Category Archives: violin

In my experience….

When I listen to classical music, even for just 3 to 5 minutes a day, then violin practice becomes more fun and exciting!  It even gets easier to practice and it becomes something that I look forward to doing every day!  When I stop listening to classical music, even for a day or two, I just don’t want to practice.  I do it anyway, but it becomes dull and boring.  Then, if I hear even a minute or two for even one day, suddenly I have that spark again.  The desire to practice grows!  And then I WANT to hear better recordings!  And I want to study them! And so it goes.  It’s the strangest thing.  Ebb and Flow.  And let me hear it LIVE and I’m good to go for weeks!  Anyone?

 

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Saino-Kyoiku Tone

This morning I was searching on line to find an article about “Saino-Kyoiku Tone” by Clifford Cook.

Instead, I  stumbled upon my friend Eric Madsen’s Thesis! Eric attended Dr. Suzuki’s school during my years there and he was an excellent student!

This reading is very spiritual and VERY enlightening for all who seek a spiritual path.

Especially starting on page 112, parents, students and teachers will find some very clear explanations for the ways of Suzuki method!!  However, if you have time, the entire thesis is absolutely priceless!
Well done Eric! ありがとう ね ^-^ ! Here is the link!  Enjoy!

The genesis of Suzuki an investigation of the roots of talent education

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Filed under Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, Family, for parents, for students, Friends, how to use the bow, Listening, music, students, Suzuki Method, Suzuki Sensei, Talent Education Research Institute, Teacher Trainer, Teaching, Tonalization, violin

Listening !

pink CD playerObviously students need to listen to their Suzuki Music more than twice as long as their practice time in order for the model in their minds and hearts to be stronger than the “model” of their own playing.

These days, I have become very concerned about the QUALITY of the sound which projects our student’s Suzuki recordings.

o-IPHONE-6-facebook   I have discovered that most of my students are listening to MP3’s ripped from their purchased CD’s. Many of them listen to their iPhones (or the equivalent) in their homes or wherever they are during the day and in the evenings.

Unfortunately,  iPhones have tiny and very inadequate speakers! Recently I have been asking all of my students to bring their listening devices to me during their lessons so that I can ascertain the quality of the sound they are hearing.  In each case, students who have been listening primarily on inferior equipment have poor tone and difficulty learning new pieces! Their parents tell me that they themselves simply cannot hear the difference but the students absolutely can!

I think that inferior listening equipment is connected to students not wanting to listen!

We go to such lengths to make certain that the student’s violins can produce a good sound. In order to catch the tone and musical sensitivity of the masters playing on the recordings, I feel strongly that their listening equipment must also play clearly and beautifully! THEN perhaps they will want to listen to the recordings more often!!

I have been on rides with students in their cars and have been impressed with the quality of the sound from theSW-10722 beautiful speakers in the cars. For most students, their cars are also surprisingly quiet inside- almost hermetically sealed! This allows for quality listening over their car speakers and so I have no complaints about their listening in the car in most cases. However, car listening is never enough!

ipodListening with earbuds is good for “active” listening. Active listening involves activities such as watching the score for notes and dynamics, or ghost bowing in the air along with the music. For this type of listening earbuds are wonderful – especially when one is shared with a parent!

However, I believe that MOST of a student’s listening should be “passive” listening as a sort of background soundtrack for their life.20121217-bluetooth-speakers-134edit

Quiet and consistent listening in the background is key to the Suzuki Method Mother tongue approach! For this reason, passive listening with earbuds seems divisive and unnatural, cutting students away from their parents and families. I do not think that earbuds are the solution to proper listening.

Appropriate Suzuki listening equipment needs to be provided by the parent to ensure that the Suzuki music is heard in a beautiful way thought the home and play areas.  The Suzuki music should be quiet yet audible for everyone to hear together. Quality speakers can be purchased for very little money these days, especially compared to the cost of the violin, violin lessons and the progress that can be doubled by correct listening!

docking

Some “docking stations” for ipods, iphones etc. are equipped with proper speakers. I am still researching the best docking speakers to recommend.   I would love to hear your suggestions!

60 10 3 Japanese date  lesson with Suzuki 005

Dr. Suzukis large stereo equipment in the background while he is helping my left knee remain relaxed and helping me stay rooted to the ground.

 

 

As I was growing up learning the Suzuki Method in the 60’s and 70’s, I had no choice but to listen to the large LP records. I listened on my father’s large record player. I remember putting my ear to the large speaker to carefully learn the shifts in the 2nd movement of Vivaldi A minor. In Japan, Dr. Suzuki showed me the proper way to listen. He turned on the large record player and allowed the record player to start itself.  He sat down in a comfortable chair with the room dimly lit and simply enjoyed the beautiful music while relaxing together with me.

In order for our students to understand the subtle musical nuances, phrasing, tone color, bowings and intonation of each piece prior to learning the piece, listening MUST occur with the best sound quality possible!

Please help your student’s parents to remedy this situation!

I believe that in this way listening will become more enjoyable for everyone and therefore occur more frequently!

 

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Filed under Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, Family, for parents, Listening, music, Stories about Dr. Suzuki, Suzuki Method, Suzuki Sensei, Talent Education Research Institute, violin

Hito wa Kankyou no ko Nari…. People are the Children of their environments…

…..

People become the child of their environments

People become the child of their environments

This Painting from Suzuki Sensei means (in my translation) “People become the child of their environments” or as it is more often translated, “Man is the son of his environment”

This has been my shikishi forever. Every time I received a painting from Dr. Suzuki, it said that phrase out of the hundreds of quotes that he made, this was always mine.

“Repetition is important!” as we all know from working with these amazing, loving children.

A few days ago, while at my parent’s beautiful home, I asked my Mother (who is a Suzuki Teacher Trainer of Great Note, hee hee) whether or not she had any spare shikishis (or paintings) from Dr. Suzuki. You know, greedy child that I am, I wanted more and … particularly, I wanted a NEW one…
with a NEW saying. Only at this very moment is the full import of this hitting me as I am in tears.

You see, she found one in her stack, all signed and dated the the very year of my Graduation. It is protected beautifully in a lovely silver and gold holder. And, you guessed it. It has painted so nicely and beautifully
Hito wa
Kankyou no ko
Nari

With mountains in the background and a lovely tree… the tree of life.

And so this morning as I pondered… (as I am wont to do in the early morning time) I remembered… I remembered my first concerts in the huge auditoriums wearing my scratchy petticoats and stiff satin dress, patent black leather shoes and dangling my feet on the nice cushy chair while watching and listening to beautiful music.  We listened.  We watched beautiful ballets, orchestral performances – almost any cultural event meant that we would be in attendance. I remember my very first Nutcracker performance. I remember hearing and watching Issac Stern perform at the Capitol Theatre as I sat in the mezzanine and studied him closely. I remember making the audio tape of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to send to my Grandmother and Grandfather so far away, and later, i remember playing Bach Adagio for him in the Jackson Lake Lodge …. at his request, his only request as an exchange for the beautiful Vaillaut Violin that I now own.   I remember. I remember.

I know for a fact that we only listened to classical music and musicals at home. A bit of Disney.  My mother taught piano all day long because she loved to do it and also, in order to help pay for my violin lessons which I began at age 5. I distinctly remember her asking me as we were driving along, “Would like like to learn how to play the violin?” Of COURSE I would. I remember thinking for only split second and saying,

From my first violin lessons

From my first violin lessons

YES!

When I was 5, my Mother was getting her Master’s degree in Piano. I used to color quietly (I hope) in a corner and listen to even more beautiful music. (Hito ha kankyou  no ko nari)  I thought all Mommy’s in the world when to school and sang in the Hallelujah Chorus.  When I was 17 and Graduated from Realms High School, there was never any question about what I would do upon Graduation. It was fervent desire to continue to study the violin at Graduate levels.

I remember the very day that my Mother got out her scatchy old violin in the basement (by the piano).  She showed me the Green Zen-On bookand we found the old fashioned RED plastic record of Suzuki Sensei playing Twinkles, Lightly Row etc. in the back of the book. How excited we were because then we knew, I could learn it too! (If I could hear it/listen to it, i could play it)  Incidentally, she was dreadful at the violin and we are all very blessed that she sticks to the piano. 🙂

And on through the years…. To my first Institute at age 10, then all around the country to see Dr. Suzuki in San Francisco and to have thousands of lessons… Ms. Dorothy Delay, Aspen Music Festival,  Isaac Ostrow, Miss Yuko Mori,  Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, Andrés Cárdenes, Won-bin Yim, Kurt Sassmannshaus, Dr. William Starr,  and Dr. John Kendall, Nick’s Grandpa. …

and it has just never stopped. My Mom ran the Institute here for 15 years where I began to not only teach, but to study HOW to teach. And later I had so many opportunities to rehearse and perform with amazing symphonies.

Of course.

Of course.

Even a few days ago, there was my Father with his camera and my Mother my video camera, videoing not only my Students, but my Grandstudents (students of my older students) during their recital as I held my precious violin (A gift from Grandparents, my Mother and my Father, please bless his heart 100,000 times for kindly listening to my early squeaks and squawks). She needed to video them because I needed to hold the violin “just in case” any one student needed a note prompt. Just in case – to pave the way for their success as Beth Titterington taught me so long,long ago 😉 Or sometimes I simply walked to the very back of the auditorium as Suzuki Sensei often did, and I “Air Bowed” with them for spiritual support.

And so, back to the fact that we are ALL children of our environments. Suzuki Sensei has given us a gift. You see, my Parents and Grandparents love me SO MUCH. They gave me the gift of music! My Mother paved the way for my success. For life. For the Present. And then, they let me go to Japan at a very young age for a very long time. They let me grow. And grow. And we all continue to study.

And now, at more than twice the age that I was when I first went to Japan, I am only just now beginning to understand the importance of the prophetic words of Suzuki Sensei…”Hito wa Kankyou no ko nari” …. Thank Goodness that he kept handing those beautiful paintings to me to me! This is because people DO become the children of their environments. We become tone. In Suzuki Sensei’s words- “You Become tone.” (one of his highest praises). What kind of tone will we become? What kind of tone are we offering our student and children and the people who surround us?  The start determines the destiny.

I nod and smile. Sensei, Arigatou Gozaimashita. ありがとう ございました

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Filed under Concerts for Children, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, for parents, for students, Friends, ideas, Listening, music, Stories about Dr. Suzuki, Suzuki Method, Suzuki Sensei, Talent Education Research Institute, Teaching, violin

Book 1 Practice Video Suzuki with CD (Matsumoto Tempo)

I am so amazed and honored!  SAA Published my article “Panda” in the Suzuki Journal!  Quite exciting!!!  Also a bit embarrassing as they published the old unedited version which is much longer that the one that appears here… (see Spring 2008 ASJ)  If anyone out there has corrections for my section involving anatomy and physiology of hands and arms, please enlighten me!!!  I was studying and learning about “why” Dr. Suzuki’s idea’s about tone production work so well and trying to explain it in the best way possible at the time…

On another side note, I have managed to reconnect with some of my MOST FAVORITE people from Japan (fellow classmates from the 1980’s) on facebook!  It is also a wonderful way to see what former students are doing at university etc.  and keep in touch with them. Also other symphony members just goofing off online and having fun!   I don’t mean to endorse a specific social networking program, however… so far this one has been great.

Practice Video with Japanese CD for Book 1 and a Bit of Book 2:

Thank so much!!

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Practice and study

I have been practicing everyday very hard towards the dvd I must make for Candidacy for SAA Teacher Trainer Status. I know that there are many teacher trainers who have something against me for some reason, (Japanese training?) but I must try despite the odds. It is supposed to be a fair process – the judges supposedly will not know who I am. Not everyone was able to study with Dr. Suzuki and I have now 4 older students who want to become teachers. I need to pass on his ideas. I would like to train them officially. One of my students just graduated from CIM with two Master’s Degrees – one in violin performance and one in Suzuki Pedagogy.

I am taking Mozart Book 9, 10 and G Major from Cathy Lee at the local Institute to help me find out what the Americans want to hear when we play Mozart for the DVD… And I found another fantastic way to practice! Once I’m warmed up, I play along with the 19 year old who won 5th place in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2007 – Hyun-Su Shin. I love her playing!!!

There is now an entire blog dedicated to the best classical music on You Tube – www.classicalvirtuoso.com. Isn’t that wonderful?
Anyway – after about and hour and a half of practice – I go to You Tube and put Hyun-Su Shin on full screen and crank up the volume and play along with her! It is so FUN! And so EXCITING!! Sometimes I even follow her fingerings sort of spontaneously – it feels a bit the way group class did in Japan when we played Tchaikovsky all together in a group…

I can say that I am now studying with Hyun-Su Shin. In Japan, when we were each learning various pieces, we would ask each other, “Who is your teacher?” (It meant “which recording are you absorbing?”) “Oh I am studying with Ginette Neveu …” (One of Suzuki Sensei’s favorites – she actually WON the Wieniawski Violin Competition in 1935 1st place over David Oistrakh! Do you know about her?) I studied Sibelius with her. Anyway … I feel that Suzuki Sensei heartily approves of this new method of study with the videos!!

PS Why am I not studying Mozart with Zino Francescatti? Because … he is so romantic that I am afraid the judges here will not like it if I pick up too much of his style… 😦 Anyway I love Hyun-Su Shin, so all is well. 🙂

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