Printer-friendly version
Julie Bamberger Roubik

Suzuki Method World Convention, Day 1: Konnichi-wa from Japan

March 27, 2013 at 11:25 PM

What an honor it is to be in the city where the Suzuki Method all began, and continues to be nurtured. This is my third trip to Matsumoto -- the first was for the Suzuki World Conference in 1999, the second with some students to attend the Suzuki Summer School in 2005. It never loses its charm, however, and each visit is a new adventure.

I arrived by Shinkansen (bullet train) from a visit to Kyoto where we did a whirlwind tour of six temples and the district of Gion. At the station, we were met by a conference volunteer to help us find our hotel and registration. Our lodging is at the Hotel Iidaya, directly across from the station. It is a traditional style Japanese hotel, with small rooms and o-furo (baths) in each bathroom.

We walked to the Performing Arts Center to check in to the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention .. everything is done by Qr code scan on iPads.

After getting our conference bag, and materials, we walked to the Matsumoto castle for some welcome events, which included performance-art calligraphy, sword-fighting, and Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging). We also got to tour the castle, one of the oldest and most magnificent castles still standing in Japan.

Matsumoto Castle

Later that night was the teachers welcome banquet. Dr. Koji Toyoda and other dignitaries, including her Imperial Highness, pounded open a ceremonial sake barrel to officially open the conference. We even got to sample the sake ourselves! We were treated to an enormous buffet of many Japanese delicacies, including a sushi station! It was great to run into old friends from the states, and meet new ones from all over the world!

With Ed Kreitman of Chicago

As a part of the ceremonies, we were presented with a live performance by a local Taiko drumming group. The sound resonated throughout the building and in our hearts. We were reminded of the reason we all are here, with a video of Dr. Suzuki playing one of his original pieces. Everyone applauded as if it were a live performance.

My most special moment of the night was running into an American woman, now living in Japan, who was my guide when I came with students to the summer school. Her son had been given viola so my viola student would not be the only English speaker in her orchestra. From that experience, she told me, her son began playing viola as his maininstrument, and now there is a small but mighty student viola contingent in Japan. That made me feel both humbled and proud.

Japan is truly an amazing place, and my second home since I was an exchange student here in high school. I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music: Check out our selection of Celtic music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings
Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings

National Symphony Orchestra
National Symphony Orchestra

Violins of Hope
Violins of Hope Summer Music Programs Directory
Find a Summer Music Program Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

ARIA International Summer Academy

Borromeo Music Festival

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine