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Ability Develops Early

22 January 2013

The Music Garden is built on seven core principles of the Suzuki Philosophy. One of these is the concept that "Ability Develops Early".  Just as our foundations for learning language are being built while in the womb, so to are many other abilities and skills. Emotional sensitivity, and music skills such as listening, timing, feeling the beat are just a few more. As our babies grow we are able to see them learning and absorbing from their environment and everything in it. Observing this process as it happens in a young child is a true delight.

Here we see a young bub at The Music Garden captivated by the triangle. Notice her eyes watching intently as Ester strikes the triangle. From watching and hearing the instrument as it goes around the circle she has already heard the sound several times, and is anticipating what she is about to hear. While not ready to hold the stick herself, she is still fully engaged in what is happening.

Around her she is hearing the words to “Hickory Dickory Dock” and will see and hear the beautiful tone of the triangle when the clock strikes “One”. Over time she will hear the rhyme many many times in class and on her CD at home. Gradually she will absorb the rhythms and words, the steady pulse of the beat, and the precise timing of “One”.

Eventually, (usually as a toddler) she will master the timing and co-ordination to strike the triangle herself, perfectly in time. It is always a very special moment when a child has reached this particular milestone. It might be playing the triangle in Hickory Dickory Dock, or the drum in Humpty Dumpty, or the mouse “under the chair” in Pussy Cat Pussy Cat – these all require a high level of sensitivity, anticipation and timing that our long-term Music Garden members develop effortlessly. The Music Garden environment allows her many opportunities to observe other children and listen, free from pressure. These skills of watching, listening, timing, co-ordination, sensitivity, will support her as she learns to walk, speak, and interact with the world around her. All from one simple activity repeated consistently and often, in different ways.

This core principle of Suzuki Philosophy “Ability Develops Early” is why we recommend an early start (pre-crawling is ideal) at The Music Garden. Newborns are welcome to come and absorb and observe and gradually participate more as they develop at no charge for the first 3 months. Babies are usually ready to participate fully at around 4 months of age. The longer a child is exposed to a gentle environment that is nurturing and respectful of their developmental level, the deeper their growth and skill development becomes. If you’re wondering if your child is ready, or thinking they may be too young to start, keep in mind Dr Suzuki’s statement: “I used to think that music education should start at birth. I now think that it should begin 9 months before the birth of the mother”.