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September 2014 Facebook Twitter

Breaking Barriers: Bringing Suzuki to Afghanistan

Image 2 Jennifer Moberg

Image 2 Jennifer Moberg

Image by Jennifer Moberg

The Afghan National Institute of Music is the country’s only music school. Until just over ten years ago, learning, teaching, and making music was illegal. After the fall of the Taliban, it was imperative that the country revive its cultural history. ANIM brings music education to children who are most vulnerable in this region—half of the students are orphans or street kids, and it is the only school in the country where girls are permitted to learn alongside boys.

SAA registered violin teacher Jennifer Moberg began teaching at ANIM this year, and the school is currently hiring a Suzuki cello teacher. We interviewed Jennifer and ANIM founder and director Dr. Amhad Sarmast via email to learn more about the school and the work they are doing. The full interview is a must-read for any member of the Suzuki community. It is excerpted below; read the full interview on our blog.


You (Jennifer) have registered SAA training in violin through Book Ten, and ANIM is currently hiring another registered Suzuki teacher. Do you use the Suzuki method at ANIM? How have you had to modify your approach for this setting?

JM: The principles of Suzuki philosophy are central to our school’s mission, that every child can and should learn, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or social circumstances.  Many of our students are orphans, or living in orphanages, as the families are too poor to care for them.  So although there is no “home teacher” with whom to practice, the mission is the same—build character through musical study, give children something beautiful in their chaotic lives, make fine citizens and noble human beings.

Teri Einfeldt once told me that all children are Suzuki children, but not all families are Suzuki families.  I never understood that sentiment better than I do now here in Afghanistan.

What role does Western classical music play in Afghanistan’s musical revival?

AS: My vision for the school is to enable our students to promote musical diversity in Afghanistan as a basic human right, and to give the country various ensembles and orchestras that are part of music making around the world.  Now, Afghanistan has its first ever orchestra capable of performing the Afghan National Anthem.

The story of ANIM is similar to Shinichi Suzuki’s return to war-torn Japan. What do you see in your students that gives you hope for the future of Afghanistan? How is the act of playing music making a difference in their lives?

JM: Dr. Suzuki’s return to war-torn Japan is never far from my heart here in Afghanistan.  We face similar challenges—orphaned children, crippling poverty, destroyed infrastructure, lack of basic amenities like healthcare and education.  I truly believe that Dr. Suzuki’s heart would be moved by the plight of Afghanistan today and that he would declare it a Suzuki mission! 

Read More…


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In Their Own Time

(excerpted from the American Suzuki Journal, 42.4)

by Danette Schuh

Danette Schuh and SECE Student

Danette Schuh and SECE Student

The hallway conversations between parents before and after class always intrigue me. Often, after class has ended and the teachers are writing their comments in the students’ baby class journals, bits of the conversations float into the room. “Is she sleeping through the night yet?” “She will talk, but only one-syllable words right now.” “He started walking at fourteen months.” The time at which they progress through the stages of development is so important and they are quick to compare. There is always that underlying anxiety—“Is my child progressing at the ‘right’ time and the ‘right’ speed?”

When I speak to the parents in baby class (each of my Suzuki Early Childhood classes has a mini parent education “minute” near the end), the “right” timing is discussed. We often read The Carrot Seed, a baby board book about a little boy who plants a seed, nurtures it, and continues to have faith that it will grow, even as others voice their doubts. I will speak about how Suzuki often used plants as a metaphor for children. You wouldn’t pull on the head of a little flower, trying to get it to grow faster, he might say, you would only destroy it. I explain, as the book says, we just need to pull up the weeds around the seed and sprinkle the ground with water. Prepare the environment, be patient, persevere, and allow the child to grow—all in their own time, never on our schedule.

In the ECE class, it seems so natural, so simple, and yet so profound. Read More…

SAA members can expect the ASJ 42.4 to arrive in your mailboxes soon! This issue features many articles on the 2014 SAA Conference in Minneapolis including:

Want to receive the American Suzuki Journal? Join as a member today!


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September SAA Store Sale

Save 10% on popular Suzuki books and materials for students & parents, including 2014 Student Conference Videos High-Definition downloads, the revised Nurtured By Love, First Class Tips for Suzuki Parents, Winning Ways, and more!

Sale ends September 30, so don’t miss this opportunity to stock up on your favorites for your studio or your own library!



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Conference Student Videos

As a reminder, videos of student performances from the 2014 SAA Conference are now available online! Recently added videos include SYOA 1, SYOA 2, Flute Performing Ensemble, and Suzuki Americas 2014.

All videos are free to view online, or you can download upgraded content for a minimal charge. Video downloads are professionally edited in high definition and display titles, a list of performers, and video credits.



Suzuki Principles in Action: Upcoming Courses

Suzuki Principles in Action (SPA) is a two day, cross-instrumental course designed to help teachers incorporate Suzuki’s principles effectively in their teaching. The inspiration for SPA came from a need, identified by both Trainers and Teacher Workshop Participants, to deal with the challenges of implementing the knowledge gained from Unit courses into the reality of day-to-day studio teaching.

The course focuses on how to teach, not what to teach, allowing the sharing of ideas among all instrument areas. SPA is based on Dr. Suzuki’s belief that knowledge is an important first step, but “knowledge plus 10,000 times” is what produces ability. Read More…

Upcoming Courses will be held in:

Salt Lake City, UT   Sign up by September 24th!
San Diego, CA   Sign up by January 10th!


Want to offer SPA in your area? Click here for more information!

News From Here and There

What we’ve been reading, watching, and listening to around the web:

There Are No Teaching Secrets
Laurie Niles explores Dr. Suzuki’s idea of sharing our best teaching ideas and suggests ways that we can renew our store of teaching strategies on a regular basis.

How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain
When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

Why We Love Repetition in Music
Repetition is a key element of Dr. Suzuki’s teaching philosophy, and it has also become a global phenomenon in music. Why? Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis walks us through the basic principles of the ‘exposure effect,’ detailing how repetition invites us into music as active and attentive participants.

This Is Your Brain. This Is Your Brain on Music.
New neuroscience research that suggests learning to play a musical instrument helps the brain process language. Don’t miss the follow-up interview, Why Teaching Music Matters.

Upcoming Events

Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association

Ft Washington, PA Sep 27 – 28
Music Reading: From Sound to Symbol

Studio of Gail Lange

Guelph, ON Sep 27 – Dec 12
Piano 5

Suzuki String School of Guelph

Guelph, ON Sep 28
Every Child Can!

Studio of Martha Shackford

Sarasota, FL Oct 2 – 6
Violin 4

Studio of Jentry Barrett

Lincoln, NE Oct 3 – 4
Suzuki Principles in Action

Royal Conservatory of Music

Toronto, ON Oct 5
Every Child Can!

Centro Suzuki de Campinas

Mogi Mirim, SP, Brazil Oct 6 – 17
Filosofía
Cello 1
Cello 4
Cello Teaching Strategies
Guitar 1
Piano 1
Piano 2
Piano Teaching Strategies
Violin 1
Violin 2
Violin 4
Violín Teaching Strategies: Violin
Violin Teaching Strategies

Suzuki Association of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT Oct 10 – 11
Suzuki Principles in Action

Studio of Mary Hofer

Stevens Point, WI Oct 10 – 17
Voice 1

Studio of Gail Lange

Guelph, ON Oct 10 2014 – Feb 15
Piano 1

Temple University Music Preparatory Division

Philadelphia, PA Oct 11
Every Child Can!

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY Oct 11
Every Child Can!

Hartt School Community Division

Hartford, CT Oct 11 – 12
The Hartt Suzuki Orchestra Workshop: Bass, Cello, Viola, Violin

Festival Suzuki de Monterrey

Monterrey, NL, Mexico Oct 13 – 18
Cello 4

Buffalo Suzuki Strings

Buffalo, NY Oct 15 – 19
Violin 2

Suzuki Fest Costa Rica

Heredia, Costa Rica Oct 16 – 17
Every Child Can!

Studio of Melissa Kraut

Hudson, OH Oct 16 – 20
Cello 7

Sacramento State Student Chapter of ASTA

Sacramento, CA Oct 18 – 19
Every Child Can!

Prelude Music, LLC

Boulder, CO Oct 18 – 22
Suzuki Early Childhood Education Prenatal and Early Years, Stage 1
Suzuki Early Childhood Education Prenatal and Early Years, Stage 2

Universidad Federal de Santa Maria

Santa Maria, RS, Brazil Oct 19 – 22
Violin 2

Suzuki School of Newton

Newton, MA Oct 20 2014 – Jan 29
Piano 4
Violin 2

Western Springs School of Talent Education

Western Springs, IL Oct 21 2014 – Mar 17
Violin 1
Violin 2

University of Louisville Community Music Program

Louisville, KY Oct 25 – 26
Fall Violin Workshop

Encontro Internacional de Controbaixo

Goiânia, GO, Brazil Nov 1 – 8
Bass 1
Bass 3
Violin 1

Premier Business Members

Many thanks to our Premier Business Members:

Alfred Music
CodaBow International, Ltd.
Connolly Music Company-Thomastik-Infeld
D’Addario & Co. Inc.
Jupiter Music
The Potter Violin Company
Shar Music
Super-Sensitive Musical String Co.
Things 4 Strings, LLC


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