Suzuki’s Talent Education


“Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus
ten thousand times is skill!”
— Suzuki

“Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill!”— Suzuki

Suzuki’s Talent Education movement has many ideas about how to develop a person’s aptitude through the study of music. Many people believe that you are either born with talent or not: so you may as well not study. But Suzuki created a very straightforward approach toward ability development.

“People either become experts at doing the right thing, which is seen as a fine talent, or they become experts at doing something that is wrong and unacceptable, which is seen as lack of talent. Depending upon these two things — the amount and quality of the practice — superior ability can be produced in anyone.” — Suzuki


A student approaches the lessons and practice in a way that either fosters its success, or not. There are no shortcuts.

Conscientious practice

You simply cannot compare a student who practices five minutes a day with another who practices an hour a day. The student who practices five. The student who practices five minutes a day does not gain ability in the long run; a student who practices an hour a day in a conscientious way develops superior skill without fail.


In the early stages, progress will be slow, but this lays a good foundation for future pieces. Sometimes a bright student becomes impatient with this approach. After they play the passage correctly one time, they see no need to continue. They want to move on.

Like learning a language

In speech, a child can use as many as 70 repetitions of a word, phrase, or sentence in one time period. The child must “repeat, rework and reiterate” to ultimately make that word his own and move on to the next. This is true for a piano student as well.

“What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger!” — Camus

Short Practice times

A child does not necessarily understand the benefits of this repetition, so schedule their practice every day at the same time. It is actually good to schedule several short practice periods rather than play for one continuous stretch. As long as the short period is sufficient for warm up time, it can actually be more efficient. If you wait for the child to feel like practicing … it won’t happen.