A Historical Analysis of the Development of Suzuki Talent Education with Particular Emphasis on...

July 23, 2010 / By: Andrew Bast

The purpose of this thesis was to chronicle the beginnings of Suzuki Talent Education in Minnesota, focusing particular attention on the Suzuki program at the MacPhail Center of the Arts through its first ten years.  Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s development of a method and philosophy for the teaching of instrumental music was introduced to the United States in the late 1950s and by the late 1960s several programs had begun.  In Minnesota, the Suzuki program at the MacPhail Center for the Arts remains one of the oldest and has grown to become one of the most prominent and successful in the country.

This study is comprised of the following topics related to the growth and development of the Suzuki Method in Minnesota:  a biography of Dr. Suzuki how his life experiences lead to the development of his approach to teaching, a background of the Suzuki Method and its differences from a traditional approach, a history of the method’s introduction to American teachers and the beginnings of Suzuki teaching in the United States, the earliest accounts of Suzuki education in Minnesota, the founding of the Wayzata and MacPhail Suzuki programs, and the growth and development of the MacPhail program under the direction of Mark Bjork through its first ten years.

The researcher concludes that the Suzuki Method has become a vital and important form of instrumental music education throughout the past fifty years.  A study of the early history of Talent education in Minnesota and the development of the program at MacPhail provides an early example of success in its introduction in the United States.  Through continued study and dedication to Talent Education the faculty at MacPhail helped develop a program that continued to grow in quality and size through the 1970s.  Their work provides a valuable model for current understanding of the Suzuki Method in the United States.