Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education
By Shinichi Suzuki
Despite a deep interest in education and pedagogy, I really haven’t done a lot of reading in the field, even of some of the texts that, like this slim volume, form some of the foundational thinking in modern education theory.
I have, of course, heard of the Suzuki method — it’s one of the most influential approaches to teaching children music and, as far as I’m aware, highly regarded the world over. However I’m not intimately familiar with its ideas, and how they might be applicable not only to music education but to learning in all its forms.
From what I gather, the book focuses on developing talent from an early age — that talent can be learned, can be elicited. With the right instruction and environment and motivation, it can be developed to great heights. This method “concentrates on creating the best environment for child development”, incorporating things like parent involvement, repeated listening, extensive practice, memory training, and the value of good mentorship.
Just from scanning the preview of this book, I’m struck by how clear and concise it is, in both language and ideas. The preface is barely more than a page long, and Suzuki emphasizes that the focus throughout the book will be not on theory but on putting these ideas into practice. He describes “talent education”, comparing teaching violin to the way children learn language, with immersion and absorption and lots of practice.
My only worry is that in some ways it might present an oversimplified message. It sounds like it’s a bit uneven in how it’s organized, but also quite moving and wise and inspiring — a bit of a zen approach in some ways, and appears to rely a lot on anecdotes. I think even if it’s (inevitably) incomplete — just one perspective on learning — it’s an important one.