Friday, December 31, 2010

Suzuki Potential

        Have you ever heard of Shin'ichi Suzuki? He made it possible for hundreds of thousands of children to learn the violin and the piano and a dozen other musical instruments. But do you know the story of how his "method" came to be?

One day Suzuki was visiting an aviary in Japan. In this aviary, breeders were “progra aming” songbirds. They would take thousands of Lark eggs, incubate them in total silence, then, when they began to hatch, a mature singing Lark would be present, singing his song. What happened was, that that Lark singing was the first and only sound the hatchlings heard as they were coming alive in the world. Suzuki noticed, to his amazement, that every little chick that hatched automatically began to copy the master singer Lark. Even more remarkable, after a few days he observed that each chick, having started out by purely copying songs, began to develop its own variations on the original Master Song. The breeders wait until the chick musicians have developed their own styles, and then select from them the next Master Singer, and so the process continues.

“Astounding!” thought Suzuki. “If a bird’s tiny, tiny brain can learn so perfectly, then surely the human brain, with its vastly superior abilities, should be able to do the same and better!”

This line of reasoning led Suzuki to his next revelation: every Japanese child learns to speak Japanese! When Suzuki pointed this out to his friends they laughed and assured him they already knew that. “But No! No!” declared Suzuki, “they really do, and it’s amazing!”

“Like Newton before him, he had discovered something that was so obvious that no one could see it  -  that any baby, born in any country, automatically learns, within two years, the language of that country. This means that every normal baby’s brain is capable of learning millions of potential languages.”

Think about that and you will realize what an amazing thing that is. Given the proper environment, the human creature is capable of acquiring an amazing amount of information and skills in a short time. It is truly sad that so much of this potential is neglected. (By the way, parents should not give up on a child who seems lacking in potential. Albert Einstein couldn’t speak fluently even when he was nine years old. His parents actually thought he might be mentally challenged.) 

You and I came into this world having enormous mental and physical potential, much of which is never realized. BUT IT'S STILL THERE. Tap into it. Use it. KNOW you can.

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