The Suzuki Method is based upon the idea that music as another language can be acquired as is our native tongue. It is so called the "language acquisition model" and imitates that this process. A child therefore listens to the recordings both passively and actively so as to fill the environment with this new language. Just as a newborn hears the words "mama" and "papa" thousands of times before attempting the act of speech, so should a child hear the music to be played many, many times. By building up the expectation of sound in the ear, the body will then be able to follow with greater ability. It is always evident when a student arrives at a familiar folk tune such as "London Bridge" or "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and figures out the notes on their own, that listening to songs until they are internalized is of greater value than many hours of practice trying to achieve the same results without a listening program.
The parent is responsible for creating an environment in the home where music is always playing. Many parents play the music quietly on a never-ending loop so as to be in the background like wallpaper that fades in and out against normal conversation and daily life activities. Parents are encouraged to institute the listening program in their home as many months as they can prior to their planned start date.
Ear training extends not only to the preparation of the ear, but the way in which information is exchanged in the lessons and practices at home. The teacher plays and the student copies. Verbal explanation is extremely limited other than to stimulate thought on part of the student and direct their mind to specific listening questions. Music is a language and is best taught using that language and no other. Whether learning the first rhythms of the Twinkles or learning how to best shape a phrase on a Mozart piece, or how to apply a new technique, it is always best to let the music do the explaining. Suzuki students become observant and astute because of the way in which lessons are taught. They become better listeners in every area of life.