Andrea Cannon: Guitar Arts Studio
Suzuki Early Childhood Concepts

Every Child Can LearnEvery Child Can Learn
We should hold high expectations for each and every child.  Each child's response to a particular learning exercise will be unique, but whether the child appears to learn quickly or not, learning will occur.  Just as a mother expects that her child will eventually speak, so she should expect each child to excel.  Keep the steps small until mastery is achieved, and then continue to nurture toward excellence.

Ability Develops EarlyAbility Develops Early

Young children are capable of extraordinary accomplishments. If they can learn language, they can accomplish many other tasks as well. An early start, while the pathways in the brain are at their optimum growth rate, will create stronger brain connections and a great foundation on which to build.  The time arrives when the growth rate slows and the chance to develop those abilities has passed.

Environment Nurtures GrowthEnvironment Nurtures Growth
"Change the environment, not the child." Dr. Suzuki said this, and I remember a time when I learned it's meaning very well.  A colleague brought his teenaged son along when he was teaching at a Guitar Workshop.  The boy had lost interest in practicing his classical guitar and was complaining he would rather play rock music and baseball.  At the workshop that year a Trio of students from another town attended, all of whom were excited about guitar and were practicing advanced pieces.  Sitting with these students in class for a week, attending the recitals at which they performed and just 'hanging out' with them had a positive effect on the teacher's son.  He told his dad afterward, "You know, if I really get with it and practice an hour a day, maybe I could…"  The Father said later that no words of his could inspire his son, but changing his environment for that week brought about a big change.  The son is currently attending college and majoring in classical guitar performance!

Children Learn from One AnotherChildren Learn from One Another
In younger children, the chance to see an older student, whom they perceive as being 'like them' motivates them in a way that their parents or adult teachers cannot. They see what another child is doing and they want to do it, too. They believe it is possible for them to achieve what they watched because they've seen another child who is successful at it.

Sucess Breeds SuccessSuccess Breeds Success
With each step achieved, more can be added. The first words may take months to speak, but soon many more follow quickly.  Children love repetition and are happy to continue the learning process if given the opportunity.

Parental Involvement is CriticalParental Involvement is Critical
The parent sees their child more than any other person.  The child hears his mother's voice from before birth.  The parent is, therefore, his child's first teacher.  If this opportunity is maximized, the child's development will be stronger and his future abilities more secure.

Enncouragement is EssentialEncouragement is Essential

A colleague once said, "I have never met anyone who says 'Please, don't praise me!'"  Even though a person may not say it, particularly a baby who cannot yet speak, everyone needs encouragement.  Praise for a good effort, a hug or a smile - all of these communicate acceptance and make a person want to try again.  This is an important facet of creating a desire to learn.

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Andrea Cannon Music © 2011