992.
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Fifield, Bill, and Janet Aikele. Using the Piano to Help Raise Your Family. Idaho Falls, ID: W. M. Fifield, 1992.
Fox, Donna Brink. "Music Classes for Infants and Toddlers." American Music Teacher 40.6 (June-July 1991): 20+.
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Gardner, Howard. Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic, 1983.
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- - - , ed. Handbook of Music Psychology. Lawrence, KS: National Association for Music Therapy, 1980.
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- - - . My Thoughts on Piano Technique. Trans. Kyoko Selden. Princeton, NJ: Suzuki Method International, 1988.
- - - . Thoughts on the Suzuki Piano School: A Suzuki Method Symposium. Trans. Kyoko Selden. Secaucus, NJ: Suzuki Method International, 1985.
Keim, Katherine. "Why So Young? The Growing Argument for Music Learning Experiences for Very Young Children." The Path (Kindermusikâ Teachers Association) Spring-Summer 1994: 18-19.
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Lawrence, Sidney J., and Nadia Dachinger. "Factors Relating to Carryover of Music Training into Adult Life." Journal of Research in Music Education 15 (1976): 23-31.
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McDonald, Dorothy T., and Gene M. Simons. Musical Growth and Development: Birth Through Six. New York: Schirmer, 1989.
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First Online Edition: 16 March 2003
Last Revised: 25 March 2003