We have come to our final day of our fall 2008 tour of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Exhaustion though has not extinguished our joy nor squelched our enthusiasm for the drops of wisdom being imparted to us daily. We received sad news on Friday morning once we were all on the bus. Legendary violin teacher John Kendall, now of Ann Arbor, was unable to come and teach his master class. He was not feeling 100% so did not want to come and not be able to give his all to the students. John Kendall, now 91, is largely responsible for bringing the Suzuki Approach to the United States. Ann Arbor teacher Geri Arnold graciously and adeptly filled in for Mr. kendall.
Mrs. Arnold's teaching style encourages independent thinking while also delivering specific technical and musical ideas. Her warm approach drew the Bermudian students into her web of fresh ideas. She even gave us glimpses of some of what she has learned from John Kendall himself.
"More Weight Less bow"
This is one of the mantras she had the class repeat as she was able to get the student to play the triplet section of Concerto no. 5 1st mvt. by Seitz. Her theme of musical clarity was also delivered through her Kendall inspired quote "Just because you are playing piano doesn't mean that it's not strong." Shamar Morris while playing Vivaldi's G minor concerto was urged to "Think your way through it!" Right hand issues were isolated on open strings while left hand accuracy issues were dealt with on a note-by-note approach. Mrs. Arnold knew exactly what she wanted out of every phrase and had a bow plan for every note. Questions brought to the surface whether or not the student had an idea of what he or she wanted to do with the bow or if things were simply arbitrary.
Everyone in attendance left the class inspired.
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