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Interview with Dorothy Jones on Suzuki Early Childhood Education

Welcome to Rethinking Genius, Dorothy! Please introduce yourself and give a us a little background on your history with the Suzuki Method.

I am a Suzuki specialist in Early Childhood Education.  I founded a Suzuki School in London Ontario Canada. In 1993, the ISA approved my program in Early Childhood Education and designated my school as a world Teacher Training Centre.

Past President of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) past board member of the ISA, I was a founding member of the Board of the Suzuki Association of Ontario and served as President of that organization. I have been a Suzuki parent, Piano Teacher Trainer and keynote speaker at conferences and workshops around the world for over 41 years. I am recognized as a Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) teacher trainer in the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), the European Suzuki Association (ESA) and the Pan Pacific Suzuki Association (PPSA).

Explain to us what Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) classes are. Is this related to the Suzuki Method? If so, how?

The Suzuki Early Childhood Education Program (SECE) - Parent and Child (age 0-3) participate in a weekly interactive music class. Parents enjoy watching their babies develop rhythmic and melodic awareness, memory and social skills. Teachers work with parents to build a repertoire of lullabies, action songs and nursery rhymes. Parents are encouraged to use the curriculum CD at home and to repeat the songs and rhymes daily.

Parents become expert observers of their own children. Children watch the actions of the parent and gradually begin to imitate them. This process is one to be enjoyed and celebrated as each new development is observed (just as you do when your baby utters those first few words).

The outcomes of these activities include increased vocabulary, socially acceptable behavior and sensitive group participation at an early age.  The most important skill for children at an early age is the ability to listen carefully. Using a variety of instruments with beautiful ringing tone, the children learn to anticipate the sounds and with the teacher’s help, they learn to play them, listening for and striving to imitate that beautiful ringing tone.

Teachers note that children, who have attended the Suzuki Baby/Toddler music classes for at least two years, have firmly established listening habits. This facilitates a smooth transition from the SECE class to the Suzuki instrumental studio.

The SECE class is an early childhood music program based on the philosophy of Shinichi Suzuki. As well as the many musical, cognitive, social and kinesthetic skills, Dr. Suzuki believed that developing a good character was an equally important part of the learning process. The teachers in the SECE classes provide many opportunities for this character development. They are guided by seven concepts drawn from Suzuki’s writing and teaching.

1. Every child can learn.

2. Ability develops early.

3. Environment nurtures growth.

4. Children learn from one another.

5. Success breeds success.

6. Parental involvement is critical.

7. Encouragement is essential.

Another aspect of what makes this program a Suzuki program is the ongoing parent education. Each week, every parent writes in their child’s journal, describing some new development they have seen in class that day, most often about their own child, but sometimes about another child. Over a three year period, these parents become excellent observers of how children learn and their understanding of the Suzuki philosophy deepens.

0-3 years old seems so young! What could a child possibly get out of a class at this age?

During the early childhood years, birth through age three, every moment is an opportunity for children to learn more about the world around them, to practise social skills, and to gain critical thinking skills and knowledge. Early childhood experiences lay the foundation for all later learning and determine whether or not children succeed in school and later life.

Asked by Dr. Suzuki to start a school and ‘to remember the babies,’ I opened Children’s Talent Education Centre in London, Ontario Canada. Using Suzuki’s concepts as a framework, my daughter, Sharon, and I pioneered the development of the Suzuki Prenatal, Baby and Toddler Music Program

Why should a teacher look into getting SECE training? Most teachers don't work with children until they are past the 0-3 age. What sorts of topics would be covered?

Many Suzuki instrumental teachers have taken this training because they want to understand more about early learning and child development. All who have taken this training have reported to me that it has enriched their instrumental teaching dramatically.

A number of elementary school teachers and Montessori teachers have also sought Suzuki ECE teacher training to better understand the teaching principles of the Suzuki approach.

For more information about the topics covered in Suzuki ECE teacher training go to this website,

and click on ‘training’

How would an interested parent/teacher go about finding one of these classes?

Once a new class has been established it is listed under ‘links’ on the following website.

Thank you, Dorothy!


  1. Thanks to you both for this interview. The Suzuki Method is so unique in this way, to go *so* young to invest in early music development. It's fascinating!

  2. Truly impressive and nice information,it is good material to read this post increases my knowledge.That is really fantastic and exciting to read your dwI hope you never stop! This is one of the best blogs Ive ever read. Youve got some mad skill here, man. I just hope that you dont lose your style because youre definitely one of the coolest bloggers out there. Please keep it up because the internet needs someone like you spreading the word.....Thank you...

  3. Thanks for this post! Lot of great information which can be helpful in some or the other way. I'd love to share this post on my blog.

    Early Childhood Education

    1. You're welcome to share the post! Just a request that you include a backlink to this blog =)


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