European Suzuki Association - Teachers Newsletter Vol 36 2016

3 Chairman’s Column Martin Rüttimann Gavotte (the last piece in the book) and then I’m done (I should mention that there were not many students ahead of me, so we did not really have the chance to “be inspired by others”). Reaching the end of Book 1, I was given the cassette of Book 2 and I admit that I really liked those pieces as well. So, I kept going for one more book. This continued book after book each time thinking ‘then I’m done’. The longer I played the more I enjoyed it (something I would never have admitted – especially not during practice sessions). What always kept me alive were the Group Lessons. I did not care at all what piece we played. I was just so full of joy when we could play together and glad when the exercises were done. Piano was not my forte My parents were of the opinion that learning the Piano would be good for me also and I duly started lessons with a Suzuki Piano Teacher. Again, I liked these pieces very much and especially the beginning seemed relatively easy as some of them were familiar to me. But something was missing. I quickly realised that it was the group lessons. Sometimes there were little concerts, sometimes some students had a lesson at the same time and we did little things together, but never did we play the pieces all together on our instruments. “And that’s really Suzuki?” I asked my parents after a while. My mother was clever enough to show me the book where it was clearly written “SUZUKI PIANO SCHOOL” so, I had to accept it. To conclude, I did continue with Piano for a while, but I definitely could have done better. Group lessons – the unison playing – were for me the missing part. I did not see the point of learning pieces I could not play with others. Many years later, I found out what great music I had missed by not doing Books 5, 6 and 7. My urgent request, therefore, to all Suzuki Piano Teachers is to please see the group lessons and especially the unison playing from the child’s perspective and don’t start the debate whether that may work for a “solo instrument” or not. We have seen the results of group lessons worldwide and yes, it does work also on the Piano! CollaboWHAT? The concept of what it means to be a Suzuki Teacher starts, in my opinion, with the understanding, that we are part of a bigger picture , of a worldwide community which serves children all over the world, for their benefit and their e d u c a t i o n t h r o u g h m u s i c . The concept of the Suzuki Philosophy also starts with the understanding that we all have our strengths and weaknesses . To a certain extent, the Suzuki Philosophy will be interpreted differently by each individual and each teacher will set his/her own emphasise/ focus. Working together is difficult , we all are passionate musicians and sometimes have strong convictions. One person’s conviction may conflict with that of another. What is the way forward here? Most likely we should start to agree to disagree . Only if we make room for others, can everybody find a place in the “bigger picture”. If we do not take ourselves too seriously, then we can be role models for others who also feel that they can contribute to the development of the Suzuki Method ™ without being afraid of making mistakes. Within the quality Teacher Training that we offer, there must still be room for everyone to make their own mistakes. We all make mistakes and will most likely continue to do so. For me the Suzuki movement is unique because it is an International movement . Dr. Suzuki’s approach is unique because it is based on universal principals . “ All children can learn an instrument from a very early age based on the Mother Tongue method. ” This, for me, is the essence of the Suzuki Method ™. What is it for you? What is the Suzuki Method™ really? This year’s column is written more from a personal perspective than a global one. If, after reading this, you expect to finally get to the “truth” about the Suzuki Method ™, then I am afraid that you will be disappointed – you will not find it in this text. Whether you are Teacher Trainee currently on a Suzuki Teacher Training Course or an experienced Suzuki Teacher, there is nothing here which will be new to you. What I have written is purely my very personal perspective on the Suzuki Method ™ and its Philosophy based on my experiences as a former Suzuki student and now as a Suzuki Teacher. Dr. Suzuki told me ... First of all, I consider it important that we are all aware that each one of us has a very personal view of the Suzuki Method ™ . Different aspects of Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy attract us, depending on our environment and our personal history. Whatever you have heard in your training courses, there is no “truth” about the Suzuki Philosophy. It is always a subjective view by any one individual at a given point in time—a view which can change over the years. The only written accounts we have about Dr. Suzuki and his life are his own books and articles, as well as books written by people who studied with him. A much richer source of information are the “word of mouth” accounts of Dr. Suzuki’s life - the anecdotes, memories, and stories from people who knew and met him. However there is something we call the “M other Tongue approach ” whose principals can easily be described. It is based on the observations of how all children can learn a language, however difficult it might be - Positive environment: encouragement Exposure: listening Imitation: repetition Cumulative learning: step by step Long, Long Ago As a child, however, none of this was relevant to me. For me, it was all about the next Piece, the next Group Lesson, the next Workshop and the next Break (extremely important!) When I was in Violin Book 1, for me it was very clear to play up to Gossec