As a music teacher, it is a common reality to hear from families that their children have lost interest in music and have given up on learning to play an instrument. This early withdrawal is motivated by several factors, but sometimes finds its roots in the family’s own lack of interest in the musical universe.
Music, despite being a fascinating and enriching language, unfortunately faces a considerable challenge in today’s world: the increasing limitation of access to this universe, which, contrary to what one might assume, is not as universal as we would like it to be, finding itself restricted to an increasingly smaller number of people.
Musical learning brings with it a series of benefits for human development, which go far beyond the ability to play a melody. Music stimulates creativity, discipline, concentration and self-esteem. Furthermore, it provides a unique form of expression that can bring personal satisfaction and a deep sense of accomplishment.
When I say that lack of interest often originates in the family, my objective is not to pass judgement, but rather to highlight that music, unfortunately, is no longer occupying a significant space in homes. If we understand music as a language capable of effective communication, capable of expressing and evoking different feelings simultaneously, we will understand that, to keep a language alive, it needs to be experienced and practised.
In this context, I would like to share a valuable experience to illustrate the importance of the family in the development of children’s musical language. The violinist and teacher Shinichi Suzuki, born in Japan in 1898, developed a philosophy of violin teaching that was later applied to a variety of instruments, becoming widely recognized internationally. His approach was based on the observation that children learn their mother tongue naturally by listening to and imitating the sounds around them, and he applied this principle to teaching music.
His philosophy, or Suzuki Method as several teachers call it, emphasises the importance of starting musical education from an early age. Furthermore, he highlights that repetition and regular practice are fundamental to improving technique and musical expression. A distinctive feature of this method is the active involvement of parents, who play an essential role by participating in classes, assisting with practice at home and creating a supportive environment for musical learning. More than being present, parents also learn to play the instrument together with their children.
Just as we learn a language through immersion, music also follows this principle. It is assimilated through practice and continuous use. Although creating a musical environment can be a challenge, it is a relevant reflection on how we can improve our practices to make music a more present and vivid language in children’s lives, so that they can experience and be enchanted by this language.
In a world where music can be a powerful tool for the integral development of children, Shinichi Suzuki’s approach reminds us of the importance of introducing this universal language into our homes and educational environments. Through active parental involvement, immersion learning, and constant practice, we can spark children’s interest in music from a young age. In doing so, we not only cultivate talented musicians, but also enrich their lives with a unique and precious form of expression. Through music, we are providing future generations with a language of beauty and meaning, capable of transcending cultural barriers, and thus, contributing to the continuation of this valuable legacy in our world.