Calling all world music-minded Suzuki teachers!

Miranda Fedock said: Jan 23, 2013
Miranda FedockViolin, Viola
New York, NY
8 posts

Hello!

Are you fascinated by world music of one sort or another? Have you ever tried teaching non-Western music of any sort to your Suzuki students, or have you arranged Western music to sound non-Western (e.g. “Go Tell Aunt Rhody Around the World”)? If so, I want to hear about your experience!

I’m finishing my master’s degree in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy at East Carolina University, and I’m currently working on my master’s thesis. To this end, I’m collecting as much data as I can about other Suzuki teachers’ experiences incorporating world music of any sort into their teaching. Of course anything I use in my thesis will be cited properly and I will ask you for permission beforehand. Any and all responses will be greatly appreciated! Thank you, and have a great day!

Best,
Miranda

JoAnn said: Jan 23, 2013
 Violin, Viola
20 posts

Hello Miranda,
I love to supplement the Suzuki repertoire (or modify it) with music from other cultures and the kids enjoy it too.

At Christmas I always make sure to do some carols from a different country, and we have done French, Spanish, Mexican, Italian, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, German etc. in the past.
I always do one or two Channukah songs also and have done other Israeli music.

Of course Irish jugs and reels are always a hit and tangos and other Spanish flavored songs. This year my final concert will be themed “Let’s Dance” and most of the pieces will be dances or made into dances. Most of the Suzuki repertoire is some kind of dance- so many gavottes, bourrees and minuets!
We will be doing a Venezuelan Joropo, which should be lots of fun!

I do lots of stuff to the Repertoire, of course, and Twinkle will be played with the variation “Let’s Dance the Tango” (eighth quarter eighth quarter quarter- double up on the 2nd and 3rd note), and we will do the Theme in 3/4 time like a waltz.

Twinkle also plays heavily in my Halloween concerts and I do Spooky Theme (minor and sul ponticello tremolo) and this year we did “Spiky Theme” with Grand martele strokes and Sfz subito piano tremolo. Not necessarily world music- but super fun.

The old stand by “Allegro in Arabia” is great ( harmonic minor) and I do “Spooky Wind” Song of the Wind in a melodic or harmonic minor depending on the level of the kids, which can sound ethnic. I also do “haunted” perpetual motion—harmonic minor, the echoes sul ponticello with sixteenth notes (quadruples- measured tremolo) .

Aunt Rhody, of course, is the Gold Mine and we have done Aunt Rhody in Egypt- melodic minor) Jamaica ( Caribbean rhythm- lots of double up bows-some verbalized sounds and stamping-non players shake rhythm eggs with us), Spain- minor with Spanish rhythms, Transylvania(!)- harmonic minor and special effects that went with a Halloween spooky story. This spring Aunt Rhody will go to Italy with the Tartantella rhythm (the non players will accompany with Tambourines). I have prepared but not done yet- Germany, Russia, Klezmer style, China- parallel fifths! and of course country fiddle style and more will be coming.

I would like to add more Asian and African things and mean to get to that soon!

The kids LOVE doing these things and will practice really hard to be able to perform them.
They are super great in practicing different bow strokes, rhythms and dynamics (so much nicer than doing an etude- and more effective, because the kids will actually practice them! Preparing the piano parts to match for some of them can be a bit of a pain- I have arranged some- but having a great accompanist who can improvise helps!

Good luck with the thesis!
JoAnn

Kelly Williamson said: Jan 24, 2013
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
246 posts

Hi Miranda,

I also like to add lots of pieces from around the world. A lot of them have been from Latin America since we have strong connections with the Suzuki flute teachers there. Our colleague Fernando Formigo from Patagonia, Argentina has shared a lot of arrangements for flute ensembles—I have used his “Misachico de Cangrejillos” at workshops and institutes including Colorado and Chicago as well as in my home studio… the book 2/3/Filosofia teachers group just played the “Carnavalito” arrangement I got from him in the teachers’ concert at the Lima festival. This piece includes the sound of the sikus played on the flute, a technique I had fun teaching to my book 1-7 student group last year, and which we used in an Ian Clarke group piece as well. I try to collect music when I travel—we have the national anthem of Tanzania arranged for flute trio (book 1-2 level) from this, and I just played a Mexican children’s song arrangement with teachers in Lima, a copy of which I have been promised! Inspired by colleague Noelle Perrin’s “The Fireflies Chronicles”, I also arranged “El Condor Fireflies”. Someone gave me trio arrangements of Piazzolla tunes which I have used numerous times with students (book 2+ level). These are some of the favourites… I have a bunch of other stuff that I haven’t used extensively with kids yet.

I also use Irish tunes (99 Irish Dance Tunes by Anne McGinty and others) played in unison, and I have a few good duet books as well… our fabulous reading book “Abracadabra Flute Tutor” is full of tunes from all around the world. Colleagues Susan Friedlander and Nancy Wood use Orff-inspired songs from Africa in their group work—I am looking forward to including these resources as well. It’s great to see so many of us including music from around the world in our programs. Aside from the fun factor, and extending our students’ musical skills, it keeps reinforcing that the Suzuki philosophy is a world-wide vision, and we are lucky to have direct connections to people in other parts of the world through the Suzuki method.

Kelly

Eleanor Bennett said: Jan 24, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Villa Rica, GA
62 posts

I would like to have a Chinese song for violin to teach an Intermediate to advanced student who is Chinese. Anybody know of one?

Eleanor Bennett

Essie Liu said: Jan 29, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
26 posts

Thank Miranda for the thread and all the great ideas above. For Eleanor’s post. I would recommend Ma Sicong’s Mountain Song, Sha Hankun’s Herder’s Song, Mao Yuan’s Early Spring, Spring of Xinjiang, Fisherman’s Song(more advanced) , folk tune of Jasmine, etc. There are tons of beautiful Chinese violin works, which will strengthen techniques as well as develop beautiful tones. The works listed above are quite popular among violin students in China and work very well within my studio. For our coming studio recital, I have a student who is going to play a solo of Jasmine after we perform Vivaldi Concerto. Jasmine originated from our hometown Yangzhou, so she seems very excited to prepare it and probably she assumes great attention of playing such a non-Suzuki program at the recital, by the time the familiar melody comes to everybody’s.

By the way, the Chinese New Year (The Spring Festival) is approaching. I’m currently in China and we’re taking a national holiday break, so celebrating the festival together with all the families in the studio is one of the motivations for our studio recital. For teachers in the Americas or somewhere else, I think it’s still a right time to suggest a Chinese student to play a Chinese song (s)he’s familiar with, or any other students who might be interested in celebrating the festival. For areas with a big Chinese community, it couldn’t be more awesome to collect your Chinese students for a public recital, or at least in a group lesson to catch such holiday symbols through music. Spring Festival Overture, Early Spring, Spring of Xinjiang are always perfect repertoires at the moment.

Lastly, it’s always helpful and meaningful to show respect to and appropriately introduce the music of a student’s own culture throughout their learning experience. Students can develop a belonging and pride of their original culture besides taking musical training. Parents who are immigrators may be touched by the music in their memories, will be more motivated to assist practice at home, and even appreciate your respect to their culture and your nurturing to their generations with their own symbols. For teachers, we are always learning! Isn’t it amazing to travel around the world with an open-minded heart to interpret different flavors, to pleasantly communicate with the students and their family? Let music speak different languages.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Kira said: Jan 30, 2013
Kira MakeeverViolin, Viola
Milwaukee, WI
1 posts

A mentor teacher of mine uses String Time Joggers by David and Kathy Blackwell published by Oxford University Press which has some fun pieces for a flexible string ensemble with ostinato parts that allow students of different levels to play together. The books are available for violin, viola and cello as well as a set geared towards a string orchestra setting.

Miranda Fedock said: Jan 30, 2013
Miranda FedockViolin, Viola
New York, NY
8 posts

Thank you all so much for your responses! This is exactly the kind of information I’m looking for. Would anyone else like to contribute their experiences using world music in their lessons? Does anyone else have any sources for world folk tunes? Thanks again!

Kelly Williamson said: Jan 30, 2013
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
246 posts

A few more for flute: Gary Schocker has done some duet versions of traditional Taiwanese, Japanese, and Korean melodies that my students really enjoy playing. Schott also has a book of Chinese flute solos that I’ve used.

Kelly

Sophia said: Jan 30, 2013
Sophia Kim
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Vancouver, BC
16 posts

There are some very good books out there that develop in learners while using a CD or an ostinato type where the teacher could accompany / and or piano / drums / cello etc… to develop technique, listening skills, and bowing techniques. It is good for many styles of music later—a freedom to choose if you will as to a preferred genre. I would start with the familiar and then connect them together.

Barb said: Jan 30, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

As Kira mentioned, we use Cello Time Joggers and Cello Time Runners (so far just the two, there is also a Sprinters available). We have enjoyed many different styles including Irish, Chinese, Russian flavors. A few of my kids are currently learning the duet “Hopak” (Russian or Ukrainian dance) from Applebaum’s Beautiful Music for Two String Instruments (cello, vol 1). We have also enjoyed some Jewish folk music in the Starr’s Rounds and Canons for Cello Ensemble (also available for other strings and piano). My adult ensemble is playing a Canadian folk song this year from Joanne Martin’s Folk Strings for Cello Ensemble (also available for other instruments)—hope to do more of them from all over the world including Moo Lee Hua from China. Soon I will have some beginners doing their open string Twinkle Rhythms as ostinatos over different cultural music from Joanne Martin’s Magic Carpet (maybe one of the ones you were thinking of, Sophia Kim?). I think of these as being great exposure to different rhythm elements such as we hear in Latin American music more so than introducing different tonalities, though those are there, too. The kids only play their usual rhythms, but they go with the “new” rhythms.

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Eleanor Bennett said: Feb 10, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Villa Rica, GA
62 posts

Thanks Essie for the Chinese songs. I looked them up. Now I need to know where I can get them.
Eleanor Bennett

Eleanor Bennett

Essie Liu said: Feb 11, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
26 posts

Eleanor, I wrote back to you with an attachment at the beginning of this week. Can you check your SAA message again?

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Wendy Caron Zohar said: Feb 11, 2013
Wendy Caron Zohar
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Ann Arbor, MI
94 posts

I am enjoying reading this thread. In addition to the Suzuki material, I use folk songs and spiritual “gospel” tunes because they mostly employ a pentatonic scale which I use in my teaching. I find they’re wonderful for playing “by ear tunes”, for finding pitches, and for developing musicality and technique.

I also love using folk music from other countries because the melodies are so rich. It develops the ear and heart for sensitivity and appreciation for other cultures among Western students, and fosters pride for those children and families who come from those cultures. For example, I love using “Arirang”, and it’s a favorite not only for my Korean students. Music across cultures does so many wonderful things for the soul, including stretching our ears and learning new tonal combinations; it speaks loudly as an ambassador, it bridges across nations, and bonds us closer.

I would love to have a copy of the Chinese songs, Essie, that you have mentioned, if that’s not too difficult to attach somehow. Thank you! and to everyone who is posting here on this thread.

Wendy Caron Zohar

Essie Liu said: Feb 11, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
26 posts

Sure Wendy, forwarded to you email

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Andrea Hudson said: Feb 12, 2013
Andrea Hudson
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
26 posts

I would also love to have a copy of the Chinese Songs! My e-mail: [javascript protected email address]

Catherine Beeson said: Feb 13, 2013
Catherine BeesonViolin, Viola
Denver, CO
2 posts

Hi Essie,

Andrea’s new request has also given me the push to ask you for information on how to get the Chinese songs you mentioned. I hope you don’t mind all of us requesting your attention all at once! [javascript protected email address] THANKS!

Catherine Beeson
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Eleanor Bennett said: Feb 18, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Villa Rica, GA
62 posts

If someone has received the info on how to order the Chinese music, please send it to me. For some reason I have never received it.
Many thanks,
Eleanor Bennett
[javascript protected email address]

Eleanor Bennett

Miranda Fedock said: Mar 14, 2013
Miranda FedockViolin, Viola
New York, NY
8 posts

Thanks again to everyone who contributed! If I choose to use any of the specific information given in this thread for my thesis, I’ll contact you and ask for permission to use it.

I’d also like to bump this thread back up to the top in case there’s anyone else who would like to share anything on this topic? Any and all experiences incorporating world music into your Suzuki studio would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks everyone, have a beautiful day!

  • Miranda
Clara Hardie said: Apr 3, 2013
Clara Hardie
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Detroit, MI
21 posts

To celebrate Detroit’s deep hip hop roots, I worked with a friend who produced a beat to be played with Twinkle Variation A. For this performance, 3 of my violinists (brothers) in Detroit Youth Volume put down their instruments to do some breaking & flipping in the 2nd half of the song.

Nothing changed in the music but we made it our own by partnering with a local artist, spot-lighting other artistic skills of the students and embracing our city’s history. Sorry the video quality isn’t the best but you get the gist…

This weekend we are having a workshop with Stevie Soul “Detroit’s Favorite Beat Boxer”, who will help us come up with a special part for Song of the Wind!

Kelly Williamson said: Apr 3, 2013
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
246 posts

Thanks for sharing, Clara—that’s great! (I posted it to my Facebook page. :) )

Kelly

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