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Shinichi Suzuki

Any child who is properly trained can develop musical ability, just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. The potential of every child is unlimited.

Where love is deep, much can be accomplished.
—Shinichi Suzuki

violin and bowShinichi Suzuki, the founder of the Suzuki method, was born on October 17, 1898 in Nagoya, Japan and died on January 26, 1998 in Matsumoto, Japan at the age of 99. Suzuki was born into a large family and spent his childhood working in his father’s violin factory putting up violin soundposts.

He taught himself to play the violin when he was 17 after listening to a recording of the violinist Mischa Elman. He began his studies by listening to recordings and trying to imitate what he heard. Two years later, he began formal training in Germany with Karl Klinger.

It was during World War II that Suzuki began teaching children and formulating the philosophies that are now known in the Western world as the “Suzuki method.” Suzuki himself, however, did not view his philosophies as a method. Rather, he called his teaching “Talent Education.”

When Suzuki died in 1998, there was a a great sense of loss among students, teachers and performers all over the world. Robert Klotman said,

With the passing of Shinichi Suzuki, the music world has lost a distinguished philosopher-pedagogue. He was more than a music pedagogue, Suzuki was a unique human being who was concerned with the emotional welfare of all humanity and used his artistry to further his commitment. His teaching reflected his philosophy that there were no limitations to the capabilities of young people. There have been many emulators, but no one will ever replace him.

(Racin, L.R. 1998. In memorial: Shinichi Suzuki. American String Teacher, 48:2.)

bass, cello, viola, and violin