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February’s book club pick was the quintessential Suzuki “manual,” Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki. I’ve read this book a few times now, and each time I am struck by the wisdom and love that this great man had for children, and for all people. I feel truly honored to carry on his great work, and wish that his world views were more well-known outside of the Suzuki and general music community. I think there is much to be learned from him beyond the application to music education.
Integral to the philosophy of his method is Suzuki’s assertion that talent is not inherent. It’s not something we are born with or not. Everyone have the ability to develop talent. “Once born we must live with ourselves until the day we die. There arises, then, the inevitable question of how to live. If our ability was not nurtured properly, we have to develop it ourselves. Instead of being defeated by misfortune, we have to make something good of our lives. There is no reason to give up in discouragement; it is possible for every person to improve himself.”
What a happy thought! There is no need to despair over our lack of whatever quality it is we wish we had, we just need to get to work and develop it for ourselves. It makes me so happy to see this “growth mindset” philosophy being adopted as mainstream, thanks in part to the work of Carol Dweck. Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy and this idea of “growth mindset” seem to go hand in hand. Alan Duncan wrote an incredible article about growth mindset and the Suzuki method, I highly recommend it.
I know a lot of teachers ask their new Suzuki parents to read this book, so I compiled a simple study guide to go along with it. I have to take rudimentary notes to get anything out of a book, and study guides are extremely helpful for me. I hope it’s helpful for you too!
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