Giving Credit

Jennifer Visick said: Sep 11, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Saw this article linked on Facebook today:

Interesting thoughts on giving credit. I remember once when I was in high school, my viola teacher giving a lecture—or, rather, a ‘pedigree’—of who she learned from, saying something to the effect that I was so & so’s “grand-student”.

So then I went home and tried to make a viola/violin teacher tree—like a family tree of my ancestors, except of course more complicated because of multiple teachers I had learned from; people who I felt had influenced my playing significantly. And I tried to find out who they had studied with, and so on. Interesting to see the “famous” names and the non-famous ones and the fact that I could trace it back to people like Kreutzer or Tartini made a great impression on me: there is a huge musical heritage that has been passed down through the ages, and I’m part of that, passing it down again.

Do any of the teachers out there teach about being aware of this kind of heritage/credit-giving in the world of music?

I once tried to do this for my SAA teacher trainers, too.

In trying to make those teacher trees, I definitely ran into the problem described in the article: a lot of people just don’t list or say where they studied and with whom, not after they’ve “made it” in the professional world.

Kelly Williamson said: Sep 12, 2013
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
248 posts

If you search “Flute Family Tree” you’ll see quite a number of articles devoted to this topic. The father of one of my students—who is himself an accomplished flutist—drew my attention to it.

I think it’s a matter of honour for us in the Suzuki community to keep uppermost in our minds that we ’stand on the shoulders’ of the people who taught us, and shared their knowledge with us. Whenever I use a trick in a master class that I know was thought up by a colleague, I’ll mention to the student that I got it from my friend so-and-so. I even told a student the following: she had three teachers before coming to me, and has told me several times that I’m the best teacher ever (and that she’s had these other teachers, etc.) I smile and thank her, and tell her that it’s because I am a Suzuki teacher—we actually study how to teach, and continue to work at it. We also share ideas, so I not only have access to my own best ideas, but to the best ideas of dozens of other people as well. It just isn’t fair to compare those former teachers with us! :)


Cynthia Faisst said: Sep 12, 2013
Cynthia Faisst
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Irvine, CA
127 posts

Many of us are so young when we started studying. My first teacher was a prodigy who played with the Chicago Symphony at age 5 and then studied in Europe before the war as an adolescent. By the time I met her she was near retirement and probably didn’t imagine that at my age I would be concerned with such information.
Only now I wonder, but don’t know where to start looking for Mable Jansen (her married name).
Fortunately for me, most of the technique that she imbedded in side me as a child, under all the other stuff teachers laid on top, reemerged and flourished when I began studying with Dr. Suzuki.
I suspect that they studied with people from similar schools of thought.

Ms. Cynthia
Talent Education Center: Suzuki Violin
Director of Santa Ana Suzuki Strings located at the
Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center
Volunteer, bring music to under-served communities around the world. Create Sound Investments and Futures.

Carol Gwen said: Sep 12, 2013
Carol Gwen Kiefer
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Washington Crossing, PA
75 posts

Mr. Kendall gave us his teacher “family tree.” Just his teachers going back is impressive enough!!

Merietta Oviatt said: Sep 12, 2013
Merietta Oviatt
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Cello, Viola
Stevens Point, WI
104 posts

I know that the majority of my teachers have been pretty clear about their pedigree, and I make it clear to my students. Luckily, as a violist, my lineage isn’t that long—though because I have had a few really amazing teachers it can get a little crowded. I think it’s important, though—just as it is for your actual family!

Dr. Merietta Oviatt
Suzuki Specialist
Viola/Violin Instructor
Aber Suzuki Center, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
[javascript protected email address]

Jennifer Visick said: Sep 12, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Wow, Kelly, thanks for the pointer in the Flute direction. There’s a dissertation on the flute family tree in America!

Kelly Williamson said: Sep 12, 2013
Kelly WilliamsonTeacher Trainer
Suzuki Association Member
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Cambridge, ON
248 posts

Yes. :) It’s really interesting stuff!


Jennifer Visick said: Oct 31, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts
Connie Sunday said: Oct 31, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Musicians do love to do this, particularly pianists, I think.

Violin teachers:
Joseph Pizinger, Beatrice Pease; Wichita, Kansas
Francis Jones (Auer student), Robert McNally; Tulsa, Oklahoma
Samuel Applebaum; Manhattan School of Music
Daniel Mason (Heifetz master class student); Northern Arizona State University
Raphael Fleigel; Rice University
Ruth Johnson; Supervised Suzuki training UNC-CH
Richard Luby (Galamian student); University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Harotune Bedelian (Galamian student); University of California, Irvine
Robert Davidovici (Galamian student); University of North Texas

Master classes:
Samuel Applebaum, Franco Autori (Toscanini student), Stuart Canin, Heidi Castleman, Ruben Gonzalez, Ani Kavafian, Sergiu Luca, Yo-Yo Ma, Uri Mayer, Erica Morini, Itzhak Perlman, Ruggerio Ricci, Benjamin Zander, Pinchas Zukerman.

Samuel Jones (Rice)
Tonu Kalam, Susan Klebanow (UNC-CH)

Ellsworth Milburn, Paul Cooper (Rice)
Mary Jeanne van Appledorn (Texas Tech)

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

Joyce McGlaun said: Oct 31, 2013
Joyce McGlaun
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
39 posts

I studied Form and Comp with Dr. Van! Both Virginia Kellogg and James Barber taught me violin. Were you in the Texas Tech Orchestra?

Joyce McGlaun
Strings Unlimited Violin Studio & Quartet
Baby Music of Abilene,
325-677-5766; 325-829-4440

Connie Sunday said: Nov 1, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

@Joyce: That Form and Composition, did they call it “Styles?” Took that there, both terms, I believe. Dr. Van has it down to a science. I was never in the Tech orchestra but I was in the Lubbock Symphony for five years. Dr. Van has retired. She is listed in the newest ed. of Groves. I have a page of her works:


I think all of us—instrumentalists, vocalists, composers, conductors—have long precedents and are in one family. Thus the admonition you hear, starting out, be nice to everyone because “the music world is a small world.”

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:

Heather Reichgott said: Nov 1, 2013
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
95 posts

My students get a kick out of learning that they are ‘descended’ from some of the composers they are studying :)

If I’m not mistaken, the Suzuki piano lineage goes back through Kataoka to Sigismond Thalberg and Ferruccio Busoni. There must be something in there about fluid ear-training and love of performance!

Janet Poth said: Nov 3, 2013
Janet PothViolin, Viola
San Clemente, CA
5 posts

This discussion sounds like a unique and personal path through music history.
I’ve also learned a lot from my teacher trainers. Each one has an interesting “tree” and I gain new perspectives from every class.
If you don’t know much about one of your early teachers try to learn more now. As an adult I learned more about two teachers. It was exciting and increased my appreciation of the gift my parents gave me (i.e. lessons and the best instrument they could afford). It has also helped my teaching.

Barb said: Nov 8, 2013
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
678 posts

Knowing who taught my last regular teacher (Piatigorsky and Salmond), I was able to trace my line back with help from There is a database of current and historic cellists there.

Here is my blog post if you’d like to see my cello lineage. I’ve recently worked under a different teacher a bit who studied under Tsutsumi and has taken master classes from Starker—opens up another line altogether!

I would really be interested in my first teacher and my second teacher’s lineage, but haven’t been able to find anything about them.

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

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