Suzuki: The Man and His Dream to Teach the Children of the World (Hardback)
  • Suzuki: The Man and His Dream to Teach the Children of the World (Hardback)
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Suzuki: The Man and His Dream to Teach the Children of the World (Hardback)

(author)
£24.95
Hardback 272 Pages
Published: 15/11/2022
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A New Yorker Best Book of the Year

The remarkable life of violinist and teacher Shinichi Suzuki, who pioneered an innovative but often-misunderstood philosophy of early childhood education—now known the world over as the Suzuki Method.

The name Shinichi Suzuki is synonymous with early childhood musical education. By the time of his death in 1998, countless children around the world had been taught using his methods, with many more to follow. Yet Suzuki’s life and the evolution of his educational vision remain largely unexplored. A committed humanist, he was less interested in musical genius than in imparting to young people the skills and confidence to learn.

Eri Hotta details Suzuki’s unconventional musical development and the emergence of his philosophy. She follows Suzuki from his youth working in his father’s Nagoya violin factory to his studies in interwar Berlin, the beginnings of his teaching career in 1930s Tokyo, and the steady flourishing of his practice at home and abroad after the Second World War. As Hotta shows, Suzuki’s aim was never to turn out disciplined prodigies but rather to create a world where all children have the chance to develop, musically and otherwise. Undergirding his pedagogy was an unflagging belief that talent, far from being an inborn quality, is cultivated through education. Moreover, Suzuki’s approach debunked myths of musical nationalism in the West, where many doubted that Asian performers could communicate the spirit of classical music rooted in Europe.

Suzuki touched the world through a pedagogy founded on the conviction that all children possess tremendous capacity to learn. His story offers not only a fresh perspective on early childhood education but also a gateway to the fraught history of musical border-drawing and to the makings of a globally influential life in Japan’s tumultuous twentieth century.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674238237
Number of pages: 272
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Hotta is an unobtrusive narrator whose personal anecdotes are like grace notes on the larger score of Suzuki’s life. - Wall Street Journal

Hotta takes on the life story of the man who made the mini-masters…The Suzuki story turns out to be a fascinating study in the hybrid nature of human culture, tracing a remarkable cross-century triple play—European music to Japanese discipline, ending with a putout at a first base manned by mad American parental ambition. - Adam Gopnik, New Yorker

Moving and beautifully written…Eri Hotta’s vivid account analyses the nature, therapeutic social uses and massive global influence of the ‘Suzuki Method’, which is now big business in America. But it fascinates at other levels too, bringing in some of Suzuki’s world-famous musical friends and protégés, and providing a sharply accusatory chronicle of 20th-century Japan’s bureaucratically blighted history as a backdrop. - Michael Church, BBC Music Magazine

Suzuki will take a deserved place as the definitive account of his life, and will be a valuable resource for scholars, teachers, and music students alike. Hotta’s writing strikes a perfect balance between scholarly precision and engaging narrative…Conjures a vibrant and moving portrait of both the man and his revolutionary vision. - Andrew Braddock, The Strad

Eri Hotta’s book does a wonderful job of bringing to life the real magic of the man and his vision while discarding the hocus-pocus in which they are often disguised. Using entertaining vignettes, concise sociohistorical surveys and reflections drawn from her experience as a Suzuki parent, she manages to reconstruct and map out the unique conditions that allowed Suzuki to see that teaching young children to play the violin together could be a wonderful way to guide them towards a society in which individuals are at peace with themselves and in harmony with each other. - Guy Dammann, Times Literary Supplement

This well-researched, conceived, and executed book seems to be the first objective account of the man and his life. It is a revelation on many levels…[Suzuki] is about optimism, gentleness, doggedness, belief in children, humanity, and the affirmative properties of art in the face of violence and ignorance. - David Mehegan, Arts Fuse

Eri Hotta gives us a detailed, enthusiastic biography of a multitalented educator whose name lives on but whose method is largely forgotten…Suzuki is a readable, fascinating story about the man who believed everyone has potential. - International Examiner

Hotta does not present a conventional biography as much as a history of 20th-century Japan and its relationships with the West and Russia, ingeniously weaving events from Suzuki’s long life and experiences throughout it. - Limelight

Hotta, an erstwhile Suzuki violin student and the author of an excellent book on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective, is the ideal person to show how Suzuki’s 99-year life rubbed up against the rollercoaster of Japan’s 20th century…[An] arresting slice of social history. - Iona McLaren, The Spectator

It is hard to imagine a more extensively researched account of Suzuki’s life and development of the Suzuki movement during his life. Hotta draws on a wealth of resources in both English and Japanese to paint a wonderfully detailed picture of Suzuki’s vision and the measures he took to make that vision a reality. - Adam Symborski, International Journal of Education & the Arts

With eloquence and perception, Eri Hotta reveals how Suzuki began a musical revolution that has influenced countless young people across the world. Coming from the Method myself, I benefited greatly from many of Suzuki’s deep convictions, including his core belief that great ‘talent’ emerges from nurtured training. As Suzuki recognized, and as this wonderful book reminds us, music joins composer, performer, and audience in a powerful existential bond. - Leila Josefowicz, MacArthur Award–winning classical violinist

A terrific, groundbreaking, and engrossing study of Shinichi Suzuki, whose approach to teaching young people transformed music education in the second half of the twentieth century. His effective and popular method made serious instruction widely accessible, without limiting the aspirations of all in deference to the gifted few. Transcending the formidable barriers of politics and culture, his achievement helped pave the way for traditions of music developed in the West to be integrated, celebrated, and reinvented in Asia. Suzuki’s story is central to the flourishing of music as a vibrant international art. - Leon Botstein, President of Bard College and Music Director and Principal Conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra

Written with a warmth echoing that of its subject, this wonderful account is at once a biography and an intimate window into Japan’s momentous twentieth century. - Christopher Harding, author of The Japanese: A History in Twenty Lives

A captivating historical perspective on a global phenomenon. Eri Hotta’s account of Suzuki’s fascinating life story unmasks the man and reveals the overall achievement of a musical hero. - Fred Sherry, cellist and former Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

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