by Shinichi Suzuki
Talent is no accident of birth.
In today's society a good many people seem to have the idea that if one is born without talent, there is nothing he can do about it; they simply resign themselves to what they consider to be their "fate". Consequently, they go through life without living it to the full or ever knowing life's true joy. That is man's greatest tragedy.
We are born with natural ability to learn. A newborn child adjusts to his environment in order to live, and various abilities are acquired in the process. My thirty years' experience has proved over and over again that this is true. Many children grow up in an environment that stunts and damages them, and it is assumed that they were born that way; they themselves believe it too. But they are wrong.
An undesirable, disagreeable adult is one who was brought up wrong: so it is with a person unable to do good work. I believe that most readers will agree with me. So-called fate, of course, we cannot deny. We can do nothing about our being born into this world, nor about our having to die sooner or later.
Good or bad, however, 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.
That is why I wrote this book.
In it I tell how to develop a person's aptitude; how a mediocre child was turned into a noble human being and an excellent musician. Using examples, I explain how to change a person with stunted ability into a talented one, a mediocre person into an exceptional one.
Questions are answered as to how the reader may relate this to himself. Theory is dispensed with and the emphasis is on how to put all this into practice. I relate happy examples and episodes from teaching violin the Talent Education way.
A living tree brings forth buds; on each branch blooms lovely flowers. It is the splendid course of nature. Man, I believe, should follow Mother Nature and bring forth fruit.
What is man's ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty. That goes for you, for me, for everyone. If this book can be of help, even a little, I cannot say how happy it will make me.
Suzuki's main argument is that talent is not something you either have or do not have. He states that any child can be an excellent musician. We all learned our native languages fluently, therefore we can all learn anything well, if put in the right environment. (An argument that often made with people who tell me they aren't good at mathematics.)
This is a quick and easy read. It is interesting on multiple fronts. The book is part memoirs as well, and reading about his life is a glimpse into the life of a fascinating Japanese person. Suzuki lived in Europe for eight years and married a German woman. He knew Einstein personally. He lived through WWII in Japan. He did not start learning the violin until he was seventeen and had no intention of becoming a musician. There are many interesting anecdotes about people he has met as well as children he has taught.
Even if you have no plans to teach your child violin, this quick read is worth your time. It will inspire you to be a better parent. It is an excellent book to read!
More recommendation of references to Suzuki Method & Biography....
- Ability Development from Age Zero
- Man and Talent: Search into the Unknown
- Where Love is Deep
- Diamond in the Sky (a biography for children) by Jerlene Cannon
- Shinichi Suzuki: The Man and His Philosophy by Evelyn Hermann
- Shinichi Suzuki: Man of Love by Masaaki Honda