Memories of Dr Shinichi Suzuki: Son of His Environment, Lois Shepheard.

Lois Shepheard writes her book Memories of Dr Shinichi Suzuki: Son of His Environment with very good credentials. As a violin graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia, she played with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and went to Japan to study at length with Dr. Suzuki himself. She graduated from the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto and, on her return to Australia, pioneered the Suzuki method in Melbourne, establishing the Suzuki association now called Suzuki Music Victoria.

Lois was obviously humbled by the power of Dr. Suzuki’s teaching. As a professional player herself, she may have wondered sometimes at his seemingly endless repetition of a basis point of sound. She still took care, however, to record all her individual lessons with her violin master.

This book is enhanced by quotations from Dr. Suzuki on almost every page. You can feel that the author was actually there when he spoke about these important issues. Lois did not just read about the Suzuki method, but lived and breathed the teaching herself. Suzuki’s tone production and his expression of the living soul were life changing for her.

Dr. Suzuki always was an amazing source of energy. Lois Shepheard was in Japan for a considerable time, long enough to witness the outcome of this unusual life force. She notes his “patience, kindness, care and generosity,” and she repeatedly “marveled at his tirelessness and lack of pride.” She gives one of the quotes from Dr. Suzuki: “If you think of doing something, do it.”

One particular passage at the end of the book touched me personally. She writes, “I still remember the night I left Japan after graduating. My departure was heartbreaking. Even now I remember the anguish. . . We Kenkyusei had indeed lived in an environment where we were nurtured by love.” Exactly. This brought back to me my own agony at leaving.

This book serves as a charming reminder to all those who have worked with Dr. Suzuki in the past. This man gave careers to tens of thousands of Suzuki players and teachers in the world, and joy to millions of children and their parents. But perhaps more importantly, for those who never knew him, these simple reminiscences of Dr. Suzuki help bring to life again this amazing teacher. Lois Shepheard understood that he had the power to change the world for the better. We need that.