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Interview with Lynn McCall on Suzuki Early Childhood Music Education

This interview is a follow up with the host from last week's video, Lynn McCall.  You can watch the video here.

Welcome to Rethinking Genius, Lynn! Please start out by introducing yourself and telling us how you got into Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) classes. Maybe also tell us a little about your school?

Hi my name is Lynn McCall and I am the Director and co founder of the Alyla Suzuki Early Childhood Music Center. Our school is the Pilot program and the first in Conn. to offer the Suzuki Early Childhood Education program. This unique, program, taught through Sinichi Suzuki’s renowned “Mother Tongue Method” was introduced about 10 years ago in the U.S. and is gaining recognition throughout . It is fully sanctioned and offered for registration through the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Since starting the pilot program in 2006 we are now in many Suzuki programs throughout Conn, and the U.S.

One topic that really caught my attention in your video is that idea of a calm lesson environment. You later go on to explain how the parents are the environment. Could you expand on that a bit? Why is the behavior of the parent so important?

The SECE program philosophy is dominated by 7 concepts* one of which is “Environment Nurtures Growth”. SECE teachers believe no real learning can take place unless there is calm in the room. We try to create a quiet and focused environment in our classes. Interaction between parent and child is key. Skills are taught through games, fun interactions and strategies employed by well trained teachers. Teachers explain to the parents that they are the most important element to their child’s learning experience. They are the first and most important teacher in the child’s life. They ARE the environment for their child and the child is learning much more about the environment by watching their own parents behavior and their reaction to what is happening in the class, as a model for their own behavior. The child will mirror the parent.

0-4 years old is really young. Do SECE classes seem to make lasting impact on the child's behavior after grow out of the class? Or are the lessons taught quickly forgotten?

More and more compelling research has been done in recent years showing the importance of early education for brain development. These early experiences impact the brain and create vital connections for all later learning. A blueprint if you will, a setting s down of scaffolding, a foundation for all later learning. Imagine not speaking to a child for the first few years of life. Not only would this thwart the child’s language development but would slow the child’s development in all areas of life.

How would an interested parent go about finding nearby SECE classes?

Parents and teachers who are interested in looking further into the Suzuki Early Childhood Method and finding a program in their area should contact the SAA at We also have a very informative video “Building the Foundation for a Lifetime: Suzuki method for Early Childhood Education” which can be viewed either at the SAA website or through the website, where they can also take a look at the research and various news articles.

If you are teacher, would it be worth getting training in SECE? What if you have no interest in teaching this age of child? Would the training still be a worthwhile experience?

The SECE is such a common sense approach to early childhood education. Even teachers who are not necessarily interested in teaching these classes would benefit from learning more about this foundational Suzuki program to strengthen and enhance their own teaching.

*Every Child Can
Environment nurtures growth
Parental involvement is critical
Children learn from one another
Encouragement is essential
Ability develops early
Success builds success

Thank you, Lynn!


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