Vol. 10.4 July/August 2005

To facilitate, promote, and educate the public
on the way of teaching and playing the piano taught at the
Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto, Japan by Dr. Haruko Kataoka.

Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation News

Editors and Layout
Dr. Karen Hagberg and Teri Paradero
Mayumi Yunus - Translations
Phyllis Newman - Proofreading

Web Editors
Teri Paradero - Vol. 10.4
Kenneth Wilburn, Senior Web Editor

Hard Copy Illustrations
Juri Kataoka

Leah Brammer - Media
Rita Burns - Workshops

Production and Distribution
Linda Nakagawa, Barbara Meixner, and the Sacramento Teachers Research Group

Send Articles to:
Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation
67 Shepard St., Rochester NY 14620
Fax: 585-244-3542

Linda Nakagawa
242 River Acres Drive
Sacramento, CA, USA 95831
Phone: 916-422-2952

Deadline for Next Issue: 20 August 2005

"Kiai!"--- Good Spirit

By Dr. Haruko Kataoka

If you want to do a good job, you need what is called "Kiai" in Japanese, or Spirit. We should always have a good spirit because good spirit gives you energy from the core of your body.

When I think of a good spirit I think of a person yelling at the opponent in martial arts training. When I was younger, I saw my uncle yelling and swinging his sword in the yard. He looked really good.

What is "Kiai Spirit" anyway? What is "Ki"? There are many words in Japanese that utilize the syllable "Ki," and all represent intangibles because "Ki" is something in your heart or mind. For example, "Tenki"-weather, "Genki"-healthy, "Kiryoku"-will power, "Kimochi"- heart, "Honki"-serious, and so on. So "Ki" is also intangible. I cannot explain the meaning of it. Possibly it means "good spirit." Then, how can we have "Ki?"

If you want to teach "Ki," you need to show "Ki." For example, when you try hard to teach really well, you probably become very serious. When your student is not concentrating you probably give the student instruction and try to show your seriousness. By showing your seriousness and working hard with your students, they will learn to be serious and work harder. When a mother gets excited and yells at a child who is practicing the piano, that is a good thing. The mother is showing her "Ki" to her child.

You can learn how to teach your body to have "Ki" by making short loud noise like "Yea--!" However, of course, you do not have to yell at yourself or your family all the time. It would be a problem. You can also have "Ki" by using smaller voice or no voice. I heard this on TV. The experts say giving yourself a cue (Ki) when you carry something heavy is very good for your body.

It is important to have "Ki," a good spirit, and seriously to do a good job in one area. We need to teach this to children. So let's give ourselves "Ki," a good spirit, whenever we do anything. We can make a "Ki" noise in our head like "I am going to study!" "I am going to practice the piano!" "I'm going to eat!" or "I am going to play video games." I am sure this will make you livelier in all areas of your life.

From the Matsumoto Piano Newsletter
Vol.11 No.5, October 1, 2001
Translated by Mayumi Yunus
Edited by Karen Hagberg
Hard Copy Illustrations by Juri Kataoka

Matsumoto 10-Piano Concert 2006

The following guidelines for attending the 10-Piano Concert in Matsumoto on Sunday, April 30, 2006 will be in effect:
--Leave U.S. on Thursday, April 13, return on Monday, May 1
--Registration fees. Teachers: $200, Students: $150
--Student applications limited to one per teacher (Not all applications can be accepted. Students will be given priority according to amount of teacher's recent research experiences, especially the Sacramento 10-Piano Concert.)
--Homestay for teachers may be requested, but is not guaranteed.
--Parents who attend the concert will make their own travel and accommodation arrangements.

You may request registration materials from Karen Hagberg

These will be sent out at the beginning of August and due, with fees, by September 15, 2005.

Thoughts after the Dallas Workshop

By Vicki Merley, Albuquerque, New Mexico

In this workshop, both teachers and students had lessons from a variety of teachers. Someone said it was confusing to watch so many different teachers. But I felt it was not so different from watching Kataoka Sensei. I was often confused after watching her lessons too, and wondered why she chose to focus on certain things. But after trying various techniques that she used, I gradually came to understand what she was doing.

I think that the teachers who have been teaching for years, the graduates of Matsumoto, should have lessons from others who have had the most training like themselves. I don't think we need to be shy about this! I appreciate the attitude that we all can learn from each other, and the humility it reflects, but let's be most practical. We gather together for only a short time, and we need to get the most out of our time together. I also think we should not be shy about asking for comments on our teaching and playing. We can take it! We can learn to give and receive constructive comments about ourselves and others. We just have to have the attitude of highest respect and love for each other. We have to have the positive attitude that we are gathering to learn from each other, and we each want to improve.

I regretted not having a recording of the lessons that I taught, and of the lesson that I received. I cannot remember what I said or did. It's hard to take, watching yourself to see how you could improve, but that is exactly what I want to do for the sake of the students! So, next time, if I'm asked if I want a recording, I will say a resounding YES!

Having a central teaching location, and having all the activities revolve around that core is a terrific learning experience. We had a full schedule every day. I most benefited from playing Down Ups, and watching all the teachers play them. It was amazing to see and hear the difference in tone, and the difference in body motion to achieve that tone. I loved the image that Cathy Hargrave gave to us about a "slinky that just expands out and, boom, goes back to its resting state with no effort. It just goes down".

I could go on and on, and I have! But, I'm so glad I went and took the opportunity to teach and also to have a lesson there. I hope to see more of my teacher friends at the next one!

By Eileen Cloutier, Dallas, Texas

The following things stand out in my mind after the Dallas workshop:
1. Put your mind ahead of your hands.
2. The importance of posture; I always need that reminder.
3. Watching Dr. Kataoka on video showed me several things that I didn't catch when reading her materials:
a. She moved through a lot of material in a lesson.
b. She focused on one thing and didn't get bogged down.
c. She expected the parent to do the teaching at home and didn't try to teach the pieces in the lessons.
d. She modeled for the students constantly, playing with the students almost all the time.
4. I've always been hazy about the one point lesson, but the discussions of Dr. Kataoka's lessons helped me see the points more clearly.
5. A very nice woman named Suzanne Dixon from North Carolina sat with me at lunch and gave me some valuable resources for information. I enjoyed getting to know her.
6. I noticed a big difference between this workshop and the Suzuki workshops I've been to. Everyone at this workshop was seeking to better his/her playing; there was a humility and respectfulness I hadn't noticed at other workshops.

Since the workshop, my students are moving faster than they were previously, and I am getting through a lot more material in the lesson and handing back the teaching to the parents. I am also playing a lot more with the students and seeing the difference.

ATTENTION MEMBERS: As stated in the last newsletter, names of unpaid members were deleted from our online directory as of July 1. If you do not remember renewing your membership, check the online directory. If you name is not there, you need to pay your dues for 2005. This listing is being kept current for paid members. (Send check for $25 made out to Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation, to Linda Nakagawa, Treasurer, 242 River Acres Drive, Sacramento CA 95831.)

How We Research Now

By Karen Hagberg, Rochester, New York

Since the death of Kataoka Sensei a year and a half ago, so many teachers have earnestly set about the task of research. Research is the way Sensei taught us to continue to learn, to improve, to make our students better. All her life she reminded us that, although she was fortunate to have lived her life close to Dr. Suzuki, she had nobody to help her research questions of piano technique. She had to do it herself, on her own.

I recall once years ago a teacher from a remote area in Canada complaining to Sensei that she had no colleagues in her area. "I'm the only Suzuki piano teacher in my town," she lamented.

"That's not a problem," Sensei said, "when I started, I was the only Suzuki piano teacher in the world!"

Knowing that she could not live forever, knowing that she could not teach everyone, Sensei empowered us to know that we could figure out answers on our own. And she taught us to rely on each other to keep ourselves on track.

This year is the first time there will be a 10-Piano Concert without Sensei's presence. There is a heavy responsibility for all the teachers involved, and so much to be learned. The necessary spirit of cooperation among ourselves has been developing over the years, and has truly blossomed in this past year and a half with research that has taken place in Sacramento, Louisville, Dallas and Orange County. After these sessions, most of us have come away feeling optimistic, supported, and truly empowered (as evidenced in the thoughts from Vicki Merley and Eileen Cloutier after the Dallas workshop in February).

To continue what is already a tradition of teacher-research workshops, there will be a 4-day workshop offered in Rochester, New York this fall November 3-6 (Thursday-Sunday). The more teachers who attend, the better the workshop will be, and we encourage all of you not only to come to Rochester, but to consider bringing your students so that many of you will be represented in our Friendship Concert (also a tool for research). See you in Rochester!


Suzuki Piano Basics Teacher-Research Workshop
Hagberg Studio, Rochester, New York
Thursday-Sunday, November 3-6, 2005

The Suzuki Piano Basics teachers in Rochester New York (Karen Hagberg, Lisa Cash, Dorothy Drake and Teri Paradero) are pleased to invite you to attend this workshop. Please join us in this opportunity to research together again in a friendly, supportive, and cooperative atmosphere.

Bring students. We want to encourage you to bring students by offering a $15 discount on the teacher registration fee for each student who comes with you. Students will be accepted to perform in the Friendship Concert by audition. A video audition of the first and second choice of piece to be performed should be submitted to us before September 1. The Friendship Concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 5.

Format. The workshop will follow the established format, with teacher and student lessons (with teachers of your choosing), a teacher recital (how about we all play Happy Farmer this time?), and a Friendship Concert to be held in the Hochstein Performance Hall on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a dress rehearsal that afternoon.

In addition, there will be a social for teachers at Karen and Dorothy's home from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday, a concert by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra on Thursday, and a yoga night on Friday.

Accommodations. Holiday Inn Express, 2835 Monroe Ave, Rochester 14618, 585-784-8400.
Reservation deadline: October 2. (mention the Suzuki Workshop)
$85.98 + tax for 2 double beds, non smoking
Hotel is about 3 miles from workshop (on a bus line).
Take rental car or taxi from airport.

Fees: Teacher registration $25 (late registration $50 after September 1)
Workshop tuition for teachers: $125
Workshop tuition for students: $50

Rochester Attractions: International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester Museum & Science Center (with Planetarium), Strong Museum (one of the largest children's museums in the country), Little Theatre (a 5-screen art theatre). Niagara Falls is 1.5 hours by car. Ferry service from the Port of Rochester to Toronto. The Finger Lakes wine country is a popular destination for a day trip. Please come early or stay late to enjoy Rochester and the surrounding area.

Teachers wishing to receive registration materials: Please request from Karen Hagberg, Phone: 585-244-0490.

MANY THANKS to members Karmalita Bawar, Suzanne Machbitz, Carol Wunderle and Teri Paradero who responded to our call for volunteers to help Ken Wilburn maintain the Suzuki Piano Basics website. We all appreciate your offer to help.

Please send corrections to Kenneth Wilburn, Senior Web Editor

To the Kataoka Sensei Memorial.
To the Suzuki Piano Basics Home Page.

First Online Edition: 17 August 2005
Last Revised: 9 March 2012