Educating "The Whole Person"

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” – Dr. Shininchi Suzuki

The experience of beauty
Music Kids lessons are about far more than teaching technique, growing brains, and making kids happy (though we do all of that too!).  We really only see ourselves as being successful if we impart to our students the most important experience of all: the experience of beauty.

By teaching them how to create a beautiful tone and play beautiful melodies on their instrument, we don’t just teach them a skill, we teach them an intuition and a perception.  It’s something that stays with them their entire life, no matter how long they decide to continue studying the instrument after they leave us.

The role of beauty
This experience of the beautiful reaches well beyond early childhood education.  The arts are more than an academic study or a history lesson; they are an expression of the human spirit.  This kind of comprehensive education is important for the flourishing of society itself.  Educators for centuries have understood this, reaching back as far as Plato, who, in his discussion of politics and the civic life in The Republic, said this:

“Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul…and with a true taste, while he praises and rejoices over and receives into his soul the good, and becomes noble and good, he will justly blame and hate the bad, now in the days of his youth, even before he is able to know the reason why; and when reason comes he will recognize and salute the friend with whom his education has made him long familiar.”

Beauty is not a luxury, but a human necessity
At the core of our mission, then, is the belief that beauty is not a luxury, but a human necessity; and that our kids need to be shown the life-changing experience of how to create beauty for themselves.  This, in turn, will empower them with the perception of what is good, true, and beautiful.  In other words, the life of a Music Kid will be one that is enriched in ways that reach beyond even our own expertise as music educators.

To quote Dr. Suzuki again: “Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart… Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.”

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