Inspired by Shin’ichi Suzuki’s “Nurtured by Love.”
First off, go read this book. Regardless of any intention to expose your kids to music, I can’t recommend it enough for any parent of young children. It’s actually a very moving book; philosophical in nature regarding talent education for children.
If the term “talent education” makes you cringe, don’t worry. It’s not what you think. Here’s the premise: isn’t it kind of a miracle that kids everywhere have learned to speak their language? Why is learning to speak such a given for everyone, yet we chalk up other “talents” like musical ability as something some people have and others don’t? The difference is in how it’s taught. The way we teach language is not how we teach just about everything else. The more we understand how children really learn, the more intentional we can be in how we navigate their early development.
Like many parents, I like the idea of my kids learning how to play music. I’d like them to have the confidence of learning new skills. I’d like them to have experience with the discipline of practice. I’d like their little brains to get the cognitive benefits of music. In a perfect world, considering I have limited musical ability and trend towards laziness, this can be accomplished by taking them to music lessons once a week and having the teacher instill it all – with the eager cooperation of the kids. No resentment, no negative association, and happily ever after with Christmas full of living room concerts.
I didn’t have to read a book to know it’s more complicated than that. What I did get, aside from general inspiration, is some perspective on how to better facilitate the learning process. You don’t just sit them down and enforce music skills, because that’s not what we do with language.
So I’m in. I started taking Nashi to Suzuki classes in November, and will follow this post up with how it’s gone so far, along with updates on the ongoing saga. Lots more to come. Unless I give up.