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Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation
P.O. Box 342, Yachats, OR 97498
Deadline for Next Issue: December 15
People in the old days said that it was easy to see exactly how parents disciplined and raised their child simply by observing the child's behavior. Also, I have heard the saying that when a child does something wrong, we must look at the parent's face.
Dr. Suzuki always said, "All children grow up depending on their parents." This means that if the parents are good, the children grow up well too.
The same may be said of the children's piano playing. After many long years of teaching piano, whenever I hear a child play I can tell immediately what the teacher has taught.
Just as "children are mirrors of their parents," we may say that "students are mirrors of their teachers." Teachers are all responsible if a child plays poorly.
When teachers talk among themselves I often hear things such as, "No matter how many times I tell the students, they never correct their mistakes, so I can't do anything more with them." This is wrong thinking on the part of the teacher. In this case the teacher has not given the appropriate lesson which would motivate the students to try to correct the mistakes.
Children are all excellent.
When observing three- and four-year-old children we are often amazed. They intuitively and immediately learn whatever the adults around them are thinking and doing. They can see through everything; what the parents are doing; whether the parents are serious or not serious; whether the teacher is serious or simply praises the students indiscriminately. They completely understand all of these things even though they cannot express this understanding in words.
When my daughter was seven years old I could not help but scold her before she went to her violin lesson, "How dare you go to your lesson without practicing enough?"
She always answered, "Well, it's the same whether I practice or not."
"What do you mean?" "My teacher always says my playing sounds better no matter what I do. So it's the same whether I practice or not." I was really surprised.
It is a big mistake if we think that children are so primitive and simple that all we have to do is praise them. We must not make light of them. They never make mistakes, because they judge things with their senses and not their knowledge. If we tell them they have improved when we know they have not practiced, the children will view us as irresponsible liars.
Our adult world is full of unreasonable things done solely out of convenience, injustice and dishonesty. Children learn all of this. Whatever children are doing is not their responsibility. They just learn and imitate whatever the adults around them are doing. In the future, they become exactly the same kind of people as the adults they grew up with, and they, in turn, hand down these things to the next generation.
Parents and teachers must examine ourselves every day and try hard to study ways in which we can refrain from making big mistakes around children. Let us raise children with our strong beliefs and passions. It will take many people (as many as possible) trying hard and examining themselves, not only for their own lifetime, but in order to improve the world 10 years, 20 years, 100 years from now. Let us all do our best!
The events of September and the resulting war have led me to reflect anew on the origins of Suzuki Method. Dr. Suzuki's original goal was to rebuild the spirit of Japanese youth after World War II. His intention then was much more than simply to teach students to play the violin. His overall aim, and the dream which inspired him throughout his lifetime, was to create citizens who would establish peace in the world.
Now, more than ever, we need to hold onto this dream and to work hard for the sake of our students and for the future of all who come after us. Dr. Kataoka's article in this issue points out that children become exactly who we, the adults around them, are. Those of us who raise and educate children hold an awesome responsibility which we can never take lightly.
Although our situation today is very different from post-war Japan, our children are frightened and insecure these days. Their spirits need lifting. They need reassurance. They need the joy and solace that music can provide them in this time of great national stress. We teachers can do our best, with renewed determination and energy and with Dr. Suzuki's dream always in our vision, to keep their spirits alive, and to educate them always with a vision far into the future. The survival of the world depends on it.
Cathy Williams Hargrave
The phrases in the Mozart Minuet are four measures long. Keep strict time but allow phrase endings to breathe without rushing into the following phrases. Measure 20 is an exception to this because of the fermata. Like the Bach Minuets previously studied, the concept of light 3rd beats remains important. Dr. Kataoka is also very conscientious about observing rests and note values. This is especially true for the last measure of this piece. She is very particular about the last note sounding light and beautiful without changing the value of the quarter note. (The same is true of the last note of Mozart's K. 330, 1st movement.)
Zen-On indicates that all the eighth notes in this piece should be played as 2-note phrases. W.B. (Warner Brothers) has a dotted line slur (representing the editor's opinion) over the eighth notes and the first quarter note. A footnote also states the quarter notes are detached throughout the piece. The W.B. version is almost the same as the articulation Dr. Kataoka teaches.
Dr. Kataoka teaches that the eighth notes on the first beat are connected to the quarter note on the 2nd beat. The quarter notes on the 2nd and 3rd beats are rather staccato (like Twinkle A tone) and light. One exception to this articulation is in measure 7. She teaches the entire measure legato with a staccato (Twinkle A tone) 3rd beat. The left hand articulation is like Cradle Song. It is legato throughout each 4-measure phrase. She does not teach the staccato notes indicated in measure 4, 8, 12, 16, or 24 of the W.B. edition.
Right hand fingering differences are:
Secretary, Cathy Williams Hargrave read the minutes from last year's meeting. A motion was made to accept them without changes or additions. Motion: Christine Albro; Seconded: Vicki Merley.
Treasurer, Linda Nakagawa gave the Treasurer's Report. The current balance is $11,798.52. This is less than last year because monies collected from participants in the Japan 10-Piano Concert were included in last year's amount.
Dr. Hagberg announced that Vice-President Bruce Boiney had submitted his resignation due to time constraints of preparing the summer workshop each year with Dr. Kataoka at the University of Louisville. His service to Piano Basics Foundation has been greatly appreciated and his resignation was accepted.
President Hagberg opened the floor for nominations for a new slate of officers. There were no suggestions from the floor so a slate was offered. The slate was:
Dr. Hagberg called for newsletter articles from the general membership.
The Suzuki Association of the Americas' registration process and new Practicum were discussed. Libby Armour had recently attended the Leadership Conference of the SAA and provided information.
An announcement was made that everyone is welcome to attend the 10-Piano Concert in Sacramento in August and to contact Linda Nakagawa for information.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
Cathy Williams Hargrave, Secretary
Attending: Christine Albro, Marche Altom, Bruce Anderson, Libby Armour, Karmalita Bawar, Tina Bernabo, Bruce Boiney, Mary Cowles, Melody Diehl, Suzanne Dixon, Gloria Elliott, Pamela Fusselman, Carmen Geisler, Karen Hagberg, Ellen Jaco, Joan Keay, Carole Mayers, Vicki Merley, Linda Nakagawa, Karen Nalder, Pat Pavlack, Janice Porter, Patricia Pritchard, Malinda Rawls, Sloise Sanders, Vicki Seil, Marile Thigpen, Kenneth Trautman, JoAnne Westerheide, and Cathy Williams Hargrave.
I am an appreciative reader of the newsletter and wanted to respond to your request as to who is reading it.
I am a Suzuki Dad. The father of three children and the Piano Instructor of two, ages 6 and 4 (the other is 9 mos. old). I was fortunate enough to attend one of Dr. Kataoka's workshops a couple of years ago. Since then we have diligently worked at playing beautiful piano music.
Both of the older kids also play cello and we are fortunate to have a good Suzuki instructor here.
To my knowledge there are no Piano Basics Teachers in Jacksonville, Florida. I will soon reach the limits of what I can comfortably teach and have been looking for a Suzuki Piano Instructor.
The local teachers I have heard play and spoken with do not inspire me to start with them anytime soon. It would be difficult to attend another out of the area PBF workshop because of logistics and finances. So, I rely on the web site to teach, motivate and inspire me.
In addition, the following teachers will attend:
Bruce Anderson, Tampa, Florida; Karen Hagberg, Rochester, New York; Fumi Kawasaki, Sunnyvale, California; Linda Nakagawa, Sacramento, California; Teri Paradero, Rochester, New York; Judy Parks, Atlanta, Georgia; Malinda Rawls, Louisville, Kentucky; and Clare Sie, Singapore, Malaysia.
For information: suzukipianocambridge.org.uk
Stephen Power, 5 Hillfield Rd., Comberton, Cambridge, CB3 7DB UK
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First Online Edition: 16 December 2001
Last Revised: 8 March 2012