Suzuki a fraud ???

October 27, 2014 at 11:49 AM · Along with assertions that Anna Magdalena Bach actually composed many of the J.S.Bach repertoire comes news that maybe Suzuki wasn't what he was cracked up to be.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2808328/Japanese-violin-teacher-method-used-millions-LIED-training-LIED-learning-Einstein-biggest-fraud-musical-history-say-experts.html

Replies

October 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM · Isn't this old news? I seem to remember having read about this before.

Also, this kind of old 'news' always has me wondering: does it detract from all the good things that people have been building on the basis of Suzuki's hard work?

Full disclosure: I am not, in any way or form, involved with Suzuki lessons, neither as a teacher nor as a student. My kids were, once upon a time, for a few months only. It was not for us and we moved on. End of story.

October 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM · If you search for "Suzuki O'Connor" you'll find some discussion about this...

I'm a bit surprised to see it come up again though...I thought it was old news by now...

October 27, 2014 at 01:40 PM · The article says he was rejected by Klinger and Hochschule when he auditioned there. This is not inconsistent with his own claim that he studied privately with Klinger. I don't know whether my teacher, with whom I studied privately, would have tried to get me admitted as an RAM student to study with her there had I wanted her to (I did have lessons with her in the building, but that's something different). Quite possibly not.

October 27, 2014 at 02:03 PM · Mark O'Connor's remarks, if you read his blog, verge on bigotry.

Let's look at what is presented in this brief article smear:

"The Suzuki method has taught millions of children since it was launched by the Japanese violinist in the late 1950s.

It sees children start playing an instrument as young as possible, preferably around the age of three, and learn by playing the same short pieces repeatedly from memory."

OK, so Mr Suzuki created a violin learning method that HAS ENABLED MILLIONS to learn violin (including yours truly. a work still in progress...).

And Mr O'Connor's retort?

"I think it is one of the biggest frauds in music history,' Mark O'Connor, a U.S. violin teacher and composer told The Telegraph."

What is fraudulent about enabling so many to learn the violin? Who cares what his pedigree is? Does it matter if he flunked high school chemistry? What if he occasionally exceeded the posted speed limit while driving?

WHO CARES!?

Search around Mr OConnor's blog and you will see he has a vendetta against Suzuki, and a really rather bent perspective on Japanese culture:

"O’CONNOR: You say “humane education” being the purpose of Suzuki Violin lessons even to this day? That is pretty unbelievable! I mean that is a headline. I researched one of Suzuki’s original uses for his Suzuki Violin Method and it was in fact used for War orphans, designed as a kind of obedience and behavioral training for children to be westernized, and to become “good citizens” with “beautiful hearts.” Obviously a reconditioning away from Imperial Japan. But of course Suzuki began his Method in the 1930s, so did his Method’s ethic “good citizen” mean love your Emperor as the living deity to make your heart beautiful I suppose? But you say it is still used for behavior but not really intended for violin lessons? "

I'm sorry, but Mr O'Connor comes across as a self serving, insecure (in his own method, thus trying to throw Suzuki under the bus at every turn), redneck yahoo.

October 28, 2014 at 06:39 AM · O'Connor makes ignorant suppositions about Suzuki's philosophy, and may not have read that teacher's writings: Suzuki was surprisingly un-Japanese at times!

Suzuki's own recordings confirm that he was not a very good player. As a late starter like he was, I too have to find solutions to problems that others take for granted - to the great benefit to my students..

October 28, 2014 at 08:20 AM · I'm not sure how late a late starter is - I started when I was 13 years old. I have known of people who started at 16 and were extremely good. So it can be variable.

But I won't comment on Suzuki as I know little about the subject, and I'm not a great follower of this sort of teaching.

October 28, 2014 at 01:30 PM · Suzuki may well have 'padded' his resume - but while that's 'not nice'...it doesn't really affect the program he developed.

And I'm not a Suzuki 'fan' in particular (learned - and am still learning - in a conventional manner)...but I can still appreciate what he and his program accomplished.

Not to mention...love the music in the Suzuki books...

October 28, 2014 at 02:10 PM · What Mark OConnor fails to further expose in his write ups is that Einstein himself was an even bigger FRAUD than Suzuki!

From Wikipedia:

"In 1895, at the age of 16, Einstein sat the entrance examinations for the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zürich (later the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule ETH). He failed to reach the required standard in the general part of the examination..."

Einstein FLUNKED the entrance exam!!!

That's worse than the travesty about Suzuki failing the audition with Klinger.

Ergo, his ideas about relativity, E=Mc^2, etc, etc are all based upon nothing. This charlatn, Einstein needs to be thoroughly debunked! Einstein obviously was never a very good student, and he didn'tg even seem to know how to comb his hair properly, thus his commonly held belief to be some sort of "genius" is a hollow lie.

Somebody get the newspaper on the line....I've got a headline for them!

(Too bad that, unlike Mr OConnor, I don't have a personal product I'm trying to hawk, otherwise I could use this to my unscrupulous advantage)

October 28, 2014 at 02:12 PM · Well suppose that fits, Peter: you started at 13, me at 15, and Suzuki at 19. And you play better than me...

And Linda, the success of a given method depends on the way it is used; the excellent methods you mention can be made to fail miserably, while the Suzuki method is very complete and rigorous from a technical standpoint, if one knows how to use it.

October 28, 2014 at 02:18 PM · Other obvious FRAUDS!

Paganini:

"Paganini, in his boyhood, had some lessons from his father, from one Servetto a theatre musician, from Costa a well-known violinist, from Ghiretti, and probably from Rolla, but he got through with what the teachers of his day had to teach him while yet a boy, and on this limited foundation, built up by his own exertions, his stupendous technic, worked out his marvelous compositions, and practically recreated the art of violin playing."

He never got into any prestigious conservatories to polish his technique! What a hoax!!!!

Tartini:

"Tartini, the famous Italian violinist and composer of music for the violin, whose compositions are still heard on the concert platform, practically “picked up” his knowledge of violin playing from hearing and watching other violinists, although he seems to have had some lessons in theory and harmony and in choir work. He seems to have used his own ideas in violin playing up to the time he heard Veracini, another great Italian violinist, when he perceived many points in which his own technic was deficient, and set about to correct them, using the style of Veracini as a model."

HA! Let's cross that guy off the list of "great musicians"...

And lets not forget Ole Bull:

"Ole Bull, the great Scandinavian violinist, is usually classed as self-taught, since, while he had lessons in his youth for a limited time, the greater portion of his violin playing was self-developed. As a child he became passionately fond of the violin through hearing weekly string quartet rehearsals, in which his uncle Jens played the ‘cello. His uncle gave him his first violin when he was five years old, and such was his talent that he learned to play all the melodies he heard surprisingly well without regular instruction."

I sure am glad Mr OConnor has blown the lid off of this widespread conspiracy that promulgates these self taught nincompoops as somehow being in any way capable on the violin. Bravo, Mr OConnor, bravo!

(quotes from Etude magazine:

http://etudemagazine.com/etude/1911/11/self-taught-masters-of-the-violin.html)

October 28, 2014 at 04:53 PM · Here are voices within the Suzuki community in response:

https://suzukiassociation.org/discuss/19995/

Knowing that Mark O'Connor has a commercial motive (he is promoting his own method) and a long history of borderline irrational dislike of Suzuki, both on the person and method, I am curious to know what led to this personal vendetta.

October 28, 2014 at 06:03 PM · Re S. Protos: The topic of fraud for failing an examination for entrance is *not* the issue. Yes, Einstein failed the examination for that school, which has oft been repeated many times, and he so acknowledged. But Suzuki claimed in his official bio that he studied with that teacher at that school; no mention of flunking the exam. That's the issue, not the fact that he flunked. Further, look at any great player, and I would guess those of better longevity probably had a setback or two...

October 28, 2014 at 06:07 PM · Let's do some more "research" here:

Mr OConnor is reknown on the fiddle.

Hmmm, let's see what the dictionary says about THAT:

fid·dle

'fidl/Submit

noun

1.a violin, especially when used to play folk music.

synonyms: violin, viola

"she played the fiddle"

2.BRITISH informal;

an act of defrauding, cheating, or falsifying.

"a major mortgage fiddle"

I'll let the good readers decide what is what based upon this breaking news...

October 28, 2014 at 06:09 PM · Dave, what is really galling about all of these allegations is that he is casting aspersions about a dead man who has no way to defend his side of the story.

From that link Dorian put up:

"I’m not quite sure what Mr O’Connor means by Shinichi Suzuki’s ‘supposed relationship with Klingler’. There is no doubt that he studied with Karl Klingler. I met Karl Klingler’s daughter, Marianne, in Germany (in Ingolstadt) in the early 1980’s. She had stories of her father’s association with Suzuki. (She also wanted me to relocate to Germany and teach the Suzuki Method there.) Mr O’Connor doubts that Klingler took a young Suzuki on as a pupil and no others at the time as stated by Suzuki. However, this is quite likely. There is no doubt that Klingler was a reluctant teacher (p, 251 ‘Memoirs’ by Carl Flesch. Also explained in my book, p.10)."

October 29, 2014 at 01:35 AM · Let's say Suzuki was a *complete* fraud and everything in his CV is totally fake. Who cares? That doesn't take away from the breathtaking grandeur of the Seitz Concerto movements in Book 4.

October 29, 2014 at 05:37 AM · It seems to me that anyone basically competent can put together and edit a book or books of violin pieces written originally by other people (composers). What is so special about the Suzuki books? Maybe I'm missing something. Can someone explain?

October 29, 2014 at 06:21 AM · Hi Peter,

If you have Suzuki teacher training you will learn there is a logic to the sequence of pieces. Suzuki also wrote some music when he couldn't find ones that fit. It's not a random collection.

But I would add what's far more important than the music and the sequence is his philosophy that every child can, developing character, mother tongue method, etc...

October 29, 2014 at 06:57 AM · Thanks for the reply Dorian. I'm better informed now.

October 29, 2014 at 08:55 AM · "the breathtaking grandeur of the Seitz Concerto movements in Book 4"

Paul, I like your sense of humour! These "concertos" cover essential ground, but are the one and only case of Suzuki needing to put technical needs above musical ones instead of at their service.

October 29, 2014 at 11:04 AM · Seitz was a 19th century violin teacher, and, like others of his kind in that period, he composed simple concertos, within his pupils' abilities, to get them accustomed to the concerto format and the skills of performing on the concert platform. The "orchestra" in these cases would usually be a piano.

October 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM · Can somebody tell me what the Suzuki method actually is? I mean, I've heard bits and pieces about his philosophy - mother tongue, starting kids by ear and I've seen the books, but what does the method really consist of?

October 29, 2014 at 12:52 PM · I don't understand the on-going Seitz bashing either.

Show me you can do better...

October 29, 2014 at 02:55 PM · Here we go, check out this perfect playing position! I've never seen someone look so confident above 1st position! His bow arm looks so relaxed as well!

October 29, 2014 at 03:02 PM · Inverted pinky technique and a special chapter on violin care/maintenance in a forthcoming chapter?

October 29, 2014 at 03:19 PM · PS

Seitz was a very capable violinist and melodious composer

 photo seitz_zpsb5b85f31.jpg

October 29, 2014 at 03:36 PM ·

October 29, 2014 at 03:47 PM · We really should appreciate the excellent post by Liz Brown.

I'm of the opinion (probably wrongly) that some of the people who use the Suzuki method are obsessional about defending it at all costs.

If it works for some people that's fine, but I might dare to say that there are plenty of other methods out there, many of which might be a lot better.

But let people decide which path to take, it's really in their hands.

October 29, 2014 at 04:07 PM · The "historical" evidence cited here verges on heresay. Not that it is totally false, but "historical" evidence of people who were totally unknown at the time leaves a lot to be desired as far as accuracy, completeness, credibility, objectivity, and interpretation. This is probably true of any historical "background check."

So, before anyone makes such boldly dramatic judgments (positive or negative) about anyone, let's take a step back and maybe raise some legitimate questions, but not brand anyone as a "fraud" on the basis of information that may be only partial or biased at best.

That being said, it has always amazed me how many outstanding and famous people in many different areas have been dramatically influenced by brief and seemingly minor contacts with others. I recall reading something about Leonid Kogan, that when he was young he heard the traveling Jascha Heifetz in performance and it literally changed his approach to the violin.

Anyway, interesting topic.

Cheers,

Sandy

October 29, 2014 at 05:20 PM · I think if you really want to have a deeper understanding of what is Suzuki's philosophy, instead of reading descriptions of it, go straight to the source and read his Nurtured by Love, it's a short afternoon's read, and I think it's as applicable to all parents even if they don't plan on music lessons for their kids later.

It has changed my life, and that's the least I can say.

October 29, 2014 at 05:23 PM · Liz,

If a student is taught using, let's say, the Sevchek method, are they only going to utilize the books by Sevchek to the exclusion of all else? The student will simply progress through the drills and books and that's that?

I doubt it.

Why then is the use of a a Suzuki curriculum as a core and supplementing it with other outside information so confusing a concept?

There is a group of Suzuki advocates that approach the Suzuki method as dogma, inflexible, and treating the books of the method as if they came down from a mountain top somewhere. That is not the common experience of using Suzuki.

Suzuki presents a series of musical pieces that are satisfying to play and each teach new skills to the student as they go along. Instead of endless drilling, exercises, etc.

But the origin of this thread is not about the Suzuki method, but rather about and OConnor's continuing efforts to drag Suzuki's reputation through the mud.

My rude posts were indeed quite rude. Illustrating how easy it is to defame someone who is not here to defend themselves. I suppose Mr OConnor could come on here and do so. Mr Suzuki no longer has that option available to him. Which is why it is so disgusting, in my mind, the course of action Mr OConnor has chosen to take here.

If he has an issue with the Suzuki method (as opposed to his very own method...did he mention that his method is available now? Operators are standing by...) then fine, he should point out what he perceives to be the flaws in the program and juxtapose it against what he is offering.

Instead he goes on tirades making assumptions about the Japanese people and their relation to their emperor that really sounds rather bizarre. Has Mr OConnor ever even been to Japan? I have. I travel there quite frequently on business. My experience is that the Japanese people are very kind, hospitable, indeed very "good citizens". Albeit with a tendency for being workaholics.

I don't pretend to think that the Suzuki method is the violin learning method par excellence. But my very own experience of it over the past few years for both myself and my two children (and the excellent older students in their studio) show that it is indeed a valid and capable method. Maybe not perfect, but which methodology, taken alone is?

October 29, 2014 at 05:29 PM · Take a look at this clip. Giving a talk about the violin...oh, and I just so happened to bring along my new book that's coming out....

Surprising he doesn't take a swipe at Suzuki while he's at it.

http://youtu.be/hHzPa0yFucs

October 29, 2014 at 07:29 PM · I often have to defend the Suzuki method against all comers, mostly to correct plain factual misconceptions.

Many of Suzuki's disciples and successors have "frozen" Suzuki's searching spirit into a sect-like system, and take great pleasure in making a new teacher's life difficult, but I can assure everyone that it's well worth the trouble. (The same might apply to other pioneers: Freud, for example?)

The "teaching points", extracted from the pieces, mean that I can still give a good lesson on an "off" day (mine, or the student's).

I realise that the Method teaches western classical music as if it were folk-fiddle. Does Mr. O'Connor realise this?

At the very beginning I write down on staves what we have done, not what we are going to do. The children actually listen to what they are doing...

Later they are delighted to learn to read for themselves.

October 29, 2014 at 10:35 PM ·

October 29, 2014 at 10:39 PM ·

October 30, 2014 at 02:01 AM · Liz, perhaps I misunderstood you.

In your earlier post, you had referred to these other authors as having their own "methods", thereby inferring the same type of completeness that you question about Suzuki itself.

[" I'm sure that the authors all the other methods Maia Bang, Mark O'C, Sassmannshaus, Sevcik etc would say that their books follow a logical sequence. You don't really need much teaching to go from book 1 to book 2 and so on, the numbers kind of give you a clue to the order (in whoever's system you use)"]

October 30, 2014 at 03:52 AM · Hi Liz,

From anecdotes I heard, Suzuki told teachers studying with him that there is only one person who teaches the Suzuki Method - and that is Suzuki himself. As much as others emulate his philosophy and method, they all teach a Suzuki-TheirName hybrid because we add our own schooling and influences, and that is a good thing I think because we should continuously examine ourselves and try new ideas. No one and no method is perfect and Suzuki never claimed that...he also didn't say no one can deviate from his method, if fact he encouraged teachers to try new ideas.

I think Suzuki's biggest contribution to violin pedagogy isn't so much in the books but his insight in how young children learn.

But instead of taking my word for it, again I think the first place to start if you figure what Suzuki is about is to read his own words in Nurtured by Love. You'll get the philosophy part after that.

>>From other posts teachers often respond that they DO use studies and other materials outside of the Suzuki books, which contradicts Suzuki Assoc. Link which says [*"Technique is taught in the context of pieces rather than through dry technical exercises."*]

So from the outside it all gets very confusing...<<

I am confused by your confusion too...Suzuki also wrote etudes called Quint Etudes and Position Etudes, so even the students he taught were using supplementary materials outside of the Suzuki songs.

>>...they do say they're teaching the "Suzuki Method" which implies that it is a complete method, stand-a-lone, not needing other materials.<<

I don't think it implies it is a stand-alone, complete way of learning that doesn't need other materials, I expect any responsible teacher, Suzuki Method or not, to give relevant etudes and scales at the right moment, and I think most in the Suzuki community do do that.

October 30, 2014 at 08:56 AM · Another thing:

You simply have to actually take a look at a Suzuki book and you will see a variety of exercises, etudes, etc interspersed between the songs presented. It's not all just "Twinkle your way to violin mastery".

October 30, 2014 at 09:54 AM · "Twinkle your way to violin mastery"

Ha! I actually kind of did that! I wrote a piece called "Twinkleiana" in a similar vein to Milstein's "Paganiniana". It's designed to be a concert showpiece, but can also function as a long etude that summarizes many advanced violin techniques, combining the Twinkle harmonies with the familiar contours of various Paganini caprices, etc.

October 30, 2014 at 11:45 PM · I'm in the process of putting the final touches on it with my printing guy. Then I will investigate how to copyright it and then maybe look for a publisher. I may also sell it on my own.

There are 9 variations and a grand finale. At the top of it I borrowed a line that Locatelli put atop his "Labrynth": "Facilis aditus, diffcilis exitus" or "easy to enter, hard to exit". Be warned! It's not Ernst or anything, but after the theme, we're definitely not in Suzuki land anymore!

October 31, 2014 at 12:51 AM · Any YouTube of you performing it?

October 31, 2014 at 01:00 AM · Let us also consider the words of Samuel Johnson:

"There is nothing, I think, in which the power of art is shown so much as in playing on the fiddle. In all other things we can do something at first. Any man will forge a bar of iron, if you give him a hammer; not so well as a smith, but tolerably. A man will saw a piece of wood, and make a box, though a clumsy one; but give him a fiddle and a fiddle-stick, and he can do nothing."

October 31, 2014 at 09:48 AM · No. As I said, doing final revisions. And I remember that quote of the great Cham!

October 31, 2014 at 07:07 PM · Liz, thank you for the link to the article by Sevcik. I found it very interesting.

October 31, 2014 at 11:28 PM · That article's philosophy is quite sound. However, I put forth that what Suzuki achieved where others did not was making learning accessible, rewarding, and fun, most especially with a child actually in mind.

Not that he created the music, but he edited a reasonable anthology of pieces that formed a cohesive course from easy to more challenging.

Take a look at the first four pages of Sevcik

http://conquest.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/c/c6/IMSLP24975-School_of_Violin_Technique_Op.1_Book1_for_Violin.pdf

And compare that to the first four of Suzuki Book 1 and see which you think a 5 year old may be captivated by more.

The first four pages of Suzuki music, the student will get "Twinkle" and it's many variations, "Lightly Row", "Song of the Wind", and "Go Tell Aunt Rhody".

Not to take anything away from OS, of course. He has created a magnificent body of technical work. It is just my opinion that that work is not particularly engaging for a young, first time violinist.

So, did Suzuki "invent" the idea of starting kids young? By having them listen to music to develop their ear?

No, most certainly not.

But somehow he seems to have been rather successful at putting together a progression of music that is engaging enough to keep a young musician actually interested in progressing through the material. By the end if book one you're playing some Bach Minuets. That's pretty satisfying "real classical" music for a burgeoning young violinist.

Has anybody here started out on Sevcik book 1, and gone cover to cover as their first introduction to the violin?

November 5, 2014 at 07:20 AM · Inpirational teachers come along now and again. They used to be called "prophets".

Such folk propose ideas, or philosophies, that in hindsight seem blindingly obvious.

Yea, then do the disciples band together and form religions, which soon develop into a powerful international big businesses.

Within these, there develop cults and schisms.

Then, lo and behold, there are holy wars and bloodshed between factions within, and attacks on the integrity of the founders by proponents of rival beliefs.

Sound familiar ?

Joseph Haydn "allegedly" picked up his elder brother Michael's violin and played it at once - without either tuition or the urging of a tiger mom. Aural memory, observation and imitation, plus motivation.

I support the "Mother Tongue" philosophy; I recall on a teaching course being warned of the dangers of imposing the adult mind. You don't bother a tiny kid with grammar, verbs, participles and such. Talk, sing or play along with mom ......

What a pity so many inspirational philosphies become degraded by descending into "cults". Dislike of a hymn or two doesn't invalidate the fundamental message.

PS I don't go along with "Water-into-Wine", "Virgin-Birth" etc. but IMHO that doesn't invalidate the message of you-know-who. I haven't felt the need to blow up any cathedrals lately.

November 5, 2014 at 03:42 PM · "What a pity so many inspirational philosphies become degraded by descending into "cults"."

Well said.

Speaking of languages (punny stuff)...I took French in school for years...and can barely speak a word. We spent most of our time conjugating verbs. I'd rather be able to speak a language...even badly...than only be able to write up some grammar...

Just sayin'...

November 5, 2014 at 04:14 PM · Lately!!??

The mother tongue approach sounds great and all in theory, except, Suzuki's first book doesn't follow this in any way. Actually the first book is a train wreck, because it teaches intermediate techniques to beginners. Beginner pieces need finger placements that ascend to other notes, not pieces that go from o to 3 rd finger or 3rd finger to 2nd on e string etc... Even the use of the 4th finger is made difficult. Accents, staccato, mf to f to pp... these actually are counter productive at this level and beginners learn poor bow control. Beginners need to learn how to add weight into the stick 'without' speed before they learn 'weight and speed' techniques, and the analogy of 'learn to walk before you run' works well here, or most mothers teach there babies to roll there R's and speak in sentences before the learn the alphabet.

The Suzuki method ironically is an awful method to be used to teach beginners at any age.

I could write a book about all the wrongs in Suzuki's first book.

I sort of understand how or why Mark feels as he does. I feel that the Suzuki method is way, way over used and there are other much, much better methods out there.

November 5, 2014 at 04:23 PM · "... and there are other much, much better methods out there."

Charles, could you please name a couple?

I've been happy as a middle-aged beginner with Suzuki (even Book 1...), but I'm certainly open to things that are "better".

November 5, 2014 at 05:29 PM · > Beginner pieces need finger placements

> that ascend to other notes, not pieces

> that go from o to 3 rd finger or 3rd

> finger to 2nd on e string etc..

In the very first piece, the first interval taught is the whole step (E to F# on the E-string), on the string most accessible to any beginner including a four year old.

The next set of descending intervals on the A string (D-C#-B-A) allow teachers to teach whole and half steps, a tetrachord shape for the left hand, and proper placement with all the fingers in contact with the string (1-2-3). You don't go from open to third finger independently without establishing a clear relationship of the fingers working together for smaller intervals to create larger ones, and setting the hand with a descending sequence makes it easier to achieve a better left hand shape without stretching from the very beginning.

While it is important for all of us as educators to be critical of any educational approach (especially the fads that come and go), and be able to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses as such, it is not going to help your position if the most basic evidence you can provide that supports your argument is factually wrong.

November 5, 2014 at 07:38 PM · Thank you, Gene!

Charles, despite you very interesting posts on many threads, today you are following Mr O'Connor in criticising the method without having examined it properly. Book 1 may be very different from what you do yourself, but it nonetheless very effective, technically and musically.

Of course it is not the only method, but many of today's stellar players started this way, and the non-stellar ones play a whole lot better for it, instead of giving up.

November 5, 2014 at 07:39 PM · Anyway, shouldn't someone invent a Yamaha method to compete with and maybe better Suzuki ?? Charles Cook, for example ??

November 5, 2014 at 10:15 PM · I haven't read any of Mark O'Connor's writings so I am not going to comment on his Suzuki-related allegations. However, here are a few thoughts on being taught the violin by a Suzuki-trained teacher (literally - she was a student at the Suzuki school for several years in Japan, and was taught personally by Suzuki in that period):

Bearing in mind that for a (very!) mature student, the Suzuki teaching approach for young children would to me be inappropriate, and likewise a formal journey religiously through the Grades of the Associated Board would be unattractive.

My teacher was suggested to me by the owner of a well-established violin business in Bristol, England, who has his finger firmly on the collective pulse of the violin teaching community in the area. His suggestion turned out to be excellent.

My teacher was able to quickly identify underlying problems in technique and come up with well-analyzed solutions particular to me which would be discussed and explained in detail (you couldn't do that very well with small children). Specific exercises were given to address problems like a wandering bow, doing shifts, or acquiring a relaxed vibrato.

I soon got the idea that Alexander Technique was an important element of the teaching process, although it was rarely mentioned as such and only brought in to help address problems as necessary, in particular those relating to relaxed posture, instrument and bow hold, and vibrato.

Although the Suzuki Books 1-8 are the basis of the Suzuki teaching, as far as we were concerned it never excluded the use of other pieces, including folk tunes. Not all the pieces in a Suzuki book would necessarily be used, and the order of the books was not invariant. The important thing was that I would not be allowed to start a new piece until I had learnt the current one thoroughly, which meant not just playing all the notes in the right order but putting on a performance that would be attractive to an audience. That would involve thinking about the emotional impact of the music, and was the piece telling a story?

Every now and then my teacher would give me a new piece to learn to performance level by the next lesson but one, where I would perform it in front of her as if I was on stage and she was an audience. Afterwards, my "performance" would be dissected in detail, suggestions made, and perhaps I would perform it once more, taking the suggestions on board. My teacher is an experienced performer on stage, TV, and radio, and in the recording studio, so her input is invaluable.

A lesson would usually finish with some sight-reading - often a Bartok duet, or other Eastern European folk music, for example.

I was taught how to practice at home, and how to tackle tricky bits using the looping method. Also, and probably the one most important thing, how to listen to my playing from the point of view of an audience, and to analyze it. Basically, I was being taught how to teach myself.

The success of a pudding is in the eating. After two years I was able to transfer from the cello section of my chamber orchestra to the violins, and a little later to join other orchestras. Eventually, this year I reached the stage where I was confident I was ready to make my own way in the world, as it were. My teacher understood and agreed - her job was done.

Every now and then I'll return for a one-off lesson to have my progress checked out and to make sure no unnoticed bad habits have crept in. I think every player should do this occasionally.

November 6, 2014 at 04:50 AM · Hi Charles,

I agree with Gene, and I suspect if you have taken a teacher trainer course with a good Suzuki teacher trainer, you would have understood the merits and logic behind each new piece and the pedagogical value behind them. I'm really sorry to say but your rant reminds me of people picketing the Met protesting John Adam's opera - but they actually haven't seen it.

>>The mother tongue approach sounds great and all in theory, except, Suzuki's first book doesn't follow this in any way.<<

But it does. The first, second books are really there for the parent/adult practicer to take notes, it's not any use to a young 4 year old who can't read music yet.

>>Beginners need to learn how to add weight into the stick 'without' speed before they learn 'weight and speed' techniques...<<

I would add, a true, absolute beginner needs to learn how to stand, how to bend over and take a bow without falling over, and how to hold a bow and balance the violin - these are all completely new challenges for a 3 year old that we as adults take for granted. Suzuki have devised exercises and games for the whole pre-playing stage - and it's not written in the books.

Also young kids won't care at all if you say "weight" of "speed" to them. The Twinkle Variations are remarkable for introducing different articulations without wordy explanations. I think it's often easy for us to think through the lenses of an adult while Suzuki understood young children, and that's where his genius is.

November 6, 2014 at 05:10 AM · Dorian, I am so glad you mentioned the pre-playing exercises.

I have been surprised that no-one has brought up the training surrounding the books.

Though I was an older beginner, I have explored this subject with my teacher, who is a certified Suzuki teacher.

Though I do use the Suzuki books for some of my pieces what I love are all the little phrases she knows to demonstrate rhythm patterns. At one time there was a very young child whose lesson was before mine I was fortunate to be accepted as part of her audience as she held her board violin and demonstrated her bow strokes.

The books do not hold all the secrets, like other methods and etudes your teacher needs to know how to use them.

November 6, 2014 at 07:00 AM · David--Michael Haydn was Joseph's younger brother, not older.

I very much agree with Gene. Descending scales cannot be overemphasized in building a correct left-hand shape from the early beginning. When you start (on the A string) with A-B-C#-D, it has to be complemented from the very beginning with the descending D-C#-B-A. So they learn to leave their fingers and simply remove them one by one when going down. When a child is ready to play A-B-C#-D it is also ready to play D-C#-B-A! Then you let them play (as in Twinkle) the descending scale from the outset without an initial ascending scale. This prompts them naturally to prepare first their three fingers, as they have now been accustomed to, and play it as before. Twinkle is really a great first piece. I play in an amateur orchestra and it is mind-boggling how few people have actually learned to prepare their fingers when playing a descending phrase.

November 6, 2014 at 07:56 AM · Thank you everyone for provoking such detailed, informed responses , which I hadn't the patience to write myself!

November 6, 2014 at 08:49 AM · Jean

"I play in an amateur orchestra and it is mind-boggling how few people have actually learned to prepare their fingers when playing a descending phrase."

I think that this has less to do with Suzuki and more to do with very bad traditional teaching. All these techniques should be taught from day one - finger patterns, left hand position, bowing technique etc., etc.

I know little about it but it seems that *maybe* Suzuki can be good for very small children for the first few months. However, I'm of the opinion that once the very basics are learnt, say after six months, then a VERY GOOD traditional teacher is needed to progress to a higher level of playing.

My limited Suzuki experience has also led me to believe that I have yet to experience a Suzuki teacher that exhibits a high level of playing themselves, but I'm sure there must be some out there that do. (I'm referring here only to my limited UK experience). I have played with a few in the orchestral/chamber music field but well into the past.

P S I don't want to start a war here, and I'm just giving my opinion, maybe wrongly, of a subject I have not been involved in as a teacher.

November 6, 2014 at 11:09 AM · OOPS ! Sorry, Jean - blame age-related cognitive impairment !

"David--Michael Haydn was Joseph's younger brother, not older."

Yes, Michael Haydn was the younger by some 5 years. Maybe this story, if true, should be the other way round.

A source alleges:- "... that Michael was a brighter student than Joseph, and that (particularly when Joseph had grown enough to have trouble keeping his soprano voice) it was Michael's singing that was the more admired."

The point remains that the capacity to learn by observation and imitation is stronger in the very young than in later life; this was the basis of Suzuki's "Mother Tongue" concept. Indeed, some kids possess "Idetic Imaging", a gift that can often decline dramatically as they mature.

PS I myself gained a scholarship on the clarinet, upon which I had had no "lessons"; merely access to an Otto Langey book and the capacity to imitate what I heard on the radio !!

November 6, 2014 at 12:37 PM · As I recall, Yehudi Menuhin, in his autobiography (Unfinished Journey) discussed the dominant presence and approach of his legendary contemporary, Jascha Heifetz. I don't have the book in front of me, but Menuhin briefly discussed the Heifetz approach and the quality of "preset" technical and musical issues. And then he added, "It is a valid approach, but it is not mine."

That's class.

Cheers,

Sandy

November 6, 2014 at 12:49 PM · Was Menihin able to provide photographic evidence that he actually was a contemporary of Heifetz?

Otherwise, his entire credibility is pretty dubious....

November 6, 2014 at 01:02 PM · Good point.

And Paganini was actually a little old shoemaker who played in an amateur string quartet on weekends.

Cheers,

:) Sandy

November 6, 2014 at 01:09 PM · I'm afraid it's Heifetz who people generally think of as the great violinist, not Menuhin. Menuhin was horrible when Heifetz died describing him on BBC radio news as "just a technical player." He was either very jealous and envious of Heifetz, or the idea had been implanted in his mind by his wife and/or mother.

Maybe Menuhin was secretly a product of the Suzuki Method!? (wink)

November 6, 2014 at 02:12 PM · Let's not cast aspersions on the Stromboli Method!

(this episode is actually quite pertinent to the discussion at hand)

November 6, 2014 at 02:14 PM · Perhaps the most infamous, eloquent, and concise example of hostile musical criticism has just got to be by Ferruccio Busoni, who wrote a response to a music critic who in a newspaper review totally attacked a Busoni concert.

Busoni wrote: "I am sitting in the smallest room in my house. I have your review before me. Soon it will be behind me."

Now THAT is eloquence.

Sandy

November 6, 2014 at 10:24 PM · From Peter -

>>All these techniques should be taught from day one - finger patterns, left hand position, bowing technique etc., etc.<<

My day one with a small child would be learning how to stand, how to take a bow (as in bending over), teaching the child and parent how to put the bow into the hand, and some bow and rhythm games/exercises...

>>I know little about it but it seems that *maybe* Suzuki can be good for very small children for the first few months. However, I'm of the opinion that once the very basics are learnt, say after six months, then a VERY GOOD traditional teacher is needed to progress to a higher level of playing.<<

I think a lot of these discussions comes from a lot of us who may have only a passing experience and "know little about it" like knowing colleagues who teach Suzuki but are ourselves not familiar with it, and then confusion ensures. I would submit to you that if you are teaching a 3 year old, often times they are still working on their rhythms and a pretend-bow and box violin after 6 months if not longer.

If you're thinking of starting someone much older, let's say 9 or 10, I think a lot of kids can handle lessons on their own already and might not need or want the Suzuki parent-child-teacher triangle.

>>My limited Suzuki experience has also led me to believe that I have yet to experience a Suzuki teacher that exhibits a high level of playing themselves, but I'm sure there must be some out there that do.<<

I think I understand. Disturbingly there are also a lot of charlatans out there who wear the Suzuki label. I know of two old ladies taking a unit 1 teacher training course but couldn't even play through book 1 themselves. Thankfully (and sadly for them) they couldn't pass the video pre-screen to become certified. I also see people who have marginally knowledge of playing without much serious training either privately or at a music institute, and they turn to teaching beginners to make a living. I find that disturbing too...but I suppose it falls on the parent's responsibility on seeking a good, credible teacher.

P.S. An unrelated comment: I think that bathroom quote is from Max Reger.

November 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM · We don't ask a kindergarten gym instructor to hold an olympic medal! But he/she must put children before his/her own prestige. I think.

However, if I spend all my time teaching, I find I rarely play a piece properly from beginning to end, and it shows!

November 7, 2014 at 12:08 PM · Adrian - with respect I think that is not a good comparison. Good teaching does not need a top soloist in place. Just a good basic understanding of the basics. It is not rocket science! Even an orchestral hack and moron, like me, can understand the basics!

November 7, 2014 at 07:06 PM · Repeat! Inverted pinky technique and a special chapter on violin care/maintenance in a forthcoming chapter?

November 7, 2014 at 08:35 PM · Good insights into what's going on with Suziki pieces:

http://teachsuzuki.blogspot.com/2012/02/suzuki-violin-book-2-musings.html

November 8, 2014 at 12:09 AM · > Good teaching does not need a top soloist in place.

It's also important to point out that not every top soloist aspires to teach. It's just a different skill set.

When Hilary Hahn visited the school I taught at some years ago to play Bach and speak to students about her approach to the craft, she declined to do a masterclass. It wasn't her goal to work with students directly, but she acknowledged the influence her career trajectory was having on those who looked up to her, and tried to give them some perspective on how her playing took shape throughout her training. She also spent time talking about interpretive choices in solo Bach and some of the non-music classes she was taking at the time to expand her knowledge in other areas. It was very insightful!

It's worth noting that she started around the age of four because of access to music education through the Suzuki program at Peabody. Prior to the adoption of Suzuki principles in the US in the latter part of the past century, it is unlikely that most children would have had access to instrumental music training in violin at such an early age.

November 8, 2014 at 06:55 AM · Linda Goulder wrote

"While The Suzuki Method is a great for teaching children how to play by rote and emphasizes basic music notation it lacks comprehensive understanding of in depth theory, in depth transposition techniques as well as in depth dynamic techniques which are crucial for performing in Orchestra. "

It is interesting to notice that the biggest Suzuki bashers usually know nothing about the Suzuki methodology. Suzuki method is not 10 volumes of pieces in sequence that anyone can buy.

My daughter uses Step by Step by Kerstin Wartberg (yes it is Suzuki Method). It contains numerous preparatory exercises including scales, arpeggios. Dynamics are emphasized from volume 1, including diminuendo at the end of the phrases. Position Etudes (yes written by Suzuki beside Quint Etudes and Note reading for violin) provide enough transposition techniques, on last count my daughter could play one piece in 9 different scales. She is an excellent sight reader after using My First Note Reading Book by Wartberg and its continuation Adventures in Note Reading.

"Technically speaking The Suzuki Method also lacks an ability to develop many of the more refined techniques associated with the more formalized methods of Violin. "

Vol. 4 includes complex string crossings and slurs and playing of harmonics and double stops.

Vol. 5. includes complex string crossings in low and high positions, spiccato, flying staccato.

There are hundreds of methods written for violin, imslp is full of them, quite a few completely unsuitable today because of their approach. There are quite a few methods today for children and anybody can choose what they suit them Suzuki is not enforced monopoly. Even if we use Suzuki we will continue to praise Kurt Sassmanhaus because of his inspiring videos.

What I absolutely do not understand is the need to attack one particular teaching approach that has been successful.

November 8, 2014 at 08:34 AM · "What I absolutely do not understand is the need to attack one particular teaching approach that has been successful."

I'm always amazed that discussion about a subject is described as an attack! Maybe this exhibits some kind of inferiority?

Being successful should really be a judgement made at some point in the future by others who may be more neutral.

I looked at your video of hundreds of kids playing with some sort of backing group, but I could see no point in it at all, and it does not prove anything.

Instead, put up a video clip of a child say 7 -14 playing solo. Then we might be able to make a judgement.

November 8, 2014 at 09:01 AM · I began Suzuki teacher training with all the usual doubts. What convinced me to continue was the way the institute's children played:

- in group work, a full, warm tone, in spite of the fractional factory violins, and wonderful ensemble and intonation;

- in solos, each child showed a distinct personality.

Remember that in such institutes, they start at 3 yo, most are playing Vivaldi at 7 or 8. Those who start at 6 or 7 can continue their infantile spontaneity, but want to read the music sooner, and think more for temselves.

November 8, 2014 at 09:01 AM · Oops!

November 8, 2014 at 12:08 PM · "I'm always amazed that discussion about a subject is described as an attack! Maybe this exhibits some kind of inferiority?"

Personally, I have no problem with the critiques of the methodology. I find it enlightening from both sides if the issue. As per a few comments further up the thread criticizing the usefulness of Twinkle, and the rebuttal. That exchange was useful in finding out more about the process. There is no perfect system, so there is no "correct" way that is absolute.

What the big problem here is the original subject of the thread, which was MOC's decision to not criticize the methodology, but rather to try and discredit the man himself by circumstantial "evidence" and suppositions of things that happened 90 years ago.

November 8, 2014 at 03:31 PM · @ Peter Charles. I think the word 'attack' is absolutely appropriate in this context when the thread is entitled 'Suzuki a fraud' and linked to article in Daily Mail with input from MOC. If Suzuki were still alive he would be able to sue for libel. Success of the Suzuki method is quite hard to deny when the method has been used for more than 40 years and huge amount of contemporary violinists started this way. This is in no way to denigrate other methods that were written but Suzuki was the first who introduced violin to such early learners. I see similar 'discussions' pop up regularly and when I saw this one I said to myself - O Gosh, is it silly season again, obviously it is. I do not know which video you are referring to, I did not provide any video link in my previous contribution.

November 8, 2014 at 06:28 PM · Peter Charles: Here, have a YouTube video. This is Jennifer Koh at age 11. I grew up with her in the Wheaton College Suzuki program in Illinois; we began with the same teacher. By the time of this video -- Paganini No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony (part of the Young Performers competition) -- she's switched to conventional training, obviously, since this repertoire is beyond the limits of Suzuki.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BqWGvulKDY

November 8, 2014 at 06:36 PM · It's important to recognize in all of this rhetoric of "the Suzuki method doesn't teach X", that in practice, the Suzuki method is generally a way to *begin* a student on the violin, but is not a comprehensive program of instruction.

At least in my personal experience, students tend to leave Suzuki programs somewhere around the book 6 stage (La Folio, Fiocco Allegro, etc.), maybe book 7 (Bach A minor concerto) -- call it about the time that a student is ready to start Kreutzer. It seems relatively rare for students to continue on to the later books because (acknowledged by Suzuki himself) at that point you need a ton of supplementation beyond the method, and that point, unless the student specifically wants the support of the program (for which parents often pay extra fees), it makes sense to stop doing Suzuki unless the program has extensive support for more advanced players.

November 8, 2014 at 08:28 PM · "The reality is that formalized violin training requires rigorous, in depth, post-secondary level of study at a fast pace which can often overwhelm and intimidate some potential students. Potential students pursuing formalized training in violin are often expected to have a good post-secondary level theory background, good site reading abilities, as well as proficiency in Aural training, in order to successfully progress through formalized violin studies."

Umm, so wouldn't somehing like Suzuki be a good first step?

Or would the student be ruined by such a "fun" approach to learning, and no longer capable of persuing their post-secondary training after they finished grade school and felt like going that route?

I happen to think the analogy is not apples and oranges, but rather allowing the tree to grow up first of all, and then you can see what fruit it will bear later.

November 8, 2014 at 11:05 PM · Linda Goulder, you seem to be talking about formal training at the conservatory level, or at the very least, the serious formal pre-conservatory prep programs for already-advanced teenagers. By the point a student enters conservatory for a violin performance major (which is what it sounds like you're talking about), at the age of 18, they're probably about ten years past their Suzuki training -- maybe five years past if they're more marginal or in a music education program or the like that doesn't require as high a level of playing. The training of a conservatory-level student has nothing to do with the training of beginners.

Also, I find this statement weird in relationship to Suzuki programs: "But a person or child looking to learn the violin for fun can benefit from a non stressful, non formalized, fun based creative environment where there is no pressure to succeed nor excel, including no methodologies as well as standardized testing for determining proficiency."

Suzuki programs are vastly more formal than almost all other music education programs in the United States, from what I've experienced. Depending on the program and the parents of the kids involved, they can be intensely competitive and intensely stressful, as well, because Suzuki tends to involve constantly playing in front of other people, which means that parents have ample opportunity to compare how their kid is playing to how every other kid around them is playing. For all that Suzuki himself might have talked about music for the joy of it, in actual implementation in good programs, there'll be a significant percentage of students whose parents will push them to excel.

November 8, 2014 at 11:45 PM · @Lydia Leong "Suzuki tends to involve constantly playing in front of other people"

A good example of this was related to me by my teacher. When, as a girl, she was at the Suzuki school in Japan she had several months personal tuition by Shinichi Suzuki himself. At one Friday lesson he handed her the sheet music of the first movement of the Bach A minor with the instruction that she was to perform it from memory on the following Monday at the weekly concert that students gave to other students, tutors, and presumably parents. During her performance Suzuki stood alongside the 11-year old checking that her right elbow wasn't too high, etc. "No pressure", as they say ;) - if you can survive that you can survive any concert platform experience.

November 9, 2014 at 01:49 AM · > While The Suzuki Method is a great for

> teaching children how to play by rote

There's nothing wrong with that with a four year old. Every single person on this planet learned their name, the alphabet in their native language, and numbers "by rote." Cognitively, it has to start somewhere, and formal analytical approaches to problem-solving come later. This is also the same reason that teaching computer programming to little kids can be challenging, because we have to meet them at the point where they develop the concept of abstraction which is different for every child.

> and emphasizes basic music notation

You cannot deal with advanced principles without the basics, which is what it emphasizes for beginning students. Are you suggesting that a program that is targeted towards children in the single digits should NOT emphasize the basics?

> it lacks comprehensive understanding of in depth theory

There are so many good resources for theory training out there, not to mention the certificate programs (ABRSM, RCM, CAP, MTAC CM, etc.), AP Music Theory, concurrent piano studies...it doesn't make sense to duplicate it. Any competent teacher is not going to ignore this training.

> in depth transposition techniques

Violin players for the most part don't have to transpose. Perhaps for studio work yes, but we're not talking about college students and older here in this thread. And it isn't a difficult skill to teach, practice, and develop with the older ones who already understand intervals. I had to do it all the time as a woodwind doubler for musical theater...

> as well as in depth dynamic techniques which

> are crucial for performing in Orchestra.

Could you show us an example of an "in depth dynamic technique" not covered in the span of repertoire from Vivaldi A Minor to the 4th and 5th Mozart concertos so critical to performing in orchestra?

This is a pretty interesting argument because it just so happens that I have about 140+ students in my youth orchestra this season, the majority of whom did start playing their instruments because of the Suzuki Method, and I'm curious what the oldest students, who are performing together with a dance company for a production of the Nutcracker Ballet, are missing in their "dynamic technique." Perhaps I might be able to invite a colleague from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, or Pacific Symphony to come by and do a class to cover it if it is *so* critical and all these kids missed it because of their musical upbringing?

November 9, 2014 at 05:42 AM ·

>"What I absolutely do not understand is the need to attack one particular teaching approach that has been successful"<

I can totally understand MOC reasoning: the Suzuki method is way too popular for what is being learned or taught. It is not "successful" because it limits future musicians.

I ask all my new students what style of music they want to play. 95% of children under 10 have no idea,"I just want to play the violin",they say. To teach a child one style of music is poor, and the goal should be to broaden their playing styles, to improvise melodies, articulations and dynamics. These things need to be taught at an early age, and not in collage.

When people ask me if I teach the Suzuki method I tell them, "No, I teach the exact opposite in every way."

November 9, 2014 at 06:35 AM · "By the time of this video -- Paganini No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony (part of the Young Performers competition) -- she's switched to conventional training, obviously, since this repertoire is beyond the limits of Suzuki."

I think this means she has been re-trained?

Incidentally I am not attacking Suzuki, merely asking questions.

November 9, 2014 at 07:03 PM · Re-trained? No. A well-taught Suzuki student will only need re-training if the new teacher is too incompetent or lazy to build on what has been done, rather than replace it.

I have seen ex-Suzikists radically changeing their bowing technique to please their new teacher, but their acumen is sufficiently developed to adapt to anyone by that time.

November 9, 2014 at 08:28 PM · I keyed an answer into this thing yesterday but somehow it didn't take.

Peter wanted video of a Suzuki-trained youngster. Leila Josefowicz went through the Suzuki books between the ages of 3 and 8 from what I've read. If you look on YouTube you can find her playing Vieuxtemps No. 5, and it's with the LA Phil, not a shabby gig for a 12-year-old.

But I object to the idea that the measure of a method should be the number of Leila-quality violinists produced. How about the number of kids who stay with the violin? The group classes are very helpful there... nobody wants to be "the" quitter in a group, and group work cuts into some of the loneliness that can accompany serious study of the violin. And what of the level of enjoyment attained by most children? What of the number of Suzuki kids who get good enough to return to the violin in their adulthood and enjoy playing? I didn't have a Suzuki teacher but based on my daughter's progress, I wish I had, for all of the above reasons.

I think one reason teachers like the Suzuki Method is because it keeps their customers coming back. Something to be said for that.

November 9, 2014 at 11:19 PM · How many violin teachers really teach multiple styles of music unless they themselves are non-classical musicians?

Of the many teachers I've had in my lifetime, none of them have been non-classical players and none of them taught non-classical music. Ironically, my Suzuki group classes as a kid *did* teach some non-classical -- we learned some classic fiddle tunes like the Irish washerwoman's jig, Orange Blossom Special, etc., which were often done as performing-group encores.

November 10, 2014 at 03:58 AM · We're rapidly running out of room for responses since the board caps a thread at 100 messages, so someone might have to start a new thread.

Linda Goulder, I find your statement of, "Beginning adults and children pursuing formal violin studies within the first two months of formalized, in depth progressive advanced studies already have a comprehensive understanding of theory, notation, aural training, site reading and transposition." to be unbelievable.

University-level music majors don't get a comprehensive understanding of those things from two months of college-level music theory, and they generally get a non-introductory-level theory course that assumes that they are already well-versed in notation and basic theory. Indeed, most universities would probably consider two years of college-level theory-for-majors and ear training to be the minimum required to get a reasonably comprehensive (not *truly* comprehensive) knowledge of theory and analysis.

I certainly can't imagine teaching that to a beginning-violinist three-year-old, much less in two months.

Transposition isn't especially hard, although it's a skill that has to be practiced -- it's easier to transpose a tune heard by ear, than it is to learn to read music in transposed clefs, in my opinion. It's something that is straightforward to pick up with general ear-training for aural transposition, and transposition in written music is more or less like learning to read another clef.

Sight reading isn't a thing that you just magically comprehend. It's a skill unto itself. Compare a studio musician with practically anyone else. It's trained as you learn the instrument, as well (although you can psuedo-circumvent that by teaching people to sight-sing, that only gets you relatively simple things within what the human voice can do).

November 10, 2014 at 05:14 AM · Linda, what programs are you actually refering to in your posts?

Or is it simply your conceptualized idea of what a "rigorous, serious" young musician would go through?

As mentioned previously in this thread, Hilary Hahn herself began her studies utilizing Suzuki. Of course, she didn't stop there (nor did it appear to hamper her "more serious" studies later on.

November 10, 2014 at 08:46 AM · Charles, me again, but nothing personal..

"It is not "successful" because it limits future musicians."

If you knew the Method's methods, you woould find that this is quite simply not true. Ignorance should lead to curiosity, not arrogance.

November 10, 2014 at 09:19 AM · "I do not know which video you are referring to, I did not provide any video link in my previous contribution."

Pavel - sorry, I must have seen it on your website. It involved a lot of children aged about 8 playing with a backing group.

I'm sitting on the fence here, and I'm not bashing any method.

November 10, 2014 at 03:45 PM · Peter, glad you enjoyed them considering the sound recording quality. That must have been Suzuki Festival videos 2014 and 2013.

98 - two to go.

November 10, 2014 at 04:49 PM · Yes, I'm also curious which program of study produces students with a "comprehensive understanding of theory, notation, aural training, site reading and transposition" within two months. Those concepts take years to solidify even for the most talented students.

November 10, 2014 at 05:07 PM · And here's to a hopefully peaceful end. Let's just all agree to disagree! :D

November 10, 2014 at 05:38 PM · No way! Post #101, Baby!

I have the last word here:

As an adult Suzuki beginner:

SUZUKI RULES!!!!!

MOC---not so much...

;^)

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