Playing piano involves many different abilities -mental skills, physical coordination, the integration of emotional feelings as well as discipline and determination. Therefore, playing piano is the perfect study for developing the whole child.

Core Education is learning how to learn.  Core Education promotes the growth of the framework or “intelligence” (hence the word “core”) upon which all learning occurs.  It is the development of ability by creating a purposeful environment that children absorb in the same way they learn language. It is based on Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Kataoka’s principles of Talent Education and learning through the senses.

Life ability forms the macrocosm of how we live, interact, create, adapt, and grow. Examples of life abilities developed in piano study are body posture and small motor physical coordination, mental focus, memorization ability, an internal sense of motivation, as well as feelings including confidence and happiness.  Core Education develops this “Life Ability”.

Below are seven core education principles which I apply in teaching piano, and are  relevant to overall child development:

The Seven Principles:

1. Life Ability
Core Education develops life ability- the ability to live life optimally..  Life Ability enables us to learn, adapt and grow.

2. Natural Learning
Core Education utilizes and preserves the way children learn naturally, which is directly from the environment. By providing a purposeful environment, children can learn optimally.

3. Integral Learning
Integral learning includes and integrates the physical, emotional, mental/cognitive and inspirational components of learning.

4. Pattern Recognition/Ability Development
Pattern recognition is the ability to understand order, form and structure. Pattern recognition is developed through repetition, association and application. Pattern recognition develops the matrix for learning mentally and physically. “Ability Development” in Suzuki learning is an example of pattern recognition through repetition.

5. The core focus principle of nurturing:
By focusing on the most fundamental aspect in a child’s learning process which needs attention, ability development will be the most effective and efficient. For example this is different than focusing predominantly on the content of what is being learned.  This focus can be integrated into all parts of the curriculum.

6. Positive affirmation 
Core education involves affirmation as a critical component of feedback for the child. Using verbal acknowledgement of that which is correct will accelerate learning. It is not a judgment such as good or bad, but is a positive statement of fact to the child about how they are learning.

7.  Meta-Learning
Meta-learning is learning about learning. It increases self-awareness and motivation in the learning process. Students are engaged in learning how to learn. This core education principle develops life long learners who use self reflection and regulation to maximize their own learning, and provides a method of learning analysis for teachers.

Through understanding and applying these principles teachers and parents can recreate the concept of education from the learning of content to the development of Life Ability.

“Piano Ability is Life Ability”Dr. Suzuki said: “I want – if I can – to get education changed from mere instruction to education in the real sense of the word – education that inculcates, brings out, develops the human potential, based on the growing life of the child. That is why I am devoting my efforts to furthering Talent Education: what a child becomes depends entirely on how he is educated. My prayer is that all children on this globe may become fine human beings, happy people of superior ability, and I am devoting all my energies to making this come about, for I am convinced that all children are born with this potential.”