Translations by Marcial BF, Roberta Centurion, Grace Carvajal Mulatti

In January of this year, the XVI Suzuki International Festival was held in Lima, Peru. A total of 83 teachers and 204 students attended. Teachers arrived from Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico and from various parts of Peru outside of Lima, including Arequipa, Trujillo, Piura, and Cusco. In my Piano IB class alone, there were six countries represented! This was made possible by the financial support we received from the Suzuki Association of the Americas and from the Suzuki teachers of Ohio. The Suzuki Association of Peru was able to offer scholarships in the form of travel allowances to teachers from other Latin American countries. Also, donations from the Idaho Suzuki Institute and Holy Names College allowed the Suzuki Association of Peru to give scholarships to Peruvian teachers and students, from Lima and the provinces, who would otherwise not have been able to attend.

Annika Petrozzi, president of the Suzuki Association of Peru sent the following message:

In the Suzuki movement the winds of Latin American integration are blowing. For years we have cultivated friendships and coordinated with our neighboring countries, but during the First Latin American Suzuki Teachers Conference held in Lima in 1999, we recognized that we shared similar difficulties and shared an enormous desire to improve ourselves. The SAA sensed this and contributed with a small but significant fund which helped teacher trainers come to our 16′h Suzuki festival held in January of this year, and helped participants travel from many parts of this immense region. Over the 10 days we heard music and Spanish voices and inflections from Buenos Aires and Tucuman, from Santa Cruz and from La Paz, etc. In the teacher’s concert, we enjoyed a rich tapestry of music from many of the participating countries, including the rich Brazilian harmonies and the sweet, sentimental huaynos from Cuzco. What a wonderful experience it was for our students and families! -A.P.

The January 2001 festival was a historic occasion for the Suzuki movement in Latin America. It was the first time so many guitarists and cellists from different countries came together to share ideas and learn. Included in the group was Danilo Gallardo Riveras, a teacher from the Conservatory in La Paz, who is the first Suzuki teacher from that city.

Tanya Carey taught a class of ten cellists, the largest class she has taught in Latin America! She writes:

After the harsh winter weather in Chicago, the warm balmy breezes and beautiful flowers of Lima were especially welcome. Equally so was the warmth and beauty of the people at the XVI International Suzuki Festival. This was certainly the strongest overall teacher’s class I can remember in South America in numbers and quality. Everyone had the pieces memorized for Book 1 and Book 4. Since my teacher training duties were heavy, I saw fewer children this year. Somehow Annika Petrozzi, the senior cello teacher, managed for me to see all the children.

What was especially exciting was the range of countries represented. Ten teachers from Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia participated. Argentinean teacher Andrea Espinzo brought a class full of students of all levels. She also ably assisted in teaching children’s classes with Annika Petrozzi. The playing of the 20 children showed good tone, intonation and facility. Though we started early in the morning and left late at night cellists found a moment to gather to read the Bachianas Brasileiras by Villa Lobos. We especially enjoyed Fun Night when the cellists all bowed their neighbor’s cello while fingering their own in a gigantic circle. It is gratifying to see and hear the cellists grow in numbers and quality in South America!—T. C.

Ana Carolina Garbero, a cellist from Tucuman, Argentina sent the following letter to the Suzuki Association of Peru after the festival:

I am writing to express my appreciation for having been awarded a scholarship that permitted me to travel to Lima to take cello Units lA and IB at the XVI Festival Suzuki. Without your help, I would not have been able to attend. This would have been a great loss for me. In my country, courses in pedagogy for instrumental teachers have not yet been developed. This is indispensable for cellists like myself, who want to continue in their training and in their personal growth….

Organizing a festival of this size is a real challenge in Latin America. I have no doubt that this has set an example worthy of emulating. I will fondly remember the marvelous treatment I received, as well as the inspiration and the enthusiasm to continue growing in the Suzuki philosophy. -A. G.

It was very exciting to see networking taking place between teachers from different countries, with the common goal of fulfilling Dr Suzuki’s dream: to create a better world through music. There was talk of more festivals, workshops, joint student ventures and passionate exchanging of ideas and materials took place. The international flavor gave a unique quality to the teachers’ concerts, when the visiting instrumentalists delighted the audience with music of their region and culture. The visiting teacher trainers witnessed teamwork carried out with love and joy and the students, their families and the trainees were full of praise for the level of professionalism, musicianship and expertise which the teacher trainers projected. Without exception, everyone left the festival full of new ideas, renewed energy and a more profound understanding of Dr Suzuki’s philosophy.

The festival was divided into two sessions: during the first session, teacher training courses were offered in Suzuki philosophy, guitar, and violin.

Marilyn O’Boyle reports:

It was wonderful to be a part of the Suzuki Festival again. I taught a violin teacher development course called “Teaching Strategies and Techniques for Suzuki Violin Books One through Four”. We had a wonderful group of teachers from Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico. Many of these teachers had taken courses at the Festival for more than 10years, while others were there for only their second training experience. The teachers’ course was in the morning and the students came every afternoon. I saw and heard a lot of great students, so I know that the Suzuki Violin Method is growing in quality and quantity in Peru. -M.O.

During the second session teacher training courses were offered in piano, cello and recorder. Recorder teachers Kyoko Harakava and Aurelia Miller Reis Rodrigues traveled from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to participate in the recorder workshop, directed by Lucia Nieto of Lima.

They report:

We had the privilege of studying with Lucia Suarez de Nieto, a very devoted teacher with lots of charisma. She is loved and respected by students and parents because of her efficacy, mastery of the Suzuki Method, loving personality and generosity. The course allowed us to understand the method fully through our daily class work and observation of master classes and presentations.

The festival and the recorder course gave us irreplaceable contact with the Suzuki method, as we were shown with live examples how the method “based on the mother tongue approach” really works. This training makes it possible for us to work more confidently within the Suzuki philosophy and to share with our colleagues and teachers. -K.H. and A.R

Doris Harrel writes:

It was my pleasure to teach piano Book 5 Extension course and master classes in Lima. I was so happy to see many old friends in my class, since I had taught in Lima eight years ago. Some of these veteran teachers have students playing fairly advanced literature, and I was touched by the obvious love for music which their teachers had inspired.

These familiar Peruvian faces were joined by teachers from Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. There was exhilaration and excitement in the air as a result of the multinational makeup of teachers. They had much to share from experiences in their own countries.

The students were not only multinational but also from other cities in Peru. Virtually all students were well prepared and supported by earnest parents who were definitely involved in the process. I would like to single out a couple of experiences which I feel exemplify Dr. Suzuki’s focus, to guide children to become noble human beings. One dedicated teacher trains piano students in a children’s home in Lima. One of the students she brought to the workshop was Orlando, a boy in his teens who performed the Bach F major Invention very well and also contributed ably to a chamber music group.

That deserving young man had his self-esteem fed during the workshop and will grow up to be a contributing member of society.

We heard another of her students, Rudolfo play his first Twinkles in the final concert with so much focus. The teacher who works with these students is a true example of what can be done to shape young lives through the Suzuki Method. -D.H.

A teacher workshop in Singing in the Suzuki style was taught by Lola Quesada, who has taken courses with Paivi Kukkamaki in Lima and in Finland. She completed level one of the European Teacher Training program and is currently teaching Suzuki Voice in Lima.

Ana Maria Wilde, director of the school Talent Education Shinichi Suzuki, traveled from Tucuman, Argentina to participate both in Early Childhood Education and in the Singing workshop. She writes:

I want to express my great satisfaction for all the gratifying experiences which I had at the XVI Suzuki Festival in Lima, Peru. The long and costly trip from Tucuman, north Argentina was not in vain since the Festival surpassed my highest expectations. During the first session I participated in the ”Early Childhood Musical Stimulation» Workshop observing 5- to 30- month old infants with their parents ably taught by Luisa del Rio and Roxana del Barco. There is no doubt that the success of this course was in the live observation of babies enjoying musical activities for 30 to 40 minutes over four classes. By the end of the fourth day, I observed that even the five-month-old babies, when given a familiar stimulus, anticipated with jay what was to follow. Sound, music and movement were the focus points and always associated with sensory perceptions, such as visuals (puppets, boxes, surprises, etc.) One activity flowed into another, always providing a contrast or element of surprise that maintained the children’s enthusiastic interest.

I was moved when I returned home and could share these experiences with my 17-month-old granddaughter Julieta and her mother Andrea. I realized how important the affective emotional element to learning is and how these experiences promote the harmonic and integral development of the child and facilitate parents to continue these experiences at home for the enjoyment of their children. The children with such important experiences begin to construct their sensorial-perceptive world which favors language acquisition and the discovery of the world in which they live. Congratulations to Lucha and Roxana! Thank you for your generosity.

During the second session I participated in the Singing Workshop. I was especially curious to see how singing was introduced to young children. My father and older sister used to sing and my home was a meeting place for excellent singers and musicians. I expected to observe singing in this workshop, but not actually sing. Was I wrong! Lola Marquez, with her soft, sweet but at the same time, firm manner of a true professional wanted to integrate our heterogeneous group of teachers and students of different ages, experience and training, and invited us to sing naturally. This made me feel very comfortable. I discovered that children could be led to sing in tune and develop their linguistic abilities if you begin at an early age with well-planned experiences, in the form of games, presented daily by an adult who can provide excellent examples of the natural and expressive use of the voice. Upon my return, I thought a lot about how from infancy to nursery schools, singing should hold the place of greatest importance. Thank you very much, Lola! A.W

During the first session teacher workshops were offered in Early Childhood Education. The early childhood workshop was taught by Luisa del Rio and Roxana del Barco who had taken courses with Dorothy Jones in Peru and are currently working with parents and infants in Lima.

Both sessions included classes and workshops for students as well as teachers. During the second session Ralph Harrel taught a course in duos and chamber music. He writes:

I was privileged in the Lima Festival, to teach classes in 4-hand piano ensemble and to help a chamber music group prepare for a recital performance. This was the first year that duet-playing was offered. The multi-national group was enthusiastic and well-prepared, enabling us to progress musically throughout the week. I feel the students accomplished much, not only musically but also in terms of self-assurance and social confidence. Most of them performed their duets in one of the student recitals. I taught through an interpreter, Consuelo Stubbs, herself a fine composer-pianist, who was of immense help both to the students and to me. The chamber group, piano and string quartet, had prepared two works by Catherine McMichael. When I told them I knew Cathy, they seemed surprised to be playing works by a LIVING composer. Some of the players spoke some English, and though we had a translator, we could talk directly about some aspects of playing. I had the feeling that the group had never played for a large audience, and they learned, over the 5 days, about projecting their feelings “to the back row”. At the final recital they played with great intensity and feeling and, I sense, impressed the audience with their poise and maturity. I was very proud of their achievement, which did much for their self-esteem. -R.H.

In both sessions, local teachers taught individual and group lessons, ensemble groups and special workshops. Participating from other countries were Andrea Espinzo (cello, Argentina), Deborah Moscoso (violin, Argentina), Blancamaria Montecinos and Eneima Tinoco (piano, Chile) and Clises Mulatti (piano and Dalcroze, Brazil).

In conclusion, the financial support which the Suzuki Association of Peru received will benefit communities far beyond Lima and the provinces of Peru. Each one of the 34 teachers who traveled from Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico has returned to his country to share his experiences, knowledge and passion with colleagues, friends, families and students.

The Suzuki Association of Peru would like to offer its sincere gratitude to the various organizations which made this possible: the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the Suzuki teachers of Ohio, the Idaho Suzuki Institute, and the Holy Names College Teacher Training Workshop. There is tremendous need for teacher training, and there are very limited financial resources. We want to continue to work together to help spread the Suzuki philosophy and methodology throughout Latin America: for the happiness of all children.