Much has been taken by numerous music education scholars from Shinichi Suzuki’s approach to music learning. The Suzuki Method is based on the notion that all children learn to speak their mother tongue easily without having to formally study the language. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother-tongue approach. The ideas of parent responsibility, loving encouragement, constant repetition, etc., are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach.
As listening plays the most important role in the acquisition of basic musical knowledge, the kind of sounds the child listens to when he/she is growing up will determine the nature and quality of the sounds produced by the child’s voice or instrument. In the same manner we as children speak our parents’ language and accent, we as musicians mimic the musical sounds that we hear as models.
I am pr ivileged to have a mother who not only is a nurturing, loving, and encouraging person; but who also is a wonderful singer. Though she never walked the venue of being a professional singer, she possesses a wonderful lyric voice that touches the heart. Her vibrant singing voice exposes a perfect pitch center and a well-controlled and expressive vibrato.
I remember many times hearing her sing, enjoying her voice’s beauty and expressiveness. I always wanted to somehow imitate those melodic lines emanating from her musically well-rounded voice.
As a child, I always liked music and played recorder, harmonica, and guitar. I remember very vividly when I first hear my first violin teacher play at a school event. I thought, “That’s it! I want to play violin!” That day, I found the answer to my desire to imitate my mom’s wonderful singing sounds. After some talking over and asking for lessons, I managed to leave my guitar studies in exchange for a thriving desire to learn to play the violin. I began my musical journey to melodic exploration and deeper musical expression.
Thanks mom! Thanks for the nurturing experience of your musical voice.
In various occasions, I have been labeled by my colleagues and listeners as a “romantic violinist,” or someone who they perceive is an ideal “inspiring singing violinist.” I know that I am very unlikely to be enlisted along with Permlan’s sound and flawless technique, or Heifetz’s solid and knightly interpretations. I have always had a deep respect for both of these masters’ accomplishments and superb artistic capabilities. However, one thing is certain: If my violin’s sound and melodic lines have inspired some, it is due to the wonderful, God-given gift of having a model for good nature, sound and musical expression I have had in my mother.
Though my exposure to the Talent Education movement and encounter with Dr. Suzuki’s mother-tongue approach began much later, I can say that I have experienced the reality of Suzuki’s method through my childhood search for the musical sounds I heard from my mother’s enchanting voice.
I am grateful to God of having such an experience with the “Mother-Song” method.
Thank you mom!