Tag Archives: Violin Suzuki Method

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!


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!



Comments Off on Listening !

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

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. 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, Suzuki Method, Suzuki Sensei, Teaching, violin