Old Suzuki Books

Sara said: Jun 28, 2011
 Violin
191 posts

Does anyone see any value in keeping the old Suzuki books?

I have them all from when I was taking lessons, but my teacher training has been in the revised edition.

Any thoughts?

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 29, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

I like the old Suzuki books better. In my teaching I change most(not all) of the new things in the new suzuki books to what they were in the old books. The new books are not Suzuki books. they’re just a new collection of the same pieces, but not with what Suzuki wanted or what Suzuki taught. So we have no right to keep calling them suzuki books. So whether you keep them or not I’ll still keep teaching them the old way…at least 80% of the time.
For instance the real Suzuki books had a tonalization exercise in Book 1. I usually used the version from book two in my teachings for the students in Book 1, but I always had them do the tonalization exercise. The new suzuki book 1’s have no tonalization exercise at all. But Suzuki cared quite a bit about students learning to make a good tone from as early as possible. So I was just writing in the tonalization exercise for another one of my book one students yesterday. Some of the new bowings in some of the pieces are ridiculous beyond belief and I won’t accept them.

Virginia Thompson said: Jun 29, 2011
Virginia ThompsonViolin, Guitar, Piano, Cello, Viola
Saint Petersburg, FL
17 posts

I love the new books. They come with a CD and this saves the students some money. They could always be improved, but that is what has made the Suzuki Method so sucessful. It’s constantly changing with the times. We still care about making a good tone that is one of the first principles of teaching this method. Teaching the student absolute perfect technique from the very beginning is what we are truly all about. Another reason why you have to study the method to teach the method. I still have some old books if anyone wants to buy them. Go to my website at www.thompsonsmusic.com I’d love to get rid of them. I have them for violin and piano.

Virginia Thompson
www.thompsonsmusic.com
727.576.0166

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 29, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

If you care so much about the good tone then why did you take the tonalization exercise out of book 1. It seems obvious to me that people who edited Suzuki book 1 don’t give a darn about the tone like Suzuki did, so I don’t consider them the real suzuki books. They just some new collection.

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 29, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

Fine the new books come with the CD(well sometimes) . But that isn’t changing what was written in the books. It is what has been changed in the books that bothers me so much. The books have been downgraded.

Sara said: Jun 29, 2011
 Violin
191 posts

I was under the understanding that the revised books were made to match more closely the original compositions of the pieces. That’s why all of the bowing changes. Is this not the case? How do you handle when you’re students go to institute or other Suzuki gathering and they are bowing totally different from the rest of the group?

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Allison Sargent said: Jun 29, 2011
Allison SargentViolin, Viola
Pflugerville, TX
13 posts

It is our job as teachers to keep up with the times so our students will be learning what other students of Suzuki teachers are learning. When our students go to camps, institutes, group classes etc. they should fit in and not feel unprepared.
I too did not like the changes in bowings and notes when I first had to switch over about 4 years ago, but I know I had to do so for my students. Its important that we continue our teacher education as well so we can give our students the most current and best education they deserve. That way they can perform in a group or overseas with fellow Suzuki students if they want.
I would still use the exercises in the original books if you really like the result of them. I too use them and think it is important to create a good tone. A bowing change here or there is not going to drastically change the progress of a student or change how you teach making good tone.

Allison K. Sargent
http://sargentstrings.com

Lori Bolt said: Jun 29, 2011
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

The new International Editions are a recent addition to my teaching—primarily due to the previous books being phased out and unavailable—so my experience is limited to Book 1 Piano at this point. I maintain many fingerings, and anything else I feel was valuable, from the older editions. I personally have always felt that the exercises which appeared in the piano books (and there appear to be more of them now) were not “Suzuki”—having been taught in training workshops that we individualized exercises for each student from the piece they were studying. I always skip the exercises—they seem “traditional” to me. But certainly, tonalization exercises which are of value can be incorporated.

I do not believe that we Suzuki teachers need to teach any one “right” way as long as we receive our teacher training and utilize the core of what we learn, including Suzuki’s philosophy. We must not judge those who teach differently from us….so by all means, use those exercises! At the same time, let us not become inflexible and unwilling to learn from new ideas.

Lori Bolt

Lori Bolt said: Jun 29, 2011
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

After reading the posts that were added while I wrote….It’s true that we do need to be preparing students to attend workshops and Institutes. That being said, however, I think this can be done while incorporating the tonalization exercises described in the original question. Maybe not…I don’t teach strings.

Lori Bolt

Rachel Schott said: Jun 29, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Keep in mind that the revisions were an international effort. They were untaken by global committee. “We” only had so much say in the changes…but I think it’s important for the sake of community to maintain and open mind and adapt to the changes decided upon.

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 29, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

I have more and more trouble getting my students to want to go to any of the suzuki workshops or festivals, and if they do go they usually go as beginners in book 1 , or my more advanced students go for the chamber music classes which have nothing to do with the suzuki pieces. But lately , even the chamber music classes my more advanced students seem to look down upon. They’re more interested in playing in the New England Conservatory, and Boston University youth orchestras and chamber music or for my own chamber musc/orchestra classes in their own towns(or close by). I can’t seem to get them to think respectively towards the suzuki workshops. So basically if I use the original suzuki bowings or anything different it won’t make any difference to them. The MA suzuki festivals have been sending me emails and letters for years begging me to get my students to come for they’re on the verge of having to cancel the festivals altogether for lack of interest and fewer and fewer people signing up. So it doesn’t seem that with Suzuki having deceased almost 15 years ago that these festivals are going to last much longer unless something changes pretty drastically
.

Coutier said: Jun 29, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

Jacob, reading your posts you seem so angry with everything Suzuki. I would guess your students pick up on your negativity and therefore they don’t go to Suzuki workshops….. Or am I totally wrong?
By the way, I am not very happy either with a lot of the changes in the revised editions, I find many—if not most—of them unnecessary. I have often wondered what kind of ego’s have produced these changes. Images of dogs having the urge to leave their scent……….
By now I am used to the changes. I still don’t find them better than the old ones but I can live with them and more importantly—so can my students. I do hope the editions will stay like this for a while.
I still love the Suzuki pieces, that doesn’t change. Actually I am really glad that my initial anger has gone.
I do wish you the same!

coutier

Zohara said: Jun 29, 2011
Zohara Rotem
Suzuki Association Member
Piano, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia
8 posts

Jacob,
I hear your concern about reduced interest in Suzuki institues /workshops.
I feel that these things—like life- have their ebbs and flows. All of us, Suzuki teachers world-wide, witness the changes. The world is ever changing… things come .. and go…and come again…
We, Suzuki educators, have to remind ourselves to keep Dr Suzuki’s vision in our heart, also when things aren’t the way we expect them to be.
Cultivating the love of music and committing to continued musical growth -this will never cease to happen.
After all : “where love is deep—much can be accomplished”.

with musical regards
zohara

Zohara
Pianist . Educator . Teacher Trainer
Sunshine Piano School
Listen . Love . Learn .
Suzuki Talent Education , Sunshine Coast, Q. Australia

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 29, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

I’m sorry if I appear angry….It seems whenever I comment about anything people seem to picture me as someone in constant temper tantrums. I don’t mean to be that way. BUt since so few of my students, if any, go to the festivals, I just have adapted what makes sense to me. Maybe with more time I’ll accept more, but we’ll have to see. Zohara, I love teaching my students, and I love teaching them far more than just the suzuki books. I love coaching them on chamber music and string orchestra music too. And yes, as my love gets bigger I feel I accomplish much more with them. I am certainly curious to see who things change with time.

Melanie Klar said: Jun 29, 2011
Melanie KlarViolin, Suzuki in the Schools, Bass, Cello, Viola
2 posts

I just got back from the Suzuki Institute in Beaver CO. I think all teachers should try to go to an institute every summer. It’s inspiring, motivating, and you learn way more than you ever imagined that you didn’t know! Students get instruction from master trainers that may see something the teacher(you) may have overlooked. You can clearly see holes in your teaching when your students are there with so many others from different teachers. You can also be encouraged by seeing all that you are doing right! Perhaps if teachers go themselves and get excited about it, that is what rubs off on their students making them want to go.
As far as new books are concerned, just make it matter-of-fact-we all have to get the new versions. If you don’t agree with them, then maybe you should be a board member and make a difference in what gets chosen. But in the mean time, there is enormous value in an organization rather than chaos and many individuals doing their own thing, so we need to support those who are doing their best to promote the wonderful ideas of Shinichi Suzuki. If you haven’t read his books lately, you should remind yourself of the wonderful philosophy at the heart of the Suzuki organization and, as I am, do everything you can to support it and make sure the children of this generation are not robbed of a beautiful heart and fine ability!

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 30, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

Yes ….then all those old suzuki books will be back in style!

Rachel Schott said: Jun 30, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

If Dr. Suzuki or Dr. Kataoka (and the other ladies who compiled the piano books) had wanted changes they would have done so before their passing

From conversations with his contemporaries, I’ve come to learn that Dr.Suzuki was constantly revising the pieces and volumes went through many changes throughout his lifetime.

I don’t know what was behind these changes, but from past years in SAA and another local Suzuki assoc. I can believe that egos may have been involved….

From what I understand, the SAA Board (that we elected) nominated members to represent us at the International Committee for the book revisions. Each country had a certain (not necessarily equal) number of votes.

Lori Bolt said: Jun 30, 2011
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

I have always supplemented the Suzuki repertoire once a student reached Volume 2 Piano. These new editions do have a “traditional” feel to them that seems opposite the Suzuki philosophy. Not that change cannot /should not ever happen….however, the Suzuki piano editions are becoming more and more traditional in my opinion.

Lori Bolt

MaryLou Roberts said: Jun 30, 2011
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
244 posts

The board is a visionary board, and has nothing to do with fingerings and piece changes. The revision was done for good reasons. Speculation about egos is not accurate. Only look at the possible reasons for the change, and be open to what is there. Those who worked on the books do so for the good of the method, and the instrument and are extremely dedicated. It is all volunteer contributions of well meaning experienced teachers. We will all benefit from their work.

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 30, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

Well why don’t you go change a few notes in BEethoven’s 9th symphony all to make it a ‘better’ piece. Maybe you could add another movement that you think would make it sound better. Any changes made were not suzuki’s and the new suzuki books are not Suzuki books, but other books….why don’t you call them Suezeuqui books I like that apelling better. It looks like a spelling that will be more internationally accepted around the world.

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 30, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

Look I eat a diet based on unrefined foods. Yes brown rice, not white rice with all nutrition taken out. I eat brown sesame seeds without the shells and all the nutrition removed. When I have flour I have whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour(or some other whole flour) but not the white refined flour that does one more harm than good when people eat it. Well similarly when I play music and teach music I want the whole unrefined pieces and the whole unrefined Suzuki books for my students. the refined ones are like using white flour or white rice in your cooking/meals….I consider them harmful. How would you like your students to pay you with a refined pay check…you know a few of the digits missing as well as the dollar sign?!

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 30, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

Anyone who doesn’t want the real suzuki books, yes the ones that Suzuki wrote, I’ll gladly take them for my students.

Coutier said: Jun 30, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

Reading Mary Lou’s stern language I don’t know whether to humbly bow down and ask for forgiveness for my frivolous contribution or to giggle. I think I’ll opt for the giggle……. Come on girl, lighten up!

coutier

Coutier said: Jun 30, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

By the way, Mary Lou is a guitar teacher, Lori teaches piano, Jacob a whole lot of instruments and I am a humble violinist. So I think each of us is talking about different revised editions and about different committees. We did have a lot of trouble concerning the violin editions in 2009. Maybe with the guitarists it was all smooth sailing?

coutier

Jil said: Jun 30, 2011
 Piano
5 posts

Post 3
Negative Nancy here providing all my comments in one convenient post! Some people use the word “negative” to deter people from speaking the truth. In other un-politically correct words, some people promote censorship by calling the truth negativity. The most important aspect of the Suzuki Method is the connection with soul. The music for each method was chosen for a reason and that is what makes the changes so disrespectful. Honor their legacies and memories by leaving well enough alone!!

Lori, I agree with your comment about the new piano books having a “traditional” feel. Jacob you’re right, some people are so enamored with glamour they cannot see that it’s a mule simply dressed up in a horse’s harness.

The fact of the matter is there are so many people out there teaching Suzuki in their own “evolving” way that the true method is often lost—one of the reasons I have not belonged to SAA for several years. I’ve seen some “Suzuki” teachers that made me cringe. I recently moved and have been interviewing with public schools. One of the music supervisors recoiled in disgust when I mentioned my Suzuki training. She and the other interviewer went on to tell me of their experiences with teachers using the Suzuki name as license to teach in the most bizarre ways. I had to reassure them that was not how I was trained.

I recently read somewhere, “A good intention is like the seed of a tree whose fruit we do not know.” And, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A good intention clothes itself with sudden power.”
.
Post 2
Lori, I too have not been a member of SAA for a few years. Yes, Rachel, the Suzuki Method is supposed to be a living/breathing/changing method with practices individualized to each student’s needs. However, in my personal opinion and out of respect for Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Kataoka, there could have been a completely separate book/series published with editorial comments or suggested fingerings/bowings, etc. Why not publish another series called “Suzuki Method 2″ or “Suzuki: The Next Generation” or “Suzuki Method: A Traditionalist’s Interpretation” or why not simply publish lists of suggested supplemental pieces? I know of teachers trained by both Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Kataoka who have for some time supplemented with pieces by 20th Century composers while completely maintaining and honoring the true essence of the teaching method. I even remember Dr. Kataoka commenting in a workshop that teachers needed to be supplementing with 20th Century music—not to mention sight-reading and theory—once Book 2 has been started. Good teacher training and common sense tell us what students need. It shouldn’t take an international committee.

Post 1
Hear! Hear! Jacob!!! If Dr. Suzuki or Dr. Kataoka (and the other ladies who compiled the piano books) had wanted changes they would have done so before their passing. I personally think it is an insult to their legacies and their memories!! I agree that these are not Suzuki’s books and just the wounded, jealous egos of others trying to earn their 15 seconds (notice I didn’t say minutes) of fame!! Those who want to change the method should compile and publish their own—maybe the Pretentious Polly/Percival Method??? If there are more teachers who feel this way there should be an outcry and a DEMOCRATIC vote on the changes rather than decisions being made in exclusive meetings by a chosen few. Otherwise, this is no longer the SUZUKI METHOD!!!

Allison Sargent said: Jun 30, 2011
Allison SargentViolin, Viola
Pflugerville, TX
13 posts

Melanie Klar

I just got back from the Suzuki Institute in Beaver CO. I think all teachers should try to go to an institute every summer. It’s inspiring, motivating, and you learn way more than you ever imagined that you didn’t know! Students get instruction from master trainers that may see something the teacher(you) may have overlooked. You can clearly see holes in your teaching when your students are there with so many others from different teachers. You can also be encouraged by seeing all that you are doing right! Perhaps if teachers go themselves and get excited about it, that is what rubs off on their students making them want to go.
As far as new books are concerned, just make it matter-of-fact-we all have to get the new versions. If you don’t agree with them, then maybe you should be a board member and make a difference in what gets chosen. But in the mean time, there is enormous value in an organization rather than chaos and many individuals doing their own thing, so we need to support those who are doing their best to promote the wonderful ideas of Shinichi Suzuki. If you haven’t read his books lately, you should remind yourself of the wonderful philosophy at the heart of the Suzuki organization and, as I am, do everything you can to support it and make sure the children of this generation are not robbed of a beautiful heart and fine ability!

Thank you for saying this!!! All of you other “Suzuki” teachers that keep complaining for no reason should really take the time to go back and read Suzuki’s philosophy and not blame, call names, laugh and be flat out rude to the rest of the SAA. We are suppose to come together as teachers and support each other and motivate each other. That is what is so great about the Suzuki method! We have so many teachers and students around the world that know the process and goals that goes into being involved in the Suzuki Method. We should take advantage of this association!

“Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens, noble human beings. If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth, and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets beautiful heart.”

“Where love is deep, much will be accomplished.”

From what I’m reading in some of your posts- you aren’t sounding very loving… No wonder your students have sour attitudes and don’t want to go to institutes or festivals! If you make it fun.. they think its fun… and it will be fun… and hey, maybe they’ll ACTUALLY learn something about being a real Suzuki student as well!

It is really sad that so many of you are jeopardizing your teaching with being personally offended with the small changes. Get over it. Its a global change. It’s done and has been this way for a number of years now, so its a little late in the game to be acting so childish. Go do some teacher training and find a way to become a better more inspiring teacher. Music is suppose to be fun and happy and not all children get the opportunity to learn music, so make it a good experience for them. There are too many negative teachers out there that are burnt out and haven’t continued to further their education that are doing more harm than good with teaching lessons privately.
Take a good look at yourself and your students.. Do you have a waiting list of students? or have you lost a significant amount of students over the past year? Have you kept the same students for many years because they like you or because the parents force them to continue?
I’m not going to lie- I have a waiting list of students coming to me because of all you depressing, negative, serious teachers out there. So thank you for the business! ;)
I prefer to make it fun, exciting, and I love my job and my students and their families.
I agree its difficult to get students to attend workshops and group classes and institutes, but if you’re a good teacher, they’ll want to do it and will put Suzuki before ballet and football.
My advice to you- take advantage of being an SAA member and become inspired to be a better person and teacher. That’s all Dr. Suzuki wanted anyways isn’t it?
Also- I’m a violin teacher, but it really doesn’t matter what instrument I teach.

Allison K. Sargent
http://sargentstrings.com

Malgosia Lis said: Jun 30, 2011
Malgosia LisInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
West Hartford, CT
15 posts

I am so surprised and a little saddened by all that I have been reading up to this point in the post about the new Suzuki books. It is interesting that the most negative (yes, Jill, they were NEGATIVE comments, not the “speaking the truth” comments) come from people who are rather disassociated with Association (by their own admission). Their students do not participate and, quite obviously, their teachers do not either.
I am saddened because the language I am reading in those posts does not belong in the Suzuki world I know. I have been active in some aspects of Association; I went to the last 4 conferences, I went to Leadership Retreat in TX, I go to Institutes, I took a class dealing with new repertoire (piano), I took Practicum and the new SPA course. What I experienced in all those is a deep love for children, deep respect for other teachers and an incredible desire to learn and grow. All of which is missing from many posts here.
Any teaching method, be it music, swimming or skiing, is a living thing. It evolves with time. Dr. Suzuki did not write a bible, and even that great book has many interpretations.
The greatness of his method is not in the bowings and fingering, it is in a way we treat students and each other. His goal after all was not to create a musician but to create an amazing human being.
For teachers the strength of the method lies in the, what we call now, a network, a sort of a global village where we can find help, have our questions answered, share our experiences and sometimes find laughter. If it means changing a few fingerings so be it. That Clementi Sonatina sounds just as good starting with the 2nd finger as id did when started with 3rd finger.
Please, send your students to Institutes (I am at one right now, and feel ,as alwasys, energized and bursting with new ideas), come yourself, attend the conference, read the Journal, get to know your board and perhaps VOTE in the next election. GET INVOLVED. Teaching can be such a lonely business.
@Jill, if you reached out and perhaps came to an institute or a conference and met the actual person who was, on the American side, involved in creating new piano books (Mary Craig Powell), you would see in about 2 seconds that there is NO “wounded, jealous ego” there, just a humble, wonderful, warm, caring human being, one of the best teachers and human being I ever met. By the way, watch NPR’s From The Top webiste to hear her amazing student perform. One of the new pieces from Suzuki books.
@Jacob. You have obviously many wonderful students. I am a pianists who knows very little about the violin books. IT is however my understanding that the new bowings and new changes bring the pieces closer to their original versions. Perhaps it was Dr. Suzuki who changed things in the first place? I don’t know so I won’t comment on that.
I LOVE what has been done to piano books. The new pieces are wonderful, the layout is clean and easy to read for parents and later children. The embarrassing empty page in book 4 is gone. There is romantic and 20th century music. There is Chopin and Bartok! What can be wrong with that? I do not understand the term “traditional feel” that has been used by Jill and Lori. What exactly is that? The variety of pieces and types of music makes the book more respectable in the eyes of “traditional” pianists. Finally we do not have to explain why our students play arrangements of string quartet (the Sonatina in the old book 3).
@ Jacob and Jill (again). The Suzuki method is being recognized as one that might be supreme to ALL existing teaching methods out there. The violins will be pleased to know that at the last Dorothy Delay Symposium in NY, Teri Einfeldt, the former now chair of Suzuki Association, was speaking about the teaching along with Itzhak Perlman and other greats of the violin world. IF that’s not recognition, I don’t know what is. Don’t you want to be part of it?
But above all, please, be respectful to each other. This is a great organization, made out of wonderful, caring people.

Malgosia Lis said: Jun 30, 2011
Malgosia LisInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
West Hartford, CT
15 posts

Allison, thank you for your post!!!!
Our Suzuki Department is about 500 students strong, 100 of them pianists, ages 4 to 18. We have difficulty absorbing all the students from the waiting list. Our students win auditions and competitions and stay with us until they graduate from high school and sometimes even longer :-).
Life is great!

Lori Bolt said: Jun 30, 2011
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Malgosia—To clarify re: the traditional feel of the new edition of Book 1 Piano (as I mentioned first thing, the only new book I have recently begun to use), I am mainly referring to the exercises pulled from the pieces—something not seen in the earlier editions—which are typical of a more traditional method book. I was taught during Teacher Training that the teacher was to individualize according to each student’s needs, not according to a set of standard exercises.

I believe that the inclusion of this kind of material causes the 1st Piano book to appear more “user friendly” to a non-Suzuki teacher who may desire to jump on the bandwagon in order to increase their studio. I have witnessed the poor quality of student such a teacher produces…perhaps why Suzuki still has a bad reputation among some, as Jil mentioned. I also feel these exercises confuse the musically literate parent who may feel the need to have their child practice them.

By the way…I am a teacher who enjoys my work, desires to grow as a teacher and tries to keep things fun when teaching. Due to the miserable economy in southern CA, my studio has dwindled. Parents are making hard choices between other activities like sports and continuing music lessons. Some of us are suffering lower student numbers for reasons not of our making.

Lori Bolt

Allison Sargent said: Jun 30, 2011
Allison SargentViolin, Viola
Pflugerville, TX
13 posts

Malgosia Lis

For teachers the strength of the method lies in the, what we call now, a network, a sort of a global village where we can find help, have our questions answered, share our experiences and sometimes find laughter.

But above all, please, be respectful to each other. This is a great organization, made out of wonderful, caring people.

YAY! Thank you. This is what the Suzuki Method is about. :)

Lori- I started my studio in a completely new state, not knowing any other musicians or Suzuki teachers in the area DURING the “miserable economy” about 2 years ago. With my positive attitude, upbeat outlook and encouraging way of teaching I had a full studio of 50 in a matter of a few months. It was easy. Most of my students have come to me by word of mouth. You can’t blame the economy or sports for a dwindling studio. It is possible to thrive in a bad economy if you market yourself the right way! (I also lived in California, so I can understand.) People love music and will find a way to get it even if they are tight on money.

Allison K. Sargent
http://sargentstrings.com

Jacob Litoff said: Jun 30, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

Just that a teacher doesn’t agree with you about whether the Suzuki books being transformed by other people is acceptable or not, does not make their comments negative. it is being negative to the suzuki teaching method by being destructive to the books he wrote. And yes I have students that last with me for many years.

What makes a student last with a teacher is not so much whether they are negative or positive but how much the teachers put their effort, heart, and soul into helping a student, and how effective their teaching approach is. When I went to Japan and saw Suzuki and his top teachers giving classes there, the negative things they said to their students was absolutely amazing. They were horrified at how horrible the students played, when I thought the students sounded pretty darn good compared to some students I’d seen under several teachers here in the USA. They gave several ways they expected the students to do FAR better, and restated how the way they’d just played was absolutely unacceptable. The teachers had VERY high standards and won’t let them be lowered one iota. Then when I see students do absolutely horrible here in the USA most teachers praise them for being so wonderful and working so hard(hahahahaha) and sounding so beautiful(snicker snicker) but if they wanted to get even better, then they list some tiny improvement out of many that the student could make. Eating too many sweets may taste very good, but in the long run is bad for one’s health. Similarly I see constantly overpraising as unnecessary, and in the long run a student won’t take the teachers comments very seriously any more.

Also many things can affect whether students last with a teacher or keep playing violin besides just the teacher.

Yes Suzuki did many wonderful things to get his books started world wide along with his approach of learning by listening is an excellent way of helping kids learn, and having group classes too. But why should we be negative about all other methods of teaching. Heifetz didn’t learn that way, Perlman didn’t learn that way, Isaac Stern didn’t learn that way, and Pablo Casals didn’t learn that way. Now great soloists have given great compliments to all that the suzuki approach has done to spread the love of playing music , especially with kids , around the world. I give it great compliments too. But there are great teachers with great results who still use other methods too. No one religion is the best and no method of teaching music is the best. We should focus more on making our approach be the best that WE can do with the best results that WE can get. Whether or not my students are learning suzuki pieces I encourage them to listen to recordings. I listened to recordings a lot when I was a kid too, even though I knew nothing about the suzuki approach. There are Music minus one recordings to play with too. But saying that Suzuki is the only method that works and being insulting to other forms of teaching is being quite negative. Again…even in my teaching I do not ONLY use suzuki books and suzuki pieces. Even Suzuki teachers like Barbara Barber , and many others, have published other collections of music and pieces that are great for teaching but are not suzuki books. And I”ve seen MANY suzuki schools that scorn any other method of teaching and forbid the use of any exercise or scale books, or other pieces outside the suzuki books to be used by any of their teachers on their faculty. It sure seems strange that they can accept the changes that people made to the Suzuki books then since those changes were not Suzuki’s. Playing music is a wonderful thing and we must share our love for it with all our students in any positive way we can.

Lori Bolt said: Jun 30, 2011
Lori Bolt
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
San Clemente, CA
226 posts

Allison—you are entitled to your opinion, but I live here and the facts are the facts re: the economy. In spite of my best efforts to market myself, the phone does not ring very often. You are blessed to live in TX, the most prosperous state in the Union.

Lori Bolt

Rachel Schott said: Jul 1, 2011
Rachel SchottViolin
Harrogate, TN
127 posts

Jacob Litoff

Well why don’t you go change a few notes in BEethoven’s 9th symphony all to make it a ‘better’ piece. Maybe you could add another movement that you think would make it sound better. Any changes made were not suzuki’s and the new suzuki books are not Suzuki books, but other books….

I thought adding an entire piece to Violin Book 4 was a pretty bold “revision” until I learned that Suzuki had intended it to be there all along (Bohm Perpetual Motion) but the piece had not yet entered public domain and couldn’t be re-published until after Suzuki died.

MaryLou Roberts said: Jul 1, 2011
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
244 posts

I am in Colombia teaching at the Festival in Bogota. Sorry that last post was so short, my computer in the place I am staying has several sticky keys, and it was hard to type, so I was cryptic……

Barbara Barber was here teaching the upper books, and I saw a really good performance of Country Dance and other wonderful violin repertoire. Her books are used by many Suzuki violin teachers, and I don’t see any conflict, they are all supportive of each other. I feel grateful to learn from the other instruments and have always been welcomed. It is a wonderful community to be a part of. I am the coordinator of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute, and also a teacher trainer for the SAA and ESA. I have seen so much of a cooperative spirit in the places I have taught, and been welcomed by the teachers in Ann Arbor, they encouraged me to get training and be involved in the SAA. I was truly Nurtured by them, and will do my part to nurture others. I am now on the SAA board, so I have learned what the board is like, and how much care and time is taken with each project.

I responded because I understand the disappointment; I have seen things that aren’t good; teachers being so positive they skip correction, or teachers not taking enough training, and other things. I have tried to do something by encouragement, and sometimes doing nothing, I’m not sure what the best way to handle these situations. I choose to be respectful when I disagree with my colleagues, which takes a lot of work and thinking. It is easy to react, but after ward, I feel bad, so I don’t want to repeat that.

I heard from the ESA that there are misprints in the violin revisions….I don’t know anything more, but maybe it will help in understanding.

I think the SAA descriptors are very helpful to teachers, and as they are taught more, things will improve. There is a misunderstanding that Suzuki teachers have to be positive all the time, and many teacher trainers are working to help trainees learn to be respectful and constructive. So we are working to improve all the time.

Bye, I have class now,
MaryLou

Jil said: Jul 1, 2011
 Piano
5 posts

Ah, the fragile ego.

Jacob and Lori, it seems that not everyone gets where we’re coming from. Perhaps we hold in our hearts the first hand teaching of Dr. Suzuki and/or Dr. Kataoka too closely and that gives us a different perspective. My respect for Dr. Suzuki’s and Dr. Kataoka’s memories remains.

Ruth Fry said: Jul 2, 2011
 Violin, Piano, Viola
Port Huron, MI
3 posts

As far as the misprints are concerned, if you check this out https://suzukiassociation.org/news/4093/ you can see comments from the Suzuki Association on the revisions and corrections that should be made to what’s printed. It also explains the changes that were made.

MaryLou Roberts said: Jul 2, 2011
MaryLou RobertsTeacher Trainer
Institute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Guitar
Ann Arbor, MI
244 posts

In the guitar world, we have had many changes in both fingerings, and pieces. I liked some of the changes, others not so much. When I heard other students play the new pieces, I saw the good in them, and then began to use them. Other pieces did not work out so well; we have some music composed by early guitar composers after Mozart, and they are square, have lots of repeats, and the students didn’t want to learn them. I just substituted another piece that was the same level. This is in our book 6, so the foundations are well established. The guitarists change some fingerings in the upper books, due to different expressions, and then they share them with the guitar committee. This is done entirely on a volunteer basis. If we want someone to know, just send it to the committee, or a person on that committee for consideration. If you want someone to know, organize your thoughts and send it in. Be constructive, otherwise, the issue will be clouded and it might affect the response. As an SAA member, you have a voice.

Coutier said: Jul 2, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

Two things.
As string players we not only have to deal with the fingerings, but also with the bowing. Suggested fingering is no problem as far as I am concerned and I feel free to use them or not. It is the bowing where our trouble with our new editions is. Imagine a concert at an international workshop.
We have students playing the old version of Bach Double (they learned it that way ages ago) and new Bach double students. Playing a concert where Bach double or Gavotte in D Major are some of the many pieces we play, can be pretty confusing.
We were invited in 2009 by the violin committee to take part in an experiment by adopting the Malpiero version of Vivaldi a minor in place of the Nachez version. Many people refused, even countries refused (Germany and Belgium if I am informed correctly). We have now a divided Europe where the a minor is concerned and I am hearing often that this lovely Vivaldi concerto is not played anymore because of this. It seems at the moment there are five versions of the a minor in Europe. I find that very sad because we have lost our common language. And that is the danger of these changes.

In 2009 on these chat pages of the SAA heaps of angry and outraged letters were posted concerning the revised violin editions. Part of the anger and disbelief was directed at the utter lack of communication from the committee. So, what MaryLou describes about the guitar committee and the way to approach them sounds like a sweet dream to me. We—that is my experience—had no voice whatsoever!

coutier

Jacob Litoff said: Jul 2, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

Well I hope the world is gradually learning that never will all humans be cloned copies of one master, never will all the people in the world have the same religion, never will all the people in the world have the same political views, never will all the people in the world have the exact same favorite sports teams, never will all the people in the world have the exact same fingerings or bowings either. How unrealistic can we be. Do you really want everyone in the world to be just like me?

Coutier said: Jul 2, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

What a great last sentence, Jacob. “Do you really want everyone in the world to be just like me?”. Well, the wisdom from which that philosophical question stems is quite attractive!

coutier

Jil said: Jul 3, 2011
 Piano
5 posts

Bravo, Jacob!

Coutier, “we have lost our common language” is true. There are few in this world who can teach or lead or represent without their ego interfering—especially in the arts. Suzuki and Kataoka were indeed unique and un-replicable.

In regard to the changes in the Suzuki books…Why do we have to make them more appealing or justifiable to the traditional teacher? Suzuki is Suzuki. Traditional is traditional. If you believe in the Suzuki method, if you fully understand the Suzuki method, why be insecure and try to please others? I have nothing against the traditional method and none of my previous comments or observations would indicate that. (If you read my previous comments with an objective mind maybe you picked that up.) In public school music we use Orff, Kodaly, Feierabend, etc., etc. When I have taught piano labs I’ve used (Gasp!) traditional methods. My first and dearest teacher was not trained in Suzuki but her heart and soul and attention to technique were cut from the same cloth as Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Kataoka. She taught selflessly until the age of 89 in an humble studio with quality and integrity. You can have a great or bad traditional teacher just as you can have a great or bad Suzuki teacher.

One can be open to all methods yet respectful of each originator. So, back to my original point in this discussion about the old books…Out of respect for two people who worked so long to develop a unique, quality method I think we should have let it be. While the following is not exactly the same situation let me try to give an example, Orff and Kodaly teachers have produced many quality works stemmed from Orff and Kodaly but they are separate works and publications.

Sara said: Jul 4, 2011
 Violin
191 posts

Very thought provoking responses. Thank you everyone for your honest and forthright comments! You have offered so many varied and determined opinions, it gives one a lot to consider. Thank you for your openness!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Malgosia Lis said: Jul 5, 2011
Malgosia LisInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
West Hartford, CT
15 posts

Dear All,
Have been away for a few days, camping. Lots of new posts, and it makes my heart smile….they are much calmer and more respectful.
I would like to give a few thoughts of mine, for anybody that cares about them. ;-)

Jill and Lori, I have to strongly disagree with you about the “Traditional” feel of books. I still did not get any explanation from you what that actually is. But moving on…the exercises, as you call them in book 1 are NOT exercises! They are previews! Something that Suzuki method first introduced and what makes our approach to learning a new piece so unique. We have review, we have working and polished pieces and we have PREVIEWS of the upcoming pieces. Here the previews are chosen for you, those are the most challenging moments in a new piece or the measures that teach a new and important skill. They are NOT exercises. Use them or leave them, it’s up to you. IT was thought of as a guide for teachers and parents.
I have to also disagree with your opinion on new recordings. They are unbelievable. And, I am not sure if you knew that Seizo Azuma, who did the recordings, was Dr. Kataoka’s student for many years. What a beautiful tribute to her! Another tribute was the fact that the International committee, working on piano books had majority of Japanese teachers, from MAtsumoto. This was done to make sure that Kataoka’s legacy was respected and preserved.
IT saddens me that Jill still insists of “big egos” without, quite obviously, knowing the details and knowing the people behind it all. Lori insist of the books having traditional feel (whatever that is), while only owning and using book 1.
Jacob, when I said that the Suzuki is being recognized as one of the leading methods, I did not belittled any other methods. That was not in my sentence or my thoughts. I simply mean that if you go to the music store now and buy ANY piano method out there the books ALWAYS come with the CD. The students are advised to listen first and then try to read the notes in any particular piece. Many now recognize that listening comes first. I am also VERY CONFIDENT about the method, you probably sensed that already. In piano books having romantic and 20th century repertoire is great, yes for those of us who want to convince traditional teachers about the worth of the method, but most of all, for students. You seem to be able to find the negative in some of my sentences that was never there.
If what you write about Longy school is true (I will actually check it out because it seems too preposterous to be true, and you say yourself that “you heard”, so you are not sure yourself), this is something that SAA never approved or supported. If you have a chance to look at that link from the Dorothy Delay symposium, you will see that Teri Einfeldt recommends a wide variety of pieces, from and the outside of Suzuki books. Here it is:
http://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/20116/12436/

Also, I was wondering if you all (including Coutier) had a chance to see the SAA website link that someone posted earlier. Here it is again, for your convenience:
https://suzukiassociation.org/news/4093/
Here is a quote from there:
“In 1996, at the behest of Dr. Suzuki, Koji Toyoda presented a paper to the teachers in Japan on the necessity of revisions to the books. Prof. Toyoda’s main points addressed the issues of instrumental technique, musical knowledge and respect for the original score. Subsequently, under Dr. Suzuki’s directive, a committee of Japanese violin teachers, with Prof. Toyoda as its head, was formed by TERI (Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto) to consider these issues. The revised Book 1 was published by Zen-On in Japan in 1998, shortly after Dr. Suzuki’s death. Books 2 and 3 were published soon thereafter, prompting discussion about revisions to the international edition.”
So, it seems there was no “disrespect” or “wounded egos”. IT was what Suzuki wanted after all. Perhaps it could have been done better, with less mistakes, in violins. Again, I am not an expert here. But I do LOVE the piano books.
The SAA Conference is coming up in May of 2012. I heard a talk that the session might be planned on new books, especially for violins. Perhaps come and meet the people behind it all, and say to them what lies heavy in your heart. Listen to what they have to say. There might be good reasons there or not. But it will be definitely better than raving on the blog.
To Lori and Jill again. And Jacob as well. The conference will be featuring many new (and old) pieces taught the in the masterclass setting. If you have a student playing one of those please send the DVD of that performance. Perhaps they will be chosen to come to a conference and have a masterclass with one if those “big ego” people? OR other master clinicians.
https://suzukiassociation.org/conference/students/
We will have wonderful clinicians this year. The detailed info on who will be posted inline in September. Jill, perhaps you would like to present a session on Dr. Kataoka and her work? Submit your proposal! This is so much better than looking at the past and bemoaning the changes. Let others learn from you and learn form the others. That’ was I believe one of Suzuki’s mottos, never stop learning.
Respectfully,
Malgosia

Jacob Litoff said: Jul 5, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Cello, Viola
Millis, MA
46 posts

Yes, Tigerstar, Love, truth, virtue and beauty…….wonderful goals in life. However they’ve been underrated in the Pisces era. It is wonderful that some people, like Suzuki , could see that those are more important than , money, power, destruction, and wars , that have been the main goals of human beings for many milleniums. I hope that starting in the new age of Aquarius we can start to enjoy Love , truth , virtue and beauty much more. Yes and accept what has been provided to us on this planet without trying to constantly upgrade it in ways that actually destroy it. That goes for genetically modified foods , genetically modified forests, and greatly modified suzuki books!

Jil said: Jul 5, 2011
 Piano
5 posts

Jacob, I have enjoyed reading your comments. Since high school I have also enjoyed what Alexander Pope wrote in “An Essay on Criticism” in 1711…

“Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.
False eloquence, like the prismatic glass,
Its gaudy colours spreads on every place;
The face of Nature we no more survey,
All glares alike, without distinction gay;
But true expression, like th’unchanging sun,
Clears and improves whate’er it shines upon;
It gilds all objects, but it alters none.”

Shine on, Jacob! Shine, on! Farewell!

Malgosia Lis said: Jul 5, 2011
Malgosia LisInstitute Director
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
West Hartford, CT
15 posts

“Words are like leaves; and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.”
Beautiful….

Another great one by the same author:
“Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.”

Not all that’s new and upgraded is bad. It all depends how you look at it. I, and many others, are thrilled with all that’s new in medicine, to name just one.

I see now that we will not see eye to eye. I am, despite my not so young age, open to trying new things, I can, I hope, acknowledge that not ALL that’s new is the best but will try to find good in what’s new. Will try it and save my opinion for later. I work VERY hard to hold off my opinions after I truly and really have tried something. I hate skiing, for example, but I did give it a fair try before saying no to it.
I can honestly say that I am not a big fun of fingering in Clementi’s Sonatina op. 36, No. 1 third movement but I can say it because I tried it with about 18 students over the last few years, and I can say from experience that for most of them the “old” fingering works better. IF only a little.
But there are some wonderful changes and additions. The new Twinkle fingering makes soooo much more sense for pianos. I was very skeptical about it and even said that I would probably not use it. I did and I am so glad about it.
As far as teachers organization go, SAA is at the top of my list in organization, community, webiste to name a few. I am a member of other organizations, even serving as a president to local chapters in the past. The comradeship, the friendship in many cases, the helpfulness that I find every time I turn to it is truly exceptional. I really wish that all people would take advantage of it.
I am signing off….

Brenda Lee Villard said: Jul 5, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
Edina, MN
27 posts

Thank you, Malgosia. I’ve been following along on this whole conversation about the old books and finally someone said what I’ve wanted to say in a beautiful way. As a cellist, I was one of the first kids to be taught via the Suzuki Method (70’s) and then to go on and become certified through all 10 books. I have been teaching Suzuki cello now for nearly 30 years up here in Minnesota, and I have seen the cello books go through several changes. As a child I learned some pieces with one style of bowing or fingering, then in college revised books came out and I had to relearn the many changes. Now in the past few years the books have gone through yet another revision and I’ve had to make changes yet again. Sure, there are a few fingerings here and there that I prefer to not change and I don’t. It’s very similar to when I get a child with a small hand—or a child with a deformed pinky whom I am teaching currently—there are some fingerings that just work better for different hands. I also like to have my kids do more shifts in Book 2 to help focus on ringing sounds to help tonalize more. I just do it. For years I always thought that Breval in Book 4 should be taught ahead of the Marcello, so I made the change myself. Now in book 4 I see that Breval is ahead of Marcello—obviously others felt the same way as I did. I,too, throw in LOTS of supplemental literature into the books starting in Book 5 on up as do most good Suzuki teachers. It’s fun to see several of those pieces now incorporated into the books when I’ve taught them all along. I teach etudes and I spend lots of time on scales, arpeggios, and reading (we have to learn 3 clefs in the cello world plus we shift a lot sooner than the violinists so we have lots to do.)I personally know the “big egos” who have helped to shape the books into what they are today. They are phenomenal teachers—the best in the country, and I wouldn’t dream of belittling their efforts or disrespecting them in any way with such sophomoric rantings. It always saddens me to hear negative comments about the Suzuki Method. I’ve watched it all my life and have worked hard to prove with my own students that they “really can read” and are wonderful, well rounded players. It stuns me even more to see Suzuki teachers themselves engaging in such a way and openly slamming my colleagues. It isn’t right.

Patricia Purcell said: Jul 5, 2011
Patricia Purcell
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki in the Schools, Viola
Fort Worth, TX
100 posts

This has been an interesting discussion, filled with passion and opinion. Dealing with change is sometimes difficult, especially if one doesn’t understand the reasons for the change or who has the authority to make those changes. Malgosia, thank you for the links to the historical perspective as well as your personal perspective that although the new editions have been thought through carefully, there are still some errors and that there are some changes that may not be appropriate for everybody (fingerings, etc.). More interesting is that you have found some changes that have worked out well, in spite of your own skepticism and awareness of the problems. I have found that we—the teachers—seem to have the hardest time because we’re pulled away from the familiar and the comfortable. The parents and students benefit from good teaching and I assume those teachers who struggle with these issues also struggle with becoming better at understanding what, when and how to teach. As I understand the stories of Suzuki, he was always coming up with new ideas—encouraging teachers to re-think how and why they were doing things. Thank you to all who continue to voice opinion. Those opinions may encourage all of us to look more closely at the new editions and find them to be useful and to express how we can improve as teachers. I, too, would like to encourage those with strong opinions—or even those with curiosity—to attend and participate in the 2012 conference. Conferences provide a great forum for discussion.

Lilli Gatti said: Jul 6, 2011
 Violin
7 posts

Let us differentiate between two problems of the Revised Violin Editions with different aspects:

No. 1: Many changes of bowings make no sense because the original compositions are not violin pieces. Keeping the old bowings would have caused much less chaos in

Happy Farmer
Musette
Hunters Chorus
Lully Gavotte
Beethoven Minuet
Boccherini Minuet
Martini Gavotte
Bach Minuet (book 3)
Humoresque
Becker Gavotte
Gavottes in D Major

There is and was no profound reason to change them.

Coutier, “we have lost our common language” is true.

No. 2: The quality in accuracy of print and CD is not professional according by today’s standards. The old edition has had fewer mistakes and was much better in many aspects.
Please read a message from Christophe Bossuat – Director of the International Violin Committee. You can find out easily that nobody in the International Violin Committee felt responsible for the final proof-reading. If the Committee would have worked professionally these problems would not have occured. The following message you find on the homepage of the European Suzuki Association. Additionally each European Suzuki violin teacher trainer got this email by Christophe Bossuat:

Dear Colleagues,
It has been brought to our attention that there are problems with the accuracy of the latest edition of the Suzuki Violin School Revised Editions Volumes 1—5.
After investigation, it was established that the incorrect file was used to reprint the Violin Editions…
This news is very unfortunate and most frustrating but please be assured that Alfred Publishing Company Inc., the ISA Board and the ISA Violin Committee are all working hard to resolve the issue and feel we are close to a resolution.
Of course, the Teaching of the Suzuki Pedagogy will continue in the correct manner even though there may be errors in the Suzuki Violin Books.
I thank you for your patience and kind understanding.

Best wishes
Christophe Bossuat

Conclusion:
These two problems have caused for many years and generations of children and teachers only problems and disadvantages. What a flop!

Jil said: Jul 6, 2011
 Piano
5 posts

I wasn’t going to devote any more time to this but since I didn’t see an email address…

Lilli, from your astute observations and comments you must be the real deal. Brava!

Coutier said: Jul 6, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

Thank you very much Lilli.
At a meeting with Christophe Bossuat last month in Holland we understood that the fault is entirely Alfred’s and that the committee is powerless as Alfred owns the copyright to the Suzuki books. Apparently Alfred can do as they please. I can’t understand what a publisher gains by selling inaccurate books, but there you are. Maybe their being Suzuki-book-monopolist makes them think they can get away with sloppiness: “You need the books, don’t you?, so stop complaining……….” Very cynical indeed!

I don’t have a very good memory, but I really don’t recall having received Christophe’s letter Lilli refers to. My collegue has an excellent memory and she doesn’t remember either. As you can imagine I am not very impressed by it anyway. And I have little patience and ever diminishing “kind understanding”.

Christophe came to Holland and on one saturday he taught six grouplessons. Christophe was my level 1 Suzuki Violin Teacher Trainer in France and I dearly value him as a teacher and as a human being. To me he is the best teacher I have ever seen at work. He has a beautiful heart, great sense of humor, creativity and such a fantastic and immediate insight in violin technique. Everything he did during these grouplessons felt as if it were totally new, including a few old tricks I’ve seen him do seven years ago. There was not a dull moment and my students learned and enjoyed. And so did we teachers. At the end of the day he was as fresh as at the beginning. To me this is what Suzuki teaching is all about and this is why I chose that path. I am forever grateful to him that he accepted me as a student.

Maybe because of his extraordinary human qualities he was the only one capable of bringing together all those teacher trainers from all those continents and help them find some kind of compromise of a compromise of yet another compromise. Maybe his sense of humor and French charm tamed the ego’s a bit (I am really sorry to say it, but I am still convinced that this entire New Edition Tower of Babylon Thing is mainly an unfortunate product of clashing ego’s). So maybe this is as good as it gets.

I would so much like my friend Christophe to stick to teaching and to setting up new Suzuki Associations in new countries and to travel from workshop to workshop and dazzle us and our students with his exceptional talent.

coutier

Lilli Gatti said: Jul 7, 2011
 Violin
7 posts

Coutier, you asked for the information I referred to. Here you can read the message by Christophe Bossuat on the ESA homepage:
http://www.europeansuzuki.org/instruments.asp?instrument=9&suzuki=Violin

Accuracy of the Revised Suzuki Violin School Volumes 1-5
June 2011—It has been brought to the attention of the ESA that there are problems with the accuracy of the latest edition of the Suzuki Violin School Revised Editions Volumes 1—5.
After investigation, it was established that the incorrect file was used to reprint the Violin Editions.

Unfortunately, our contact at Alfred Publishing Company Inc., Judy Bagnato, has left the company which further complicates the situation.
This news is very unfortunate and most frustrating but please be assured that Alfred Publishing Company Inc., the ISA Board and the ISA Violin Committee are all working hard to resolve the issue and feel we are close to a resolution.
Of course, the Teaching of the Suzuki Pedagogy will continue in the correct manner even though there may be errors in the Suzuki Violin Books.

An email with almost the same text (see in my comment above) was sent on June 30 to the European teacher trainers and was meant to inform themselves and their trainees.

Coutier said: Jul 7, 2011
Coutier RademakerViolin
58 posts

Thank you Lilli,

Maybe our violin TT hasn’t found the time yet. We will wait and see what’s comin’.
All the best from Amsterdam!

coutier

Patricia said: Jul 11, 2011
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Martinsville, NJ
58 posts

Nobody here should play one up on anyone….. unfortunately… lately that has been happening in the Suzuki movement… at conferences, workshops and summer institutes. I beg everyone to step away and feel Dr. Suzuki’s heart…. for the love of the children and for the beauty that music brings to them.
I have to agree with Jacob. I have been attending things since 1980—I know I heard people talking about the day when Suzuki passed so they could revise the books. Sorry…. those teachers- people had not encompassed his spirit at all.
I have many students that come from China—in China—they are selling the old books and they are in a complete volume.
I have had to really think about these changes and went around to all the music stores in my area and bought them out of the old books.
I really missed Tonalization exercises in Book 1 and 2—they replaced them with scale studies….. I don’t like how they put 4th fingers in the music as if they were needed half the time? Just because you can—doesn’t mean it makes sense from a playing aspect? But, the most important thing I don’t like—is they write out everything that someone in the committee thought was important….. as if it were someone’s own edition of the music (IE—Galamians edition of this concerto versus Fransecatti’s)…..
The Beauty of the Suzuki Method was that each teacher was asked to devote 100% of themselves to the study of how to teach something… Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Starr and Dr. Kendall said over and over again—”have 1000 ways to teach the same thing” That was what made Suzuki Teachers better then most Traditional Teachers. My students love watching me teach other students, because they see me teach the same thing in a different way.
With that said, I am using the new books and changing the things I can’t stand back to what I always did…. I do like some of the changes—let’s say in Gavotte in D Major in Book 3 . I had to pray long and hard about this….. in my heart, I think Dr. Suzuki is asking each of us—to be the Teacher we are suppose to be…. I used to change a few things in the old books and added supplemental too—so I am doing it again with these newer books. Perhaps, someone on the committees thought by making changes—it would get more performers or traditional teachers into the Suzuki movement? What I see in my area is—it helps those performer-not good teachers think they can hang their shingle out without going to an institute even more? In my estimation, if the SAA spent money on changing these books—that money would have been better spent on other things—but—it’s gone and we have to go on, carrying Suzuki’s Mantle of Love of Student, Love of Music and Love for Eachother as Colleagues with us. Where Love is Deep, Much Can Be Accomplished…. I just love Dr. Suzuki…. I sure miss him.

Cynthia Faisst said: Aug 6, 2011
Cynthia Faisst
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Irvine, CA
127 posts

For some of us who had the privilege of studying directly with Dr. Suzuki in Japan for several years, only one edition is just not enough. There are things I wish they had left in the book and yet I an grateful for the extra notes and asides in the new Edition.

As Sensei was constantly upgrading his own teaching ideas over the years, we could have ended up with 4 or 5 editions, each one valid for its own perspective. What the committee had to do was choose from all of Dr. Suzuki’s notes and put together volumes that would be most relevant to modern violin students and still have a unified system of bowing that could be used for collaborative performances. This does not mean that they are written in stone. Believe, you me, Sensei would have seen any edition as a starting point.

Just as John Kendall often joked that ‘taught in isolation, the Suzuki Method is a terrible teaching method.’ The implication being that learning to play the violin is so complex and the children we teach so diverse that there is no single way that will do it all.

Personally, I am waiting for an electronic version so that I can have all of Sensei’s notes and supplemental ideas in one place with a side bar where I can link to them. I also want to edit some pages with notes and ideas from some of my favorite teacher trainers. Currently I ask students to photo copy some pieces so we can do several layers of analysis about different aspects of the piece they are working on. It would be nice to have tags (which I could continue adding to) for all of these things so I could do searches for them in an efficient manner. The first time I saw the Midi version and played it on my PC I though why can’t I add some of my own memos, mark ups on layers and foot notes for personal use.

I don’t suppose Alfred Music is listening to this.

Ms. Cynthia
Studio:
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.

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