Piano group activity at the the 2008 Ayacucho National Workshop in Peru

Piano group activity

Every year the Suzuki Association of Peru holds two National Workshops: one in Lima, the capital of Peru, and one in another region of the country. These workshops are designed for low income families and for teachers and students living outside the capital city. The VII National Workshop took place in the city of Ayacucho, which lies in the central part of Peru in the Andean mountains. The event was held at the Cultural Centre of the National University of San Cristobál de Huamanga, which was founded in 1677. The University, the Municipality of Huamanga and the Suzuki Association of Peru jointly sponsored the workshop. I taught a Suzuki philosophy course, and an Early Childhood Music workshop was given by Cecilia Rodriguez from Lima. Erick Escalaya, director of the organizing committee in Ayacucho, wrote about the Early Childhood Music course: “The teachers were left speechless by this marvelous course and by the professional qualities of the teacher Ceci. One of the parents said that this course had changed the way he would now bring up his children.” This alone makes the workshop worthwhile!

Teachers Elba Jimenez (piano), Mercedes Vargas (guitar), and Cecilia Pinto (violin) also traveled from Lima to work with the local students. The children were eager and receptive and the local teachers had worked hard to organize the event. The final concert was impressive as the children demonstrated the great improvement they had made during this three-day workshop.

Cheers with Inka Kola at the 2008 Ayacucho National Workshop in Peru

Cheers with Inka Kola

While discussing the advantages of having group performances with mixed level students, a violin teacher, Felipe, remarked that it is the same as the practice in the Andean countryside: the donkeys pulling the plow are always paired. The young donkey works side by side with an older, more experienced animal. The concept was immediately clear.

In economically disadvantaged areas of the country, there is a huge problem regarding the distribution of Suzuki materials. The philosophy course participants were paying less than $10 in tuition. The book and CD sell in Lima for $10 and $22 respectively. Most people living in Ayacucho, one of the poorest regions of Peru, cannot pay those prices. We urge the publishers and distributors to find a solution to this problem, so that Dr Suzuki’s philosophy can grow in the remote and often forgotten regions of the world.

Many thanks and congratulations go to the teachers from Lima, who volunteered their time and expertise to support this new program in the Peruvian highlands. Thanks to the organizers in Ayacucho, a province rich in cultural, and in musical and artistic traditions, for their shared vision.

“Real art is one of the most powerful forces in the rise of mankind, and he who renders it accessible to as many people as possible is a benefactor of humanity.”
Zoltan Kodaly (1954)

Organizing team for the 2008 Ayacucho National Workshop in Peru

Organizing team, Fundación y Conservatorio