Suzuki piano teacher’s handbook ?

said: Jul 6, 2009
 145 posts

Hi everyone,

I want a Suzuki Piano teaching book similar to the William Starr book ‘The Suzuki Violinist’. A teachers guide to teaching Suzuki Piano. I guess there are many books out there on the market and was hoping for some recommendations.

Many Thanks!

Laura said: Jul 6, 2009
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

Sadly, there actually aren’t that many comprehensive books about Suzuki piano teaching. The one that would most closely suit what you’re looking for is called “More Than Music” by Carol Bigler and Valerie Lloyd-Watts. I’m not sure it’s still being published, but there are sure to be some used copies floating around on Amazon or Ebay. It’s a an absolute wealth of information that will not disappoint in the least.

However, in my opinion this book is a little “dated” and therefore should be supplemented with other resources or training for more complete insight on technical and musical challenges. (Kind of like how “Nurtured by Love” is an absolute must-read for Suzuki philosophy and motivation, but many of its examples are no longer completely applicable in our time and culture.)

One of the features of “More Than Music” is a complete section on key teaching points, challenges, and practice approaches for every single piece in the Suzuki piano repertoire, from Book 1 to 7. Excellent as general guidance. However, I would not consider it as a “bible” or in lieu of more complete training, because no two students will learn any piece the same way.

Overall though, it’s a book worth getting.

Good luck!

Jennifer Visick said: Jul 7, 2009
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

purple_tulips

However, in my opinion this book is a little “dated” and therefore should be supplemented with other resources or training for more complete insight on technical and musical challenges.

I would say that the Starr book is a little “dated” in this regard too. Or, perhaps “dated” is not the right word. It is a valuable but incomplete picture of what can and ought to be taught through the Suzuki repertoire.

said: Jul 7, 2009
 145 posts

Yes purple_tulip I agree that the William Starr book is a bit dated. I am a qualified Suzuki Violin teacher and want to improve my piano playing so that I can accompany my pupils, so I thought I would go through all the Suzuki piano books and wanted a book, to guide me through the pieces, it does sound as if this book is very suitable for my needs!

Many thanks

Laura said: Jul 8, 2009
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

Oh! If you’re planning to use it to improve your own playing, I might not bother. You’re already an accomplished musician who is highly familiar with Suzuki philosophy, so that part of the book won’t tell you anything you don’t already know.

The remaining part of the book goes into each piece in the Suzuki repertoire, but I don’t think it presents them in sufficient detail for your purposes. The points are good ones but nevertheless are rather sketchy, and are geared more towards the teacher who already knows how to play well but wants some suggestions for introducing them to students.

For example, it might say things like (I’m not quoting directly, just giving a general idea):
“Learn the left hand as solid chords first, before playing in broken form.”
“Watch the B flat. Use STOP-PREPARE to ensure there is no confusion here.”
“Listen for the right hand to sing while the left hand plays softly. This may be difficult at first, but continue to encourage.” [may include one or two tips that may help here, but really there are so many ways to approach this universal technical challenge in piano!]
“Note the Mississippi Hot Dog rhythm in the first line.”

As a Suzuki teacher, you would likely find such points rather intuitive already.

It sounds like you would find actual piano instruction more useful, Suzuki repertoire or not. I hope you are able to browse through this book before purchasing it, because while you may appreciate it, I am betting that you might not choose to keep it.

Have you considered attending an institute, but asking to be an observer of the piano sessions? You’d probably get more out of that—watching how techinique is taught and corrected, for example. “More Than Music” doesn’t go into that sort of thing in enough detail. I know that the two co-authors are authorities in the matter (although sadly, one of them has recently passed away, as noted in the latest Suzuki Journal). It’s just that you don’t get that in this particular book, that’s all.

Laura said: Jul 8, 2009
 
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
358 posts

Yes, I agree that “incomplete” is a better description than “dated”. They are both wonderful books in their own right, so I don’t mean to suggest otherwise.

Tiffany said: Jul 8, 2009
Tiffany Arnold
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Muncie, IN
4 posts

nelly the elephant

Hi everyone,

I want a Suzuki Piano teaching book similar to the William Starr book ‘The Suzuki Violinist’. A teachers guide to teaching Suzuki Piano. I guess there are many books out there on the market and was hoping for some recommendations.

I’m not a pianist, but just wanted to share the title of a book I discovered at an institute a few weeks ago: Focus on Suzuki Piano, by Mary Craig Powell. I looked at my roommate’s copy and was so impressed by the section on practicing that I was thinking of ordering it for myself. (I’m a violin teacher.) I believe you can look at sample pages on Amazon.

Tiffany

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