Toddler musicians entertain at Tokyo mass concert

TOKYO Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:56am EDT

1 of 2. Students play violins at the Suzuki Method Grand Concert in Tokyo March 28, 2007. About 3,000 musicians, some as young as three, entertained a packed Tokyo concert hall with classical masterpieces that were flawlessly delivered even though they were playing together for the first time.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - About 3,000 musicians, some as young as three, entertained a packed Tokyo concert hall with classical masterpieces that were flawlessly delivered even though they were playing together for the first time.

Flutes at their lips and violin bows at the ready, the children filled the air with music by Bach, Brahms, Paganini, and the nursery favorite "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," late on Wednesday. Many of their instruments, such as cellos, had been downsized to fit their small frames.

The musicians were taught by the Suzuki method, which is based on the theory that children, when taught at an early age, can learn music as naturally and proficiently as learning to speak their native language.

"The uniqueness of the training of the Suzuki method is that even 3,000 children can play together without going out of tune even though they have never played together before," said Yutaka Miyata, chairman of the concert committee at the Talent Education Research Institute.

The Suzuki method which was invented by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in 1950s has since been copied worldwide. The school has nearly 1,500 branches and 20,000 students throughout Japan.

Most of the children appeared unfazed by the complex musical pieces and the daunting surroundings, playing with maturity and skill that many seasoned musicians would envy.

"It was fun because we made lots of sounds," said 9-year-old Takahiro Hayashi who played the cello.