NPR interview—Mark O’Connor and Suzuki


Charles Avsharian said: Nov 15, 2014
 1 posts

I can’t say with certainty, but National Public Radio, NPR Weekend Edition, is supposed to be running an interview I made this week. If it does air, on one of many NPR stations , those interested in the Mark O’Connor vs Dr. Suzuki and the Suzuki Method drama may want to listen. I was told that it would on Sunday, tomorrow. I am guessing at noon (UDS Eastern Time Zone) and whenever NPR stations air it.

I imagine that my words may be cut down .. but who knows. The entire segment will be quite short…as they all are. The NPR producer for this piece is Liz Baker.
Possible playbacks after Sunday:

Please post wherever you believe there may be interested teachers and parents.

Charles Avsharian
CEO Shar Music Company

Melanie Drake said: Nov 16, 2014
Melanie Drake36 posts
Betsy Stocksdale said: Nov 16, 2014
Betsy Stocksdale
Suzuki Association Member
Baltimore, MD
13 posts

Did Mark O’Connor’s original interview ever air, or did NPR ditch it?

On Sun, Nov 16, 2014 at 9:30 AM, SAA General Suzuki Forum Discussion <
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Kim said: Nov 17, 2014
 39 posts

I had posted a response on NPR’s website in regard to this story that did some comparisons of methods including links side by side. That comment was deleted. Just thought I’d mention that comments at NPR are being moderated or someone is flagging pro-Suzuki posts over there.

Jennifer Visick said: Nov 17, 2014
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1076 posts

Well of course they’re being moderated. Having moderators for a comments section on your organization’s website is like… having brakes in your car.

And a journalistic / news organization is, I think, by profession a group of people who gather info and then “filter” the information and then they package it and sell it to the rest of the world.

So, I would expect them to moderate, and to moderate so that a certain kind of spin is presented (whatever spin they are trying to create) on the stories they present.

That being said, you could always try finding out if they have a “guidelines for comments” listing to see if there was some guideline which would allow you to create a comment that won’t be deleted by their moderators. Or re-send your comment to the NPR ombudsman asking why it was deleted…

Betsy Stocksdale said: Nov 17, 2014
Betsy Stocksdale
Suzuki Association Member
Baltimore, MD
13 posts

I haven’t commented, because I get too worked up over the whole thing. But
I’d like to send an email to Liz whatever her name is, and to her
superiors, because I feel the whole thing reflects terribly on NPR in
general. To say I am totally disillusioned with NPR would be an
understatement! My bubble has burst. :(

On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 8:30 PM, SAA General Suzuki Forum Discussion <
[javascript protected email address]> wrote:

Kim said: Nov 18, 2014
 39 posts

I did check guidelines for posting and I didn’t see any reason why my post was deleted. It had links, but other posts are including links. I suspect someone did not like the comment and tagged it as inappropriate. Just thought I’d warn people before they spent a bunch of time commenting there. I am just a parent and a former Suzuki kid (I still play casually). My kids are in a very large Suzuki program (side by side with a large traditional program) and I went to a very large Suzuki program. We have also been to many institutes, master classes, etc via Suzuki and other means.

As a lay person who spent about 15 minutes googling about the O’Connor method vs. Suzuki, I thought it was interesting O’Connor books are also released with a CD. An O’Connor play in with beginning to intermediate students looked VERY similar to a book 1 Suzuki violin play in other than the choice of music. I know O’Connor advocates note reading when starting and starting older. Well, certainly in our Suzuki program, older beginners do start in with sight reading right away. My piano kid started Suzuki and a note reading book side by side at 5. My kids have done rock improv, composition, fiddling, orchestra, ensembles, etc through local opportunities, jam sessions, and institutes. Both my kids read music well at 10 and 14. My 14 year old pianist sight reads constantly (prefers it to rep now, and hates memorizing) and has done volunteer piano work.

I think the insinuation I see on these types of Suzuki bashing threads that every Suzuki kid is doing a very old style, lock step, no reading approach for years and years is ridiculous. My kids would have quit long ago if they didn’t have creative, flexible teachers receptive to their learning style and interests. Do I think every kid taking Suzuki music has these opportunities? No—but neither does every kid learning via any method. Teachers vary no matter what method they use. Kids that are motivated, have a musical bent, and practice willingly are more likely to push and have parents that seek out additional and diverse opportunities. Not every kid is conservatory bound, a budding composer, or a future improv artist which does not remotely mean studying a musical instrument for a period is not a worthwhile pursuit IMO. That’s like saying, unless you’re going to be a published author you shouldn’t learn to write. No method is guarantee of musical genius or creativity. I actually think U.S. school systems are much more guilty of stifling expression and creativity than the music teachers that I’ve come in contact with. But that’s another story.

An interesting personal aside that came to light at our house recently. One of my kids takes voice (traditionally!). The voice teacher was a Suzuki violin kid of 16 years. Now has a masters in vocal performance, works as a performing artist, and plays 3 instruments. You’d never know the Suzuki background without a longer conversation. I am not a musician, but have several higher tech related degrees.

I just never can follow the logic on the Suzuki bashing threads from our own personal experience. And I truly have no axe to grind either way. If my kids wanted to switch to a traditional teacher in this point in the game or focus on jazz or fiddling, quit, etc, or hey, even switch to O’Connor method books, I would be fine making a change.

Man said: Nov 18, 2014
 Violin, Voice, Viola
13 posts

What Kim just said! :-) … though I didn’t grow up w/ the opp to formally study music myself…

Hopefully, MOC will finally relent (both for his own good as well as everyone else’s) and do what he actually does best…



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