Bill Kossler, Creating Learning Community Award recipient

William Kossler, photo courtesy of Andrea Cannon

Image by Andrea Cannon

It is my pleasure to share with you the work of William Kossler in bringing the experience of his Matsumoto Training to Suzuki Guitar in the Americas.

Suzuki Teachers place high priority on Dr. Suzuki’s Philosophy. Those who worked with Dr. Suzuki in Japan offer us much as role models with a first-hand perspective. Among guitarists, our only member who graduated from the Talent Education Institute of Matsumoto is Bill Kossler. His experience brings us many unique viewpoints and continues to have a major impact within our Guitar community.

Bill is a modest, unassuming person. He does not self-promote and sincerely puts the best interest of others first. Every recommendation letter noted this. Sean Behrens referred to his “purely selfless generosity.” Michele Horner stated, “It’s never about him.” Joseph Pecoraro said, “He has many times gone out on a limb to assist his students …working to get them enrolled at North Carolina School of the Arts, even if this would mean losing them as a student.” This ethic energizes our larger community to follow his model.

As a Trainer, Bill values the growth of Suzuki Guitar by thoroughly equipping his trainees—even if it takes years. He desires to serve “struggling Institutes” as he calls them, where he builds community guitar programs at the grass-roots level.

In 2008, Professor Koji Toyoda invited Bill to return to Japan where there is still no program in Suzuki Guitar. Through a concert and two workshops, Bill helped raise awareness of the method.

Bill and his wife Lauren, a Suzuki violinist, raised their three sons, Adam, Sam and John, in the Suzuki Method. When Prof. Thomas Patterson (University of Arizona) auditioned Adam, he was very impressed and stated, “You could not ask for stronger evidence that Suzuki is an effective method. Look at the results!”

Bill Kossler builds the Suzuki guitar community not just by having a large, impressive program, but by building people. He began with his own sons. Beyond the scope of his family, he works for his students and their parents. He puts hours of effort towards his local community and has the vision to begin a Charter School there. He is devoted to Institute work and the teachers who train with him. His reward is truly to see others blossom successfully, to develop their full potential and then to share, in turn, with their communities. I personally witnessed his support and caring when I completed my Teacher Trainer Internship with Bill.

From Joanne Bath, Violin Teacher Trainer, Greenville, NC:

Bill Kossler has made a remarkable contribution to the formation and growth of the Suzuki approach in guitar. I am impressed by the way Bill has quietly, gently and intelligently spread the word about the possibilities of Suzuki guitar study and teaching. Bill is one of the reasons that North Carolina has become such a strong Suzuki state. Those of us from North Carolina congratulate him and thank him for giving so much to our state!

From Kathleen Tyree, Institute Director, who was unable to be present:

Bill has taught at least 25 years in New Orleans Summer Camps and Guitar Workshops for the GNO Suzuki Forum. He has worked with me to get a credible Suzuki guitar program going here. Matthew Hayes, my former violin student who changed to classical guitar, will be a graduating senior in guitar performance next year at Loyola University. Bill encouraged him in this, giving him the confidence that his guitar skills qualified him for the college of music.

From a parent in Bill’s program:

I am so appreciative for everything Bill has done for my children and this community. The Suzuki guitar experience is so much a part of our lives and helped to shape my sons into the people they are today. Without Bill we would not have had that, and I am so thankful for him and the Kossler family.
–Amy S. Oakley, Winston Salem, North Carolina