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Why do we give endless resources to our children’s academic, sports, and arts education? Is it to see a child master technical skills, perform well, or even receive a scholarship? Perhaps… but there’s something more that drives us. When a child displays empathy, determination, excellence, or artistic sensitivity…this fuels our dedication to children.

I’m Margaret Watts Romney, a cellist and Suzuki teacher for over 20 years. I am fascinated by the professional association that supported my own growth as a musician, a teacher, and also as a human being.

In this new podcast from the Suzuki Association of the Americas we’ll explore the learning environments in which children, parents, and teachers not only gain new knowledge but are encouraged to become fine individuals as well.

We’ll take a look inside the community inspired by humanitarian violinist Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. He saw that by teaching children to play music in the same way that a baby is lovingly taught to speak, he could not only create excellent musicians but build noble hearts in children as well.

So what can we all learn from Suzuki music teaching?

We can see the lasting effects of early childhood music education.

Kirk Cullimore:
Music is More than just something I do, it’s part of who I am, it’s a great release it’s a stress reliever Now I really relish the opportunities to do that. To get to perform.

When we create a learning space for children, the environment may inspire adults as well.

Carey Beth Hockett:
Yesterday I went to my cello ensemble and I just sort of went into the class and the energy that the kids brought to it, you know, I felt revived. They are very positive and they are interested, and they are enthusiastic. They like each other they support each other they respect each other and I thought, “It doesn’t get much better than this. There’s not many things I’d rather be doing.”

How do we create the space where children can become fine individuals?
Sometimes the steps are practical

Sarah Bylander Montzka:
I always encourage parents when they begin to write down a list of all the different traits and qualities they hope to develop in their child through their musical study, so that in those moments of struggle, they can sit down with that list and remember, right, this is why we’re doing it.

Sometimes the answers are philosophical.

Alice Ann O’Neill:
I see that is the whole point of Suzuki teaching is how we care for the children that we have been given the responsibility to care for. But by caring for these children that we teach, we are in fact changing the world and caring for many people.

In the coming episodes, we’ll be speaking with Suzuki teachers, parents, and students from across the globe. Some studied with Dr. Suzuki. Most did not, but all have a story to tell of their experiences and their understanding of growth through music.

Whether you are a parent, an educator, or simply interested in creating an environment that encourages learning, we invite you to join us. We will be looking inside the Suzuki music community and discovering what there is to share from decades of teaching music to children starting with the attitude that every child can.

Stay tuned for Building Noble Hearts, a production of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Intro and Outro music: Sun Up by Stephen Katz and Derek Snyder, performed by the Snyder Cello Army.

Interlude music: Performed by Seth Himmeloch