Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Book Review: Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education

My kids ended up in Suzuki violin lessons by accident. I love music, but took piano and saxophone lessons as a child. So when my son kept asking to take violin lessons, we ventured into new territory together. Both of my boys have now been playing the violin for just over a year. I finally read Shinichi Suzuki's book, Nurtured by Love: The Classic Approach to Talent Education. I wish I had read it sooner!

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 I have 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.

 While the stories sometimes made it feel rambling and as if I was visiting my grandfather, the stories reinforce his argument that all children can become excellent musicians if trained properly. The book ends with a socialistic political push for governments to make sure all children are given the chance to develop their musical abilities. This was the only part of the book I do not think I was inspired by as I disagree with him on government's role in raising children. But as far as helping my own children learn the violin and really anything they wish to learn, I believe this is an excellent book. 

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.

Have you read this book? What are your impressions about it or about the Suzuki violin method?

By Malina. You can learn more Malina and her family at her personal blog.

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