This post is the first post in the four part “Nurture Series”.

The three main points for Nurturing children through Core Suzuki piano:

1. Natural Learning is direct learning from the environment as in language acquisition.
2. Integral learning is another way of looking at the way children learn naturally, through their senses and bodies as well as through the mental capacity. The diagram below shows four quadrants. Integral learning is a holistic approach to education which creates ability by giving attention to all of these aspects of the child’s development.

In integral learning, the whole child is engaged in learning.  Below is a picture of a group class with students feeling the differences in the size of the intervals. (In the photo below they are showing an octave) This same idea is applied to feeling the size of the intervals directly on the piano.



Parents and teachers can assess what part of the integral learning process needs nurturing.

For example, it may be that the child can physically play the instrument, but needs more listening to internalize the sound of the pieces being learned.  Or, the child may be able to learn the notes easily, but needs help to develop the necessary physical skills to play with a good tone.

Another student may need to observe other students and hear recitals to help develop their motivation (inspiration). So, by looking holistically at the child we can ask: Which quadrant needs the most attention at this time?”

3. Positive Affirmation is a term which means letting the child know objectively what what is correct. It is a way of nurturing without excessive praise or criticism, which allows the child to enter a deeper state of concentration on learning. It is a way of connecting the integral quadrants. By using positive verbal statements to promote Integral learning example: “When your hand is soft and your fingers move, (physical) the sound is ringing (Aural/senses)  Making these connections increases the rate and the depth of learning, and concentrates learning on exactly what is happening in the moment. It is this awareness that nurtures and develops ability.

Later as the child progresses:  “When you keep your balance while playing that part,  the tempo is steady.”  This example is a factual observation or “positive affirmation”,  without the emotional content of good or bad, and allows optimum learning to occur.  The statement brings awareness to connecting the physical posture with the goal of playing the piece with steady tempo.  This uses the mental awareness to integrate the physical posture with the feeling, the sensory experience of the steady tempo.  This connection of the physical posture with the tempo is crucial for the learning to be absorbed.  This example uses Positive Affirmation of what is being done correctly to enable Integral Learning.

In the following posts, we will explore these three main concepts.