We are never too old to learn. Dr. Suzuki says so.
Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s book Nurtured by Love is required reading for parents of children learning to play music using The Classic Approach to Talent Education.
His insightful teaching brought music education to the very young, with 3 and 4-year-olds able to master the challenges of Bach and Haydn on violin.
But what struck me was the impact his philosophy can have on those of us way beyond single digits in age. This will not do justice to his philosophy, but four elements that apply to lifelong learning spoke to me on first reading. Not unexpectedly, Club Ed and other adult learning opportunities address each point.
Point 1 - “Talent” is learned
Take a look again at the book’s tag line: The Classic Approach to Talent Education. Suzuki disdains the phrase “natural talent.” His revolutionary insight was that talent can be taught; talent can be learned. There is hope for everyone!
Point 2 - What does not exist in your cultural environment will not be developed
If you grew up listening only to The Monkees, you probably won’t appreciate Mozart. In order to improve our lives we need to fill our days with enriching, inspiring, challenging opportunities.... opportunities you’ll find in Club Ed.
Point 3 - Think of learning as fun
I really believe that having fun is the secret to succeeding in any area of life. You might lose weight temporarily by dieting. But you will be healthier the rest of your life by having the adventure of eating right.
You might get fit doing an exercise. But you will stay fit by finding physical activity you enjoy doing every day.
You might learn how to play dulcimer by taking one class. But you will only make music by practicing daily (see Point 4) and playing with others.
In Club Ed we do offer all types of classes - more than 200 each semester. And while they are excellent, taking a class is really only the first step to mastery of any skill. Just one example is our ongoing Dulcimer Jam session. Beginners of all ages and experience meet weekly, not to learn an instrument, but to make music.
Point 4 - Practice. And practice right.
Suzuki believes we are all experts; it is just that some of us are experts at doing things “wrong” due to bad instruction or lack of practice. But talent always comes down to practice, no matter at what age you begin. An adult who practices 3 hours a day for five years will be more “talented” than a child who practices five minutes a day for 10 years.
As you probably guess, Club Ed can help bring all these good things into your life. You can learn a skill, start a hobby, listen to an expert, and just enjoy the company of like-minded friends seeking a more enriching life.
So as you start a new year, don’t simply resolve to go on a diet or learn to play violin. Learn to enjoy eating right, learn to make music, and learn to enjoy learning.
See you in class!