One year ago, Suzuki piano teachers, like all Suzuki teachers were faced with new challenges: how to continue to give piano lessons when Suzuki families could not come to the studio. How would teachers give a lesson without being able to touch the student? How would the teacher demonstrate a captivating tone without being able to sit beside the student at the piano with a parent close by?

Suzuki teachers and Teacher Trainers had to face this challenge quickly. Buoyed by the positive features and the accessibility of meeting with teachers online, and as a result of the SOS Seminars sponsored by SAA in the summer of 2020, the SAA Teacher Trainers began having monthly Zoom sessions starting at the end of August of 2020.

The Piano Trainer Zoom sessions collected all the trainers from all the Americas, first to get them acquainted with each other and then to discuss pertinent issues. These sessions were organized by Caroline Fraser, Gail Gebhart and Gail Lange; their goal was to involve every trainer on the screen in some capacity throughout the sessions.

Initially the “hot” topic was understanding the technology needed to organize online sessions, whether it be a lesson with a young child or a teacher training course. A second issue that merited considerable attention was the proposed addition to teacher training requirements: Teaching Strategies, based on the recognition that what will benefit the teacher most is feedback on his teaching in a ‘normal’ lesson in his studio. Participants on screen at the session were able to view some lessons from a Teaching Strategies course ; then some of those teachers participated in the session with us.

Other topics included Suzuki piano and group lessons: a unique experience. Yes, no other method or system can benefit from the group experience like Suzuki pianists—online or in person. Believe it or not, the most talked about component of Suzuki piano was also investigated thoroughly: four trainers per session reviewed their approach to each Twinkle Variation; one variation per session but 4 times! We respect diversity!

Suzuki Piano Trainers will renew their sessions in September. The organizers have opened the gates so that any trainer may propose and organize a presentation with other colleagues.