Seventh Suzuki Voice International Workshop “Songs for Sharing”, Argentina 2009

Participants at the Songs for Sharing Seventh International Suzuki Voice Workshop in Argentina.

We are very happy because the Seventh Suzuki Voice International Workshop “Songs for sharing” was held in Argentina, January 2-8, 2009. It was wonderful to share the music, the singing and the love in one same Spirit based in the Suzuki approach. Participants were teacher trainers, teachers-in-training and students from Finland, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Chile and Paraguay. The teacher trainers were Dr. Päivi Kukkamäki, the founder of the Suzuki Voice Program (Finland) and Katrina Pezzimenti (Australia).

The Suzuki Voice program is growing and growing around the world. This was excellent opportunity for Latin American teachers who were interested in the Suzuki Voice Program, to participate in the first short-term Suzuki Voice Teacher Training course held in Latin America. We are expecting to have this wonderful Latin American teachers’ team working together for the good of the children through the singing and the music.

During the workshop we shared many activities. Every day there were group and individual lessons for students: babies, children, adults—beginners and advanced. The students who participated were between ages one and 26 years. There were two big concerts, “Songs for Sharing Recital” and “Farewell Recital” with soloist and group performances. The recitals’ repertoire were huge; there were Book 1 songs but also advanced level repertoire (level 4 and 5 songs) including opera arias from Mozart, Verdi, Humperdink, Montsalvatge and other art songs of famous composers and chamber music. Every evening we had Special Activities like lectures and exhibitions: “Qué es el programa de Voz Suzuki?” and “Memories of the Suzuki Voice Program.” There were country presentations about the culture represented: Australia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Finland and Paraguay. This was a great way to know more about culture and music of each country.

Teachers-in-training worked very intensively. They observed group and individual lessons for babies, children of different ages and adults and also they made themselves very nice teacher-in-practice lessons. During the short-term course we focused on the Suzuki Voice Program and Suzuki Method ideas: listening, imitating and repeating, parent-teacher-student relationships, parent orientation, role of parents and teachers across the ages, home practice, motivation ideas and feedback, developing practice skills (step-by-step process), developmental phases for the 0-6 year old stages, child’s progress in singing, and the understanding of the body as an instrument. The work also focused on analysis of the Suzuki Voice repertoire, text and melody, form, dynamics, rhythm, phrasing and the practical work for relaxation, breathing, posture and body use, articulation, phonetics, resonation and intonation.

We had also other activities during the workshop, including a lecture about “Academic Argentinean Music, focusing on Carlos Guastavino,” a lecture about “Music Cognition and Suzuki Method” and a lecture and practice about “Candombe and Tango Music.”

These were a few comments from students and teachers-in-training:

“I understood that the process to become a Suzuki Voice teacher needs to be taken with patience and perseverance and that this brings us the happy possibility to see the fruits (results) that we sowed”.
—Gabriel Huaroc (Perú)

“I could certainly felt the Suzuki Spirit shared between all the persons who know the Method, the Suzuki Spirit is a very special feeling of friendship not often found in other places or groups.”
—Julián Molinero (Argentina)

A big group of students were from Finland and Argentina. The Finnish student group at the workshop was the original Suzuki Voice Program group which started in Finland in 1986 with Dr. Kukkamäki. The students had started the program already when they were babies or when they were in the womb. There were also new students in this big group traveling to Argentina.

It was touching to see how the Argentinean and Finnish students and families got to know each other, how they shared their culture and sang together. Since 2001 Argentinean students have been learning singing by following the Suzuki Voice Program. During all these years by studying with the Suzuki Voice Program, they have perceived our “teamwork” and have felt being part of this Program. That would be the reason of that special feeling they had when they met. They felt they had known each other from a long time. It was amazing when we had the first practice with the pianist. We were so many coming from different parts of the world, but anyway we sang together, perfectly! From my point of view, that little detail represented the “working together” style we use in the Suzuki Voice Program. We are permanently in contact, we support each other, we are open to learn new things every day, we learn from each others’ culture, we work step by step, we share music and life in a natural way—we work together as Suzuki friends in spite of our different places of residence.

During the workshop we shared experiences which we will never forget! We felt we were joined by the present, the past, and for the future. We could share last years’ activities through videos and photos and we could find the connections we had all these years thanks to the teachers’ team-work created and supported by Dr. Kukkamäki. The repertoire we sang came from different countries, we sang in different languages and the most important thing was that we felt the connection with the culture from where the music came from.

Memories of the workshop will be in the students’ and teachers’ hearts all their lives. This experience was special and unique for all of us. As I said to the students at the end of the workshop, we do not need to be sad because the workshop ended. We need to be happy because this is a new beginning for the Suzuki Voice Family to grow, knowing and loving our past but looking forward to the future.

Thank you to the teacher trainers to came to Argentina and made this Workshop a reality. Without their help nothing of this would had been possible. The Workshop sponsors were: the city of La Plata, La Plata Suzuki Association, Suzuki Families Association Finland and the Finnish embassy in Buenos Aires. Thanks to the families Garganta, Terracciano, Molinero, Paoli, Soto, Vides, Caceres, Barbero, Capponi and Savolainen for helping in the organization of the Workshop.