Messages from Around the World
The Suzuki Members are greatly looking forward to the World Conventionin Matsumoto, the birthplace of the Suzuki Method
TERI Executive Board Member
ISA TERI Representative
Hideya Taida In the fall of 2011, it was decided at the ISA (The International Suzuki Association) Board Meeting to hold the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention in Matsumoto. This will be the 4th time for the World Convention to be held in Matsumoto, and it has been 14 years since the last World Convention that Matsumoto hosted.
The ISA was formed in 1983 to promote the development of the Suzuki Method throughout the world. There are 5 regional Suzuki Associations (the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the European Suzuki Association, the Pan Pacific Suzuki Association, the Asia Suzuki Association and the Talent Education Research Institute Japan). Each region has a representative on the ISA Board, and there are an additional 3 “at large” representatives. The ISA headquarters and CEO are based in America and the position of ISA Chair rotates between the different regions every two years.
For the years 2012 and 2013, I have undertaken the responsibility of the ISA Chair as the TERI representative. I am honored that Japan was chosen to be the host country for the Suzuki Method World Convention. And I think it is wonderful that the Suzuki Method Movement, which was founded by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, has continued to develop throughout the world. It is clear that Suzuki members from around the world are greatly looking forward to the World Convention being held in Matsumoto, the birthplace of the Suzuki Method, since there were already many inquiries about the World Convention just after we first sent out information. We are expecting many participants from many countries at this Convention.
We are now making every effort to prepare to welcome as many Suzuki families as possible to Matsumoto and hope that those that attend will experience many fabulous opportunities at the World Convention. We wish everyone who attends a wonderful week.
Let’s meet in Matsumoto next March !!! Welcome to Japan !
It is a great opportunity to share with everyone the essence of Dr. Suzuki
SAA Executive Director
Pamela Brasch of Suzuki Association of America It was August, 1985, when I first had the privilege of attending a World Conference, the 7th International Suzuki Conference held in Edmonton, Alberta. While it was taking place within the SAA’s region, Canada seemed far away. It was a new experience traveling to another country together, excited about the musical possibilities that were before us. Though bringing the whole family to northern Alberta was a huge commitment, it was an experience which none of us will ever forget. That was my first and, sadly, my last opportunity to be in the presence of Dr. Suzuki.
My next special experience was many years later when I had the privilege to visit Matsumoto for the first time. No teacher or student should miss the opportunity to get to know the teachers, the school and the community where so much of Dr. Suzuki’s wonderful teaching and writing took place. Many American children don’t realize that Suzuki was a real person--a very special, respected and honored teacher. Several generations of Suzuki teachers in the Americas and throughout the world never had the experience of studying in Japan, getting to know the culture, attending an event in Matsumoto or getting to know the teachers in Japan and other parts of the world who are carrying forward Dr. Suzuki’s legacy. Though a long and costly trip, attending the conference will be an event that will energize teachers and families. Visiting Matsumoto and attending the Conference will help put the entire Suzuki experience into context and perspective.
Together leaders from all regions of the world can teachers and families to gather in Matsumoto in 2013 for the 16th Suzuki Method Conference. We all have much to learn and share. As the Chair-Elect of the International Suzuki Association Board of Directors, I hope to work in whatever ways I can to make the 16th Conference a successful experience that will inspire and encourage each of us to work ever harder to share Dr. Suzuki’s values—beautiful music, beautiful hearts and peace in a world, united through music.
It is a testament to the strength of the Japanese people
Gilda Barston teaching at the 9th World Convention (1989, Matsumoto) On behalf of the Board of Directors of the International Suzuki Association, I would like to convey my wishes to the success of the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention, to be held in Matsumoto, Japan from March 27 to March 31, 2013.
This wonderful historic event will provide an opportunity for participating children to make friends through music with people from other countries. The convention will further the vision of Dr. Suzuki for a “world without war” and towards insuring the happiness of all children. Teachers of the Suzuki Method will be able to exchange ideas and be inspired and motivated by observing the internationally acclaimed faculty who will be teaching at the convention. The conference will also be a testament to the strength of the Japanese people, who have been working effortlessly to rebuild their country after the unprecedented disaster in 2011.
All of us in the ISA are excited by the plans for the convention. We hope to be able to attend and participate in this wonderful event.
The key to the door of all areas of the world
ISA Board Member
President of Switzerland Suzuki Association
Martin Rüttimann played together with the children at the Budokan, 51st Grand Concert ”Dawn comes to the world with children“ – what a fantastic motto for such a convention. Once again we are looking towards the future, this time to the future of our societies. Whatever we do for our children is an investment for the future of our societies. It depends fully on how we educate our children Therefore we can have a huge influence on the next generation if we start early enough with the education. However, connected to this influence is also a large responsibility.
It is amazing to see how the Suzuki method and its community is in a constant development and yet at the same time is able to stay true to its origin and still agrees worldwide on certain basic elements both for the method and the underlying philosophy. A true testimony to this is the ever increasing number of former Suzuki students who have now become Suzuki teachers themselves.
In speaking about the future of the worldwide Suzuki movement, I consider the world convention an excellent place to meet to discuss this topic in detail all together. A world convention is not only in service to see where we stand but also a moment to affirm out in what direction we should go to and to set new goals for the near future.
I am deeply convinced that with our common knowledge about education, with our positive approach towards all children of the world we do have indeed a key in our hands to open the door for better education not only in music but also in any field anywhere on this planet! Let’s use it.
Energy and excitement from children of the world
1st Chairman of ISA and 1st President of SAA
William Starr teaching at the 6th World Convention (1983, Matsumoto) It is with great joy that I look forward to the upcoming Suzuki World Conventionto be held in Matsumoto in 2013! It is only right that this convention be held in the birth place of the Suzuki Method, the first convention in 14 years!
I have many happy memories of previous conventions, meeting new friends in various host countries, hearing young soloists from all over the world, and seeing the excitement of new teachers and parents. While thousands of Suzuki teachers, children, and families have attended these conventions, these attendees have only been a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of adults and children throughout the world who have had their lives enriched by the Suzuki method.
One of the most successful attributes of Suzuki's approach is the involvement of the parent, which makes the child's study a family affair! Teachers interested in increasing the motivation of their students and parents should promote attendance at this world convention.
It will provide a great impetus for learning as the child and parent observes first-hand the excitement generated by the great number of children involved from countries all over the world!
I would love to greet you all in Matsumoto!
The World Convention: my memories; So many wonderful remembrances especially in Matsumoto, the birthplace of Talent Education
Jacquelyn Z. Corina
SAA Violin Teacher Trainer
Jacquelyn Corina appeared in the TERI Quarterly No. 167, “About Suzuki Sensei” a discussion held in San Francisco When I was a kenkyusei in the 70’s, Suzuki Sensei had a dream.Talent Education wasn’t just for Japan, it should be world-wide. All parents want their children to grow up with beautiful character, which can be accomplished through the language of music: ”All children can be educated making the world a better place.” Perhaps this could help achieve Suzuki Sensei’s wish for “a world without war,”
I look forward to reuniting with many foreign friends whom I met in Matsumoto and with all the Japanese teachers, friends, former students and their families, who have been so kind to me in many, many ways.
Suzuki Members throughout the world are eagerly awaiting the 2013 World Convention in Matsumoto
PPSA Cello Teacher Trainer
Takao Mizushima is teaching Cello mainly in Australia and New Zealand Suzuki Method is one of the very well known educational methods overseas. Most parents with little children are familiar with the words “Suzuki Method” and many violin teachers of the traditional methods start their beginner students using Suzuki books.
Most children know Suzuki repertoires not only in Australia (where I live) and its neighbour country New Zealand, but also in America.
Initially Suzuki Method spread outside Japan and now we are greeted with second and third generations of Suzuki families. Here in Sydney where I teach, many of the students are the second generation of Suzuki children. It has become a norm here that the parents who bring little children to group lessons and concerts were once Suzuki students themselves.
It is wonderful that people who learned about Suzuki Method through Dr. Suzuki spread the method all over the world and that people nurtured in this method then brought up their children in the Suzuki way. Because the Suzuki philosophy is in action amongst these children, when they grow to be parents their children become second and third generation Suzuki children. They are indeed a living proof that Suzuki Method is not a mere philosophy but is a valid method.
Unlike other methods, Suzuki Method requires only one set of repertoire books. There are no other supplementary books needed. A set of Suzuki repertoire books is enough to draw out the child’s ability and to nurture it. We see the outcome of this everywhere in the world.
From teaching centered education to nurturing centered education – the world had come to acknowledge the effect of Suzuki Method. Suzuki Method knows the potential of children. Conversely, traditional education methods view children as immature and thus that they are in need of being taught. Here is the core difference between Suzuki Method and traditional methods and the reason why Suzuki children grow splendidly.
I often observe that second and third generation Suzuki children and parents seek inspiration from Dr. Suzuki. When I speak of my personal recollection of Dr. Suzuki from the time I resided in Matsumoto I am often responded to admiringly. These young teachers and Suzuki parents passionately ask, “Have you learned from Dr. Suzuki first hand?!” They are the ones who are longing to participate in the International Convention next year. Parents asked each other saying, “Are you going too?” Teachers respond by saying, “Of course I am going”. Everyone seems to be looking forward to it.
The disaster in Japan last March destroyed the trust people had towards the common sense of science and technology. Absolute faith in common sense has vanished. Common sense is no longer common for us. Perhaps in one way it was a display that what the world thought as unshakable was actually not. Have we supported anything that is established as gospel truth?
A false belief in the common sense way of doing things might keep our children from reaching their maximum potential. Dr. Suzuki started Suzuki Method in Matsumoto. The International Convention in Matsumoto will be a wonderful opportunity to praise the potential of children that Dr. Suzuki first discovered. I am so thankful that I can witness in Matsumoto the Suzuki global movement. As Dr. Suzuki once promoted his educational method as a national policy, let’s acknowledge the depth and breadth of children’s potential ability, and go even deeper into it.
Celebration of human education through music
ESA Violin Teacher Trainer
Cathy Shepheard when she was 14 receiving a lesson from Suzuki Sensei who was also “14” years old (actually 77) Matsumoto holds a very special place in my heart. I was 14 years old when I first visited this lovely town which is surrounded by the Japan Alps, and I have memories of the old train station and gravel road my mother and I took to reach the ʻKaikanʼ.
Dr Suzuki offered me daily tuition focusing on depth and concentration of tone. He also encouraged and motivated me to play from memory, a skill I had not yet acquired!
In my first lesson he quipped that he was also 14 years old.
This was January, 1976 and Dr Suzuki was 77 years young!
Matsumoto city has of course, witnessed some changes since 1976, and sadly, Dr Suzuki is no longer with us, but his spirit pervades, and his beloved Alps stand eternally for all to admire. What a fitting and magnificent setting for the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention - a celebration of music and learning for the better of mankind.
I am sure that those who make their way to the World Convention in March 2013 will be struck, as I was, by the beauty of the region, the hospitality and kindliness of the Matsumoto people, and the continuing strength of one manʼs global vision.
ESA Violin Teacher Trainer
UK Country Director
Helen Brunner also taught at the 15th World Convention held in Melbourne, April 2009 In 1968 I first discovered the Suzuki method in New York USA. As a ‘Suzuki’ mother of four small children, I knew then that my life would change. The impact of observing my children being nurtured by this kind of teaching was huge. Even as a professional musician myself, I felt finally I had come ‘Home’. The Suzuki approach was like the Truth that I had been longing for... as a violinist, as a parent and as a teacher.
Ten years later I was able to start my own transforming violin studies in Matsumoto Talent Education Institute with Shin’ichi Suzuki himself. I am so lucky. I am so lucky and I feel gratitude every day of my life for the amazing teaching that this great master has given me.
When I was studying in Matsumoto (from 1979 periodically, Graduating in 1983) I was pierced at the heart by Suzuki Sensei. He was quite ruthless with me, accepting nothing less than total dedication and the upmost hard work. He taught us to commit to the true sound of the violin and to have unwavering devotion for “peace and happiness for all children”. His vision was far reaching and his inspiration has spread worldwide.
There are very few great men born in the 19th Century about whom we can honestly say their vision is still coming true today. This is the case with Dr Suzuki. Last year I was fortunate enough to be teaching Suzuki violin students in Singapore, Poland, France, USA, India, Australia and Germany. In January 2012 I was teaching at an enormous South American Suzuki Festival hosted in Lima, Peru. Suzuki children from Ecuador and Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay, Brazil and El Salvador mingled with children from Peru, Venezuela, Argentina and more. Everywhere in the world it is the same. Growth and persistence – a deeper understanding of ability and education – further longing for music – more committed families – more skilled playing by young players. The Suzuki Method is alive and well. This is truly a miracle of one man.
In March 2013 we will have a unique opportunity to witness the very best of Talent Education worldwide. Hundreds and thousands of students, parents and teachers will converge on the city of Matsumoto for the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention.
It will be my deepest honour to come back ‘Home’ once more.
Suzuki Method has enriched my life
ISA Violin Committee Chairman
Christophe Bossuat is also active as Chairman of the ISA Violin Committee Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It will be 14 years since the last convention in Matsumoto.
I can remember clearly then the feeling of somehow going back home.I was surprised with the intensity of the memories left there, it felt like the whole Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto had absorbed Dr Suzuki ʻs energy and that his energy was still speaking to us and welcoming us. Meeting again all the teachers at the Talent education Institute of Matsumoto was like a family reunion, the feeling was very warm and sometimes very moving. The conference itself was a model of Japanese organization every detail was so well planned which made our time so enjoyable. At the end of the conference I had doubts about ever going back to Matsumoto and felt sadeness.
This wonderful opportunity offered by our Japanese colleagues with this world conference after their last traumatic year, is an important call for all of us teachers, students, parents to get together and make the spirit of the Suzuki Method alive and strong. We need it in these unpredictable times.
I owe to my Japanese colleagues and the Suzuki Method to be there. I have been able to lead a fascinating and challenging life with children and colleagues all over the world, because of what I received in Matsumoto studying with Shinichi Suzuki.
I feel the need as a Suzuki teacher to pay tribute to the country and the organization that
contributed to make my life so rich. Please join us all over the world to create a strong living Suzuki family.
Thank you and see you in Matsumoto in March 2013 !
A concert of tribute to the victims of the earthquake
Yasser EL SERAFI
Cairo Symphony Orchestra Director
Cairo Symphony Orchestra's memorial concertYasser EL SERAFI has many friends who are teachers in Japan We will always remember the victims of Japan earthquake. In Cairo we will perform Takemitsu Requiem for strings on February 25th to remember them.
The words of Casals
PPSA Violin Teacher Trainer
Lois Shepheard is teaching Violin in Melbourne The Suzuki Method is flourishing in the State of Victoria in Australia and our children and teachers continue to be grateful to Matsumoto’s Dr. Shinichi Suzuki.
What a privilege it is for our children to attend an international meeting and share a love of music with others from different nations. We know this is the picture Dr. Suzuki had in mind as he quoted Casals: “Music is not only sound to have to dance or to have small pleasure, but such a high thing in life that perhaps it is music that will save the world.”
Victoria wishes Matsumoto every success with the 2013 convention.
Dr. Suzuki's welcoming spirit
ISA Board Member
SAA Violin Teacher Trainer
Paul Landefeld, past ISA CEO During my more than 40 years as a Suzuki violin teacher I have had the good fortune to study with Dr.Suzuki at his school in Matsumoto and be in his presence at various conventions, conferences and summer institutes. Many times I observed him in casual conversation with parents in a public setting such as a hotel lobby. It was not unusual for young children to climb onto the seat beside him or even onto his lap. I often wondered what he possessed that made him such a magnet for children.
I now believe it was his welcoming spirit. It was something you could just feel when in his presence. You could even see it in his eyes. Those eyes had a special "twinkle" that could be so welcoming. They seemed to silently say: "Welcome into my world and the wonderful adventure we are about to share." You would then notice a little smile that assured you that this adventure would be a delight.
I was in Matsumoto on the occasion of Dr. Suzuki's 88th birthday. At one of his several birthday parties I asked him to what he attributed his long and productive life and how he came to have such wonderful energy even at the age of eighty-eight. He reminded me that by his counting he was only sixteen. But then he said something I shall never forget. He said: "It is because my spirit has no desire to be somewhere else". He thoroughly enjoyed every moment as it happened. He enjoyed interaction with people and particularly with children. He enjoyed exploring new ideas and the possibilities that education could offer in shaping lives. He enjoyed life as a great adventure. And he especially enjoyed World Conventions.
The 16th Suzuki Method World Convention will be a wonderful opportunity for all of us to meet people from many countries and explore the possibilities of Suzuki's Talent Education. I encourage everyone in the Suzuki Method global community to gather in Matsumoto next March and share the adventure!
Looking forward to the World Convention in Matsumoto
Chairman, ISA Viola Committee
William Preucil, SAA President from 1995 to 1997 I eagerly look forward to the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention in Matsumoto because it allows us opportunity:
To come together and share in the strong, joyful motivation of Suzuki students from all over the world........
To honor the memory of Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki, who together taught us to realize the great potential of children.......
To take home what we learn together and show those around us what is possible for the world to be.
The World Convention, My Memories
ISA Suzuki Voice Committee, chair
The Founder of the Suzuki Voice Program
Voice Course presenting songs to Mrs. Suzuki. The person who is holding
Mrs. Suzuki’s hand is Päivi Kukkamäki Suzuki Voice Students, Families and Suzuki Voice Teachers all around the World are looking forward to coming to Matsumoto – the home town of the Suzuki Method!
How did my life-long learning with Suzuki start? I met Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and Waltraud Suzuki, Mrs. Haruko Kataoka and Mr. Toshio Takahashi the first time in Easter 1986 in Finland. During that European Suzuki Conference, I received an invitation to come to Matsumoto to study the Suzuki Method. Mrs. Suzuki was happy to find out that I was a young singer from Sibelius-University.
The following autumn I came to Matsumoto and I got lost the first day. I will never forget how welcome I felt when I was finally found and I entered the Institute’s hall. Dr. Suzuki’s 13 year-old student played me the Sibelius Violin Concerto. I sat and my eyes were full of tears. I was touched by the child’s playing and the thoughtfulness of Dr. Suzuki. I knew from that moment, this is the right place and this is the right method for children to learn Music.
My first time in Matsumoto was full of many highlights. But I can easily say that Wednesday November 19th 1986 changed my life totally: the decision to develop the Suzuki Voice Program starting with expectant mothers was made on that day. My life long journey with Suzuki Voice students began. Two years later in 1988, Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki heard for the first time Suzuki Voice students singing in Sweden, and in 1989 a Suzuki Voice group of 30 persons participated in the 9th Suzuki Method International Conference in Matsumoto. The youngest of our group was 4 months and the eldest 8 years old. I was expecting my first child. I remember how delighted the audience was when 1-½ year-old Christian sang on stage with others in canon the Volume 2 songs: “Alle Vögel” and “The Cuckoo and the Owl” and happily bowed at the end. It was a touching moment when Suzuki Voice students met Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki after the recital and they thanked even the smallest one.
In 1993 I came the third time to Matsumoto before the South-Korea World Convention. My father was helping me as I was expecting my second child. Every day I studied at the Institute’s new Library. (My doctoral thesis - 17 years follow-up study about the Suzuki Voice Program - was completed 10 years later.) I do not forget the beautiful dinner with Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki. It was nice to talk about the progress of the Suzuki Voice Program. The Suzuki Voice students had met them in Australia in 1991 and 1993. The next time we met was 1995 in Dublin, Ireland during the 12th World Convention. I remember how two fathers carried Mrs. Suzuki on a chair upstairs to where we had voice lessons. In a lesson was also my third 5-weeks-old baby who was producing intonations while we were singing. We felt like a big Suzuki Family, as in our group there were also grandparents helping.
In 1998 Mrs. Waltraud Suzuki sent us a letter the week after Dr. Suzuki passed away and she wrote: “Now all teachers have to take more responsibility to keep Suzuki’s spirit alive.” Dr. Suzuki wished the most for “the world without war”. In the Suzuki Voice Program we have wanted to follow this personal request that children learn to respect and appreciate other cultures and traditions by singing and sharing songs from around the world. International “Songs for Sharing” Suzuki Voice Workshops started in 1999.
The 13th Suzuki World Convention was held in Matsumoto in 1999 and a Suzuki Voice Group of 30 came from Finland including my fourth 1-year-old child. In memory of Dr. Suzuki I sang his favourite lied - Schubert’s “Ave Maria” - with the pianist Lola Tavor. I had sung this lied last time with Dr. Suzuki’s violinists at his 88th birthday in Matsumoto. During the convention, in addition to normal voice lessons, we had one big group lesson with 600 children. What a joy it was to sing - the Happy Suzuki way!
We did not know in 1999 that we were seeing Mrs. Suzuki for the last time. We received a postcard from her just before she passed away December 24th 2000. The Suzuki Voice Program has grown step by step. “Without hurry! Without rest!” as Dr. Suzuki used to say. We have participated in 41 conferences, conventions and /or workshops. Suzuki Voice students have sung in 15 countries, and we have trained Suzuki Voice Teachers from 20 countries.
2012 is our 25th Anniversary year. Many students who started the Suzuki Voice Program during pregnancy are now adults. Singing has become an important part of their life and many are studying music or voice as a profession (opera, solo, musical theatre or Music science studies).
We are grateful that the Suzuki Method has given us a wonderful opportunity to grow through music. This time Suzuki Voice students will participate in the convention from many different countries!
On behalf of Suzuki Voice Families,
May the 16th Suzuki World Convention be successful!
PPSA Violin Teacher Trainer
Haruo Goto lives in Sydney. He also participates in our Summer School in Matsumoto every year. And his powerful lessons at the World Convention in Melbourne were very impressive I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 1st Suzuki International Convention in Hawaii in 1975.
My favourite Dr.Suzuki was shining like twinkling stars. Everyone had a smily face with twinkling eyes.
My heart was filled with twinkling joy and happiness. I had no English but every child had the same language…… Music and Suzuki. It was a very special moment.
Japan and especially Matsumoto is an unique place for Suzuki people around the world. It enlightens people with such joy and spirit. It deepens people's emotion.
I have upmost praise and support for Japanese Suzuki people for their courage and passion to hold the World Convention under these very difficult circumstances after the disastrous earthquake.
I can forsee twinkles in the eyes and hearts of people who will be gathering in Matsumoto , with Dr.Suzuki smiling and shining from up above…….
Bridges of Music – from Heart to Heart
ESA and SAA PianoTeacher Trainer
Ruth Miura lives in Barcelona and teaches piano widely in Europe and USA. It is always wonderful to see her smiling face I would like to send my warmest wishes and congratulations to the organisers of the World Convention , who with their tremendous conviction, vision and deep belief in Dr. Suzuki's ideals, are bringing to the international Suzuki community yet another opportunity to celebrate music and its ability to transform the lives of children.
For many families and teachers, it will be a nostalgic journey back to Matsumoto, where Dr. Suzuki lived and worked for so many years. For others, it will be a glimpse of the origins of Suzuki method and a chance to experience the special magic which has always existed at the summer schools and world conventions held in Japan – but for all of the participants,
It is my deepest hope that Dr. Suzuki's desire for world peace will bring together our hearts and create a sense of harmony and balance for the Suzuki children who will become the young adults of the future.
With deepest gratitude to Dr. Suzuki , who has given me my life's work and who continues to guide and inspire me.
Taking part in the Suzuki Spirit in Matsumoto
Huub de Leeuw
ESA Piano Teacher Trainer
Huub de Leeuw studied with Mrs. Kataoka in Matsumoto and continues to visit Matsumoto almost every year The city of Matsumoto has always been recognized as a place where education and culture played an important role.
For example: since many years Matsumoto hosts Seiji Ozawa’s Saito Kinen Festival meaning that classical music including Opera has become part of city life.
Long before the situation of nowadays, in a total different era, Dr. Suzuki came to establish his Talent Education School in Matsumoto, Matsumoto welcoming Dr. Suzuki’s experimental ideas on music education.
Though small in the beginning Dr. Suzuki’s ideas spread quickly, even globally, having an impact on education worldwide.
Being aware of this it is no wonder that I feel fortunate to have studied at Dr. Suzuki’s School for a while. Especially in the School’s learning environment something struck me as totally different and new:
It was the total absence of any judgment in a negative way. For Dr. Suzuki and the other instrument teachers everything was about finding one’s true nature in music and teaching, something which I recognized as the Suzuki Spirit.
To take part in the Suzuki World Convention in Matsumoto will be like taking part in the Suzuki Spirit in the city where it all originated.
There could be no better place for linking the past to the future, no better environment to have an inspiring experience!
My Story of Discovering Suzuki
PPSA Piano Teacher Trainer
ISA Piano Committee PPSA Representative
Nada BrissendenA Shortage of Younger Players
In these days when the availability of all types of music is so prolific, it can be difficult for us to appreciate that in the years following the end of World War 2 there was a world wide shortage of musicians, particularly orchestral players. Young men who were players or advanced students went off to war, thus dramatically depleting the ranks of professional players, not only during the war years, but for many years to come.
This affected not only the major professional orchestras of the world, but also music making at the community level.
In those post war years my husband, violinist Harold Brissenden, and I were young music teachers in Wollongong, an industrial city 50 miles south of Sydney. We were graduates of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and taught at two of the city's high schools. Harold became conductor of the city choir and later, also conductor of the Wollongong Symphony Orchestra, a civic community orchestra.
The choir grew from a small group of 18 singers to a large body of some hundred singers, performing major choral works such as Bach's St Matthew Passion and Beethoven's 9th Symphony. While the choir was going from strength to strength, the orchestra was suffering from a shortage of younger players. There was no full time violin teacher in the area and prospects of the orchestra’s future were indeed bleak.
Study Violin Teaching throughout the World
Help came unexpectedly when Harold, who was now a Senior Lecturer in Music Education at the Teachers’ College attached to the University of Wollongong, was awarded a government grant sponsored by the Winston Churchill Fellowship Trust to study violin teaching, with special emphasis on the teaching of young children, at major music schools throughout the world for a period of 10 months.
After much research, Harold submitted an itinerary that included observation and study at several of the leading music schools and universities in the USA, Canada, Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Russia. From Moscow the two routes by which we could then return to Australia were through India or Japan. He had heard that there was a violin teacher in Japan who taught very young children from the age of three years, so he decided that we would return via Japan with the hope of making contact with this teacher, Mr Suzuki, who at that time, was completely unknown to us.
Mr. and Mrs. Brissenden and their students practicing before they came to Summer School in Matsumoto(1972) We left Australia as a family with our two small children, aged 5 and 4 years, in August 1968 with Los Angeles as our first destination. There Harold observed violin lessons by internationally famous players at the University of Southern California, visited schools to see their string and orchestral programs and spent a week at the university's Summer Music Camp in the idyllic surroundings of Idyllwyld in the San Bernadino Mountains. Orchestral programs in schools were practically non-existent in Australia at that time, so the incredibly high standard of everything we saw, instrumental and choral, was a revelation.
As we worked our way across the U.S.from San Francisco, Chicago, Bloomington Indiana, Toronto in Canada and Boston to New York, we were overwhelmed, not only by the high standards of musical performance, but also by the interest and hospitality of people in charge of music departments and schools. So often professors would arrange for me to observe piano classes and attend concerts, even organizing baby sitting for our children so that I could share in some of the programs arranged for Harold.
His primary interest, of course, was in string teaching and while outstanding students were in abundance in the universities, the emphasis in primary schools seemed to be on choirs and bands. Music educators were becoming aware of the teaching of Shin'ichi Suzuki in Japan and Harold had met two teachers who were starting Suzuki programs, but it was too early to tell how they would develop.
From Europe to Moscow
Australian students in front of the TERI Institute. This was their first Summer School in Matsumoto From New York we flew to London where we were to spend the next two months. Here a highlight for Harold was his visits to the Yehudi Menuhin School, especially as the young Nigel Kennedy (whose Australian father and grandparents we had met) was a student there. The Gulbenkian Society was setting up a program to introduce Suzuki teaching to Britain, but our visit was too early to see anything in action.
Then on to Europe where we were to spend approximately two weeks each in the cities of Geneva, Munich, Cologne and Vienna. I remember Harold being very impressed with the level of musicianship of senior primary schools and junior high schools in Germany - their singing and ability to analyze and understand classical works.
We were very excited to be going to Moscow. The fame of their special schools for music, ballet, sport and academic subjects led us to believe that there was much to learn from their approach. But it was the period of the Cold War and Moscow was not a welcoming place at that time. Harold had a letter of introduction to Professor Dmitry Kabalevsky , President of the International Society of Music Education, but all requests to meet him, or anyone else who could help, were refused. We had been warned that there could be difficulties in Moscow, so we spent our time there as tourists. We had purchased tickets for a recital by David Oistrakh before leaving Australia as everything had to be prepaid before entering Russia. We were told it was not possible to attend the recital and we would have to go to the Moscow State Circus instead! We did as we were told.
From Tokyo to Matsumoto
We left Moscow and arrived in Tokyo on May 5, 1969. It was our son's 6th birthday. The sun was shining, the flags were flying for Boys' Day and the shops were full of the most marvellous things. After Moscow, this was like paradise.
Performing in a Summer School Concert(1972) We were met at the airport by an Australian friend and his Japanese wife. We had arranged to stay at the San Bancho Hotel near the Imperial Palace while trying to find Dr Suzuki. There had been no reply to Harold's letters to Mr S. Suzuki, Professor of Violin, Tokyo, because the letters, incorrectly addressed, had never reached him and now, here we were in Tokyo, but still no closer to finding Dr Suzuki. I spent hours every day with the children feeding the carp in the moat of the Imperial Palace while Harold and our friends made numerous phone calls and enquiries at music schools and colleges. On the 5th day, a break through came. Someone told Harold to contact Dr Masaaki Honda who advised him that we would have to go to Matsumoto to see Dr Suzuki, so the next day we set off for Shinjuku station. It was necessary for Harold to go to a particular bank which was close to Shinjuku station to collect money, so the taxi dropped me, the children and the luggage near the station entrance while Harold went on to the bank a few minutes away. He expected to return in some thirty minutes and then we would catch the train to Matsumoto.
The thirty minutes stretched to one hour, then two, then three hours with no sign of Harold's return. With all our luggage, it was difficult for me and the children to move and the most frightening thoughts were filling my mind. Eventually, when tears were running down my cheeks, Harold suddenly appeared saying,"didn't you hear them paging you all the time?"
With all the noise, hustle and bustle at Shinjuku, I hadn't heard any announcements, but here he was! He had entered the station from the other end and there was no connection from one to the other.
Catching a much later train to Matsumoto meant we were arriving when it was dark and we had not organized any accommodation. A kind fellow traveler who spoke English took us to Travellers' Aid at Matsumoto Station. They put us in a cab, gave the driver some instructions and off we went to a restaurant not far from the station which had a few rooms for rental upstairs. They kindly gave us the only room that had a Western bed and there we stayed for the next 6 weeks.
At the TERI Institute
The next morning Harold set out to find Dr Suzuki and I stayed with the children exploring the area around our lodgings. At the end of the day, Harold returned and I remember asking eagerly, "did you find him?" "what was it like?" I still recall his excitement as he said, "It's unbelievable! I've never seen anything like it in my life! There are 5 year olds there playing Vivaldi and Bach concertos." And I, almost unbelieving, said, "Aw, but what do they really sound like?" He said,"You'll have to come to hear and see for yourself. It's amazing!"
And so it was! A few days later we went up as a family. Dr and Mrs Suzuki were there to greet us and I too, was completely overwhelmed. Joy and happiness permeated the whole place. Little children, older students, mothers and teachers were all happily involved with their music making from the Twinkle Variations up to advanced concertos. Every student played with faultless intonation, excellent posture, beautiful bowing technique, secure memory and obviously enjoyed what they were doing. I had never seen anything so inspiring.
A picture taken with Dr. Suzuki during Summer School Dr Suzuki's ability to communicate with anyone and everyone made you feel immediately accepted as part of his international family. There were several overseas students there studying to be Suzuki teachers and we were thrilled when we were invited to attend the annual teacher-training conference which was being held in the delightful little village of Uji.
We all travelled by train, a journey of a couple of hours, during which time Mrs Suzuki took me under her wing, explaining in detail Dr Suzuki's beliefs and philosophy. She told me how they had met in Berlin and how seeing young children speaking German so effortlessly when he found it so difficult, influenced Dr Suzuki's belief in the power of listening and the Mother Tongue approach to learning. Mrs Suzuki urged me to be sure that when we returned to Australia we would start a Suzuki program.
I told her I thought it wouldn't be possible because Australian mothers would not want to attend lessons with their children. Most Australian mothers had jobs outside their homes and would not be able to attend lessons and supervise daily practice. She said to me,"Nada, every mother in the world is the same. She wants the very best for her child and if you explain that to them, they will come to lessons."
On Our Return to Australia
It would soon be time for us to return home to Australia and on our return we found ourselves as busy as ever resuming all the professional and domestic responsibilities of normal life.
The following year I accepted a position as Music Mistress at a private girls' school close to our home and the university. The headmistress was keen to expand the music program and this gave us the opportunity to start a Suzuki violin program. Even though Dr Suzuki stressed the importance of the very young start, "it's never too late, but the younger the better", Harold and I thought we were better to start with children a little older, 7 or 8 years of age, and then work backwards towards the preschool child as we gained experience.
We started with eight little girls whose parents were interested and eager for them to participate. Harold was the violin teacher who came across from the university twice a week to give lessons, individual and group, and I was the "violin mother" who practiced with each girl, before school, at lunch time or after school. The mothers were encouraged to come to lessons whenever they could. Because of the experimental nature of our program, Harold and I decided that there would be no fees for these classes. To our great joy, the girls made good progress, enjoyed lessons and performed at many events at school and in the city.
The following year we organized a tour to the Suzuki Summer School in Matsumoto for this little group. It proved to be turning point for the future of Suzuki teaching in Australia. When our little group of 8 year olds playing in Book 2 heard the Japanese children playing, they were astounded and inspired. They would return to the inn where we were staying, play games with the Japanese children in the garden and then go and practise hoping to become as good as the Japanese children in their group, who in most cases were 4 or 5 years old.
The Development of the Suzuki Program
Dr Suzuki agreed to send one of his young teachers to help us train teachers. Mari Yamazaki (now Mrs Nakamura) living and teaching in Seattle, USA, came to Wollongong for 6 months, teaching at the Conservatoriums of Music there and in Sydney. The following year we took a study tour of Australian music teachers to observe Suzuki teaching in various centres in Japan. Many of these teachers, Mary Monticone, George and Stephanie Coleman, Diana Russell, Lois Sheoard, Nola Hogg returned to set up successful Suzuki programs in various states of Australia.
Since then we have had the great good fortune of having several outstanding Japanese teachers make their homes in Australia. At the time when Harold and I were leaving Wollongong to live in Sydney, Mrs Hiroko Primrose and her husband, the celebrated violist, William Primrose, chose to come to Australia, living in Wollongong where Mrs Primrose took over the Suzuki program there. Since then Australia has benefitted greatly from the presence of the internationally renowned Yasuki Nakamura, Takao Mizushima (cello), Haruo Goto (violin), Sachie Yuki (violin) and Itsuko Miyasaka Bara (piano). Most recently Maya Kitagawa has come from Japan to spend a year teaching in Wollongong where it all started 42 years ago.
Harold and I felt privileged to have known a man of Dr Suzuki's greatness. He did more than any other figure of the 20th century to relieve the shortage of string players and brought the joy of music to thousands of children.
World Convention, My Memories
Early Childhood Education Teacher Trainer
SAA, PPSA, ESA
Dorothy Jones showing Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki pictures of Suzuki ECE classes -photo taken during the 1989 Suzuki Method World Convention in Matsumoto Japan. It is with great pleasure that I join my Suzuki colleagues from around the world in welcoming children, their parents and teachers to the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention to be held in Matsumoto from March 27 to March 31, 2013. What a wonderful opportunity for children to be able to make friends through music with other children from many different countries.
My memories of Japan, the many Suzuki Method World Conventions and working with Dr. Suzuki at TEI have been a constant inspiration to me as I teach Suzuki Early Childhood Education teachers from around the world. I am often asked to repeat some of the stories that I have been able to tell about working with Shinichi Suzuki. His violin group class in the auditorium, where often I was the only spectator, were in many ways a private lesson with this wonderful man who has inspired so many children, parents and teachers over the years. As a piano teacher I thought my time in Japan would be completely absorbed in piano practice and lessons with Mrs. Kataoka but my interview with Dr. Suzuki on the very day we arrived changed all that. David (then twelve years old) would have weekly lessons with Dr. Suzuki and Miss Mori and because he “was almost adult”, he should also attend the daily teacher class. Dr. Suzuki then added “because he is still a child, “momma - will also attend.”
Every day Dr. Suzuki would come to that class and say “new Idea” – and then proceed to explain and practise this new idea with the teachers on stage. This was an inspiring daily event. He had obviously spent a great deal of time between lessons thinking about what his teachers/students needed. This was a wonderful example of the kind of teaching that he expected from all of us.
At the very first Suzuki Method World Convention, held in Hawaii in 1975 – he made a strong impression on me when he said – “Education should start 9 months before the birth of the child”. Two years later at the 2nd International, he made an even greater impression on me when he said “at the first World convention – I was wrong. I now believe education should start 9 months before the birth of the mother”.
His discussion with me in 1985 about including a program for babies in the school that he wanted me to start when I returned to Canada further changed my original idea about what I was studying while in Japan. He made arrangements for me to visit Mrs. Yano in the Preschool and we discussed many things about general education. Often as he would pass me in the hall, he would say – “don’t forget the babies”.
I returned to London Ontario and immediately spoke to my Suzuki parents asking for their help. They rallied when they saw how Dr. Suzuki had inspired me and I had wonderful support as I started to build Children’s Talent Education Centre. The programs did include the babies and in fact the Baby/Toddler program has been the aspect of that school that has kept me the busiest in the last 25 years.
Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki were very interested to talk to me about the new developments at the school, and at subsequent World conventions, I would bring photos and a progress report. Dr. Suzuki indicated his pleasure at the developments and was always very supportive.
Since his death his influence in the education of 0-3 year old children has been felt around the world – most recently in Switzerland where I just finished a training session with 16 teachers representing English, German Swiss German, French, Italian, Spanish and Swedish cultures. Dr. Suzuki would have been very pleased to see the wonderful spirit that there was among these teachers as they worked together to promote and develop Suzuki Early Childhood Education in their own countries.
The Suzuki Method World Conventions have provided a touch stone for all teachers to share new ideas with colleagues from other countries and learn of the newest developments in this ever-growing worldwide Suzuki Method Movement. I look forward to renewing old acquaintances and making new friends as we make our way to Matsumoto in March 2013.
First Impressions of Dr. Suzuki
Co-founder of The Suzuki Pre-School in New York City in 1974, and consultant to parents and teachers in Suzuki Early Education
Susan Grilli with Dr. Suzuki in Matsumoto, Japan, 1987. It was the summer of 1970 and I was visiting Matsumoto for the first time during the Talent Education Institute Summer School. My husband Peter, who grew up in Japan, and I were meeting Dr. Suzuki in his own teaching environment for the first time, and we were both terribly excited. We were not prepared for the total exuberance and energy of this man who managed to charm all ages of children, teachers, and parents, both in the audience and on the stage, with his delightful playfulness. But this was also a man who had the clearest sense of the one main teaching point he wanted to get across that day, and his students adored him！ I immediately thought back through the three years I had been teaching violin using the Suzuki philosophy and method, taught as I had been by a wonderful American student of Dr. Suzuki －a woman who had become my mentor and inspiration，Sylvia Edmunds．Watching Suzuki was like watching E. T. or a Pied Piper, someone who loved teaching his students and through every gesture expressed total confidence in what they could accomplish musically．A genius he was, but not someone removed from his students in any way. Everything he did, especially with the youngest children, was so full of fun and laughter that he seemed to share a special secret with those children. “See, I am one of you； like you I am a child of five！”
The sixteenth Suzuki World Convention is an exceptionally important opportunity to get teachers from all over the world to reconfirm their own delight and deepen their understanding of this brilliant method of teaching which Dr. Suzuki gave us － not to produce professional musicians but to create lovers of the arts and indeed of all learning. For the true spirit of the Suzuki philosophy is to lead one’s entire life convinced that talent is truly something to be educated, no matter who you are or where you live. This convention will I am sure deeply inspire all who attend, and will likely have a ripple effect among all their students for years to come. It will be a great tribute to the memory of a man who was one of the world’s greatest early educators, and to the city of Matsumoto and its people who provided him with just the right environment！