Vol. 13.1 January/February 2008

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.

Piano Basics Foundation News

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

Web Editors
Carol Wunderle - Volume 13.1
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

Next Deadline: February 14, 2008

Anxiety, Joy and Emotion

By Haruko Kataoka

From the Matsumoto Suzuki Piano Newsletter
Vol.10 No.6, November 1, 2000
Translated by Chisa Aoki
Teri Paradero
Edited by Karen Hagberg
Illustrations by Juri Kataoka

With all the preparations and practice for the fast approaching 10-Piano Concert on November 19th, the teachers and students of the piano department in Matsumoto feel anxious on a daily basis.

In our world there are both angels and devils. We humans are attracted to the easy and lazy life proposed by the devils, a life that drags us down. We must somehow figure out how to avoid the temptation of the devil. If we set proper goals and work diligently, there is no chance for evil to take us over.

History is rife with stressful times. There have been many periods in history during which the state of the world caused a state of anxiety in everybody. However, we now live in a time of relative calm and affluence, where there is less opportunity for conflict and hardship. These times are problematic, because there is little opportunity to be anxious and to work under pressure. Consequently, there is little opportunity to learn to deal with difficulty.

Through the study of piano, we endeavor to provide the opportunity to learn to deal with situations that can cause anxiety. We do this by holding concerts throughout the year. The 10-Piano Concert, which is held every year and a half, is the biggest concert of them all. People who do not know better tend to think it is easier to perform with nine others rather than to play solo. However, with piano this is a big mistaken assumption! Helping each other, cooperating responsibly, and feeling the resultant tension is a wonderful experience. The joy you receive from it is tremendous. This joyful emotion is not only experienced by the performers, but is conveyed to those in the listening audience. Those children who have performed in several 10-Piano Concerts will tell you, “It’s so much easier to play by myself. If you make a mistake when you perform with nine other players, you would be letting nine other people down. It’s a big responsibility! It’s very nerve wracking.”

Sometimes people misconstrue anxiety or nervousness to be a deterrent to good work. When unnatural, poor technique is combined with psycho-logical tension, your body becomes stiff and prevents you from being able to do anything. When piano technique is good and natural, however, you should be able to do work that is far better than normal when you are excited and nervous.

Anxiety, joy and emotion are all necessary for children’s developmental progress. The challenging and difficult practice before the concert is also something that is necessary for children. Perseverance is critical for nurturing ability, just as critical as being able to exert effort. All the great masters possessed both qualities.

The students who perform in this concert are not especially chosen to play, but rather comprise the entire student body studying at the Matsumoto Piano Department. By performing together with others, tension increases and all the children who have studied well will give superb performances with great joy.

On the day of the concert, you will all hear gorgeous music. Please come fully prepared to take part in this moving experience. This is an exquisite concert you will not find anywhere else in the world.

Summer 2008: a Menu of Opportunity for Contact with Japan

This summer is shaping up nicely with opportunities for Suzuki Piano Basics students and teachers to get together for continuing education, cultural exchange, and personal reunion with teachers from Japan and our American colleagues. Japanese teachers will be making the trip twice to the United States, in June and again in August, to participate in four events in Louisville, Salt Lake City, Rochester, and Sacramento.

The Louisville and Salt Lake City Institutes in June will feature teacher training with Keiko Kawamura and Keiko Ogiwara (two teachers who worked closely with Dr. Kataoka for their entire lives), masterclasses for students with a number of other teachers, and various enrichment classes for students at all levels. Student recitals will be scheduled at each event.

In August, teachers from Japan (to be announced) will bring students to the Teacher Research Workshops in Rochester, New York and Sacramento, California. There will be International Friendship Concerts scheduled during these workshops, featuring the Japanese students and students of participating teachers from around the country.

For further information and registration materials for these and other summer events, please see contact information in the list of Upcoming Events.


Vicki Merley
13262 N. Hammer Stone Lane,
Oro Valley, AZ 85755

Koko Yee

The Power of Observation

By Linda Nakagawa

We learn by observing. The best way to learn how to teach the Suzuki Method is to observe the best teacher. Dr. Kataoka observed Dr. Suzuki while she accompanied his violin students. He proved his theory that if children can speak their native tongue they can learn to play an instrument.

This is never the case with the “traditional method” of teaching music. If you are a child who catches on quickly, then you are considered gifted, or born with talent. It is nobody’s responsibility. But the Suzuki Method puts the responsibility on the teacher. Dr. Kataoka said that every studio could have a few very good students, but we must judge our own teaching by our worst student. This is a very humbling thought. We have the greatest responsibility for our students, because we are an important part of their musical environment.

How does one become a better teacher for our students? The answer is very simple. We have to become the best model for our students. We have to be able to use our body naturally and without wasted energy in order to produce the best possible tone from the piano. This is easy to talk about, or to lecture about, but most difficult to do. We must be able to hear and to distinguish between good and bad tone. Learning how to listen to tone is another topic of discussion that can make some people feel good and others feel lost.During a teacher lesson I once observed, Dr. Kataoka mentioned that the Alberti bass accompaniment is a very difficult technique to accomplish on the piano, and she demonstrated the pattern with good, natural tone. The teacher having the lesson repeated the same notes, but with a completely different sound. The lesson continued on similarly. It was a fascinating lesson to me. I told the teacher, “I thought your lesson was fascinating.” To my surprise, the teacher responded, “Yes, I really enjoyed it. I was so happy with myself that I was able to do everything Dr. Kataoka asked of me.” My heart sank, because her response indicated she was not yet able to hear tone.

My first encounter with Dr. Kataoka was in 1985. I know there are many current teachers who knew her from an earlier time. I envy you, because I know that every moment being around Dr. Kataoka was precious. Early on, she said in a lecture, “I don’t see how you can teach the Suzuki Method on one piano.” Indeed, I was teaching on one grand piano at that time. I sat there thinking about how I could afford to buy another piano, and I soon managed to get an upright. The following year, Dr. Kataoka said, “An upright is not a piano.” Oh my goodness. I just sat there again thinking about how I could get a real piano. So lectures and discussions are important, but the reason I bring up this adventure is that I truly believe that my ability to listen to a good musical tone improved because of the better equipment. It is the teacher’s responsibility to improve her/himself in any way possible for the benefit of our students.

I would like to share one more personal observation during a workshop. There were actually some times during the year where I could hear that my ability to produce a better tone was getting better. I was still nervous and scared about my lessons with Dr. Kataoka, but this particular time I also felt a new sense of confidence because I could tell my ability was improving. Dr. Kataoka and I bowed and, as I was adjusting my bench, she started to play the Twinkles. Oh, it sounded so good. I sat there listening carefully until she finished. I thought to myself, “I can make that kind of sound, I know I can!” As I started to play, I couldn’t believe the horrible sound that I was producing. I wanted to stop. So many different thoughts went through my mind. Dr. Kataoka always compared herself and her students to the great artists. I knew I had much to learn.

Dr. Kataoka is no longer with us, but I am so grateful to have had so many opportunities to study with her. She would often tell us not to take notes during her workshop. We take notes to forget things. I believe this to be true. While I observed her teaching, I worried that I would forget so many important things she said. But I am now discovering that her words come back to me as I teach my own students. There are so many experiences to draw from, I no longer fear they will disappear. My only regret is that new teachers learning the Suzuki Method do not have Dr. Kataoka. But, thank goodness she taught the other teachers in Matsumoto well. We can all learn together during their workshops in America and in Japan. For we all have much to learn.

Nothing is stronger than the power of observation

Matsumoto 10-Piano Concert 2008

Excitement is building for the next 10-Piano Concert in Matsumoto, Japan scheduled for April 27, 2008. A contingent of teachers and students from the United States, Canada, and Singapore will arrive in Japan on Friday, April 11 to attend the rehearsals and concert which this year will feature eighteen foreign students.

As they did last time, the Japanese teachers have decided to begin the concert with three rousing pieces even before the Bow: the Mozart Turkish March, a movement from the Mozart Sonata K.240 for piano, 4 hands, and the Brahms Hungarian Dance, no.5, after which the program will progress from the Bow and Twinkles up chronologically through the repertoire. The beyond-repertoire pieces at the end of this year’s concert will be Paderewski’s Minuet in G major, Op. 14-1, Beethoven’s Turkish March, the Clair de Lune of Debussy, and Weber’s Rondo Brilliante, Op. 62.

The thirty attending teachers and their students represent twelve of the United States (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington), two Canadian provinces (British Columbia and Ontario), and one other country (Singapore). As in the past, most teachers and all the students will be housed in Japanese homes where they will have many new experiences and be the recipients of legendary Japanese hospitality.

Those who have never traveled to Japan to hear this concert may purchase DVDs of this year’s and earlier concerts through Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation. See List of Materials and Order Form in this newsletter.

Educational Materials 20% Off until May 1, 2008

The current Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation list and order form for Educational Materials appears in this issue. Until May 1, 2008, current members of Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation may place orders at a 20% discount for all materials.

With literally all published material now available on the internet, our list now consists exclusively of materials that are generally unavailable elsewhere.

If you are a teacher who has not attended a 10-Piano Concert or who does not own DVD’s of 10-Piano Concerts, please consider building a library of these invaluable resources both for teacher education and the education of parents and students. The fine recordings of Seizo Azuma are a must in the libraries of Suzuki Piano Basics teachers and students as well.

In addition, there are commemorative items, including stunning posters and other souvenir items designed by Dr. Kataoka’s daughter Juri. These are great additions to the studio environment, and make wonderful gifts as well.

We do still carry the Kataoka recordings of Books 1-3 of the Suzuki Piano Method, offered at a discounted price for members. As usual, current members receive orders with free postage. Do not forget to take advantage of this benefit of membership.

Piano Basics Foundation Upcoming Workshops/Events

February 13-14, 2008
Tucson, Arizona

Suzuki Piano Basics Workshop with Karen Hagberg
Contact: Ann Taylor 520-881-5573

February 15-16, 2008
Phoenix, Arizona

Suzuki Piano Basics Workshop with Karen Hagberg
Contact: Vicki Seil 480-926-7804

February 22-24, 2008
Omaha, Nebraska

Suzuki Piano Basics Workshop with Linda Nakagawa
Contact: Pam Fusselman 402-891-2397
Carol Novak 402-572-0105

February 29 - March 2, 2008
Salem, Oregon

Suzuki Piano Basics Workshop with Linda Nakagawa
Contact: Connie Snyder 503-585-0929
Jill Austin 503-640-5795

March 7-9, 2008
Cary, North Carolina

Suzuki Piano Basics Workshop with Karen Hagberg
Contact: Christine Albro 919-460-8233

March 27-30, 2008
Atlanta, Georgia

Suzuki Piano Basics Workshop with Karen Hagberg
Contact: Joslyn McGuire 404-524-5880

April 27, 2008
Matsumoto, Japan

International Suzuki Piano Basics 10-Piano Concert
Contact: Karen Hagberg 585-244-0490

June 3-7, 2008
Louisville, Kentucky

University of Louisville Suzuki Piano Institute
featuring Keiko Kawamura, Keiko Ogiwara and others
Contact: Bruce Boiney 502-241-5921

June 9-13, 2008
Murray, Utah
Intermountain Suzuki Institute for Piano and Guitar

Suzuki Piano Basics Tone Class for Teachers
Master Classes for Students
featuring Keiko Kawamura, Keiko Ogiwara and others.Contact: Andrea
Greger 801-768-0262

Sunday, June 29, 2008
Cambridge, England

Anniversary Suzuki Piano Concert
& Teacher Symposium
Students may apply at 3 levels.
Contact: Stephen Power
Details available at

July 28 - August 1, 2008
Saint Louis, Missouri

Suzuki Piano Basics Institute with Bruce Boiney
and Joan Krzywicki
Contact: Patty Eversole 314-837-1881
Registration information online at

August 4-8, 2008
Rochester, NY

Suzuki Piano Basics teacher training workshop with
Japanese teachers & students
International Friendship Concert
Contact: Karen Hagberg 585-244-0490

August 11-15, 2008
Sacramento, California

Suzuki Piano Basics teacher training workshop with
Japanese teachers & students
International Friendship Concert
Contact: Linda Nakagawa 916-422-2952

The events listed above are for the information of Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation members and others. Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation does not endorse, sanction, or sponsor events.

To add or change items on this list and on the Suzuki Piano Basics
website, contact Karen Hagberg
(,  585-244-0490).


***20% Off Through May 1, 2008***

Compact Discs

Dr. Haruko Kataoka performs Suzuki Piano Repertoire volume 1
Member Price: $14.00; Non-member $17.00
Dr. Haruko Kataoka performs Suzuki Piano Repertoire volume 2
Member Price: $14.00; Non-member: $17.00
Dr. Haruko Kataoka performs Suzuki Piano Repertoire volume 3
Member Price: $14.00; Non-member $17.00

Additional Discography

Seizo Azuma, piano, JUST ARRIVED: only 5 available: Schubert Four Impromptus, Op. 90/ Beethoven Sonata No. 8, Op. 13, c minor, “Pathetique” / Beethoven Sonata No. 26, Op. 81a, Eb major, “Das Lebewohl”

Member Price: $24.00; Non-Member Price: $29.00

Seizo Azuma, piano, NOW AVAILABLE! La Campanella –F. Liszt “Favorites” La chasse, 4 Valses oubliees, no. 1/ Consolation No. 3/ Au bord d’une source,/ Ballade No. 2/Sposalizio/ La Campanella/ Sonetto 104 del Petrarca/ Ungarische Rhapsodie No. 2/Liebestraume, no. 3

Member Price: $17.00; Non-Member Price: $20.00

Mineo Hayashi, cello; Seizo Azuma, piano, Fun Classics, 12 Pieces:The Swan/Après un Rêve/Clair de Lune/Prayer from “Jewish Life”/Song of the Birds/ Paraphrase on a Japanese Folk tune Sakur, Sakura/ Song without Words in D major Op. 109/ Etude, Op. 8 No. 11, Bb minor/ Songs my Mother taught me Op. 55 no. 4/ Elegy Op. 24 / Adagio und Allegro in A-flat major Op. 70/ Polonaise Brilliante, Op. 3, C major

Member Price: $20.00; Non-Member Price: $25.00

Mineo Hayashi, cello, Six Suites for solo cello, by J. S. Bach
Member Price: $28.00; Non-Member Price: $30.00


April, 1996 Matsumoto 10-Piano Concert
Member Price: $100.00; Non-Member Price: $120.00

August 1999 Suzuki Piano Basics International 10-Piano Concert, Sacramento
Member Price: $50.00; Non-Member Price: $65.00

November 2000 Matsumoto 10-Piano Concert
Member Price: $100.00; Non-Member Price: $120.00

August 2001 Suzuki Piano Basics International 10-Piano Concert, Sacramento
Member Price: $50.00; Non-Member: $65.00

April, 2002 Matsumoto 10-Piano Concert
Member Price: $100.00; Non-Member Price: $120.00

August 2003 Suzuki Piano Basics International 10-Piano Concert, Sacramento
Member Price: $50.00; Non-Member: $65.00

November, 2003 Matsumoto 10-Piano Concert (DVD)
Member Price: $100.00; Non-Member: $120.00

NEW! Memorial Concert held in Matsumoto, July 28, 2004,
featuring Seizo Azuma and other distinguished former students.
Member Price: $45.00

Suzuki Piano Basics International 10-Piano Concert, Sacramento 2005 (DVD)
Member Price: $50.00; Non-Member: $65.00

NEW! Suzuki Piano Basics International 10-Piano Concert, Sacramento 2005 (DVD)
Member Price: $50.00; Non-Member: $65.00


Dr. Haruko Kataoka Sensibility and Education, 2nd printing
Member Price: $12.00; Non-Member: $14.00

Dr. Shinichi Suzuki Nurtured by Love
Member Price: $13.00; Non-Member: $16.00

Dr. Haruko Kataoka Thoughts on the Suzuki Piano School
Member Price: $6.00; Non-Member: $8.00

Dr. Haruko Kataoka My Thoughts on Piano Technique
Member Price: $6.00; Non-Member: $8.00

Dr. Haruko Kataoka How to teach beginners
Member Price: $12.00; Non-Member: $14.00

Full color edition of Memorial Piano Basics Foundation Newsletter
Member Price: $5.00; Non-Member: $10.00

NEW ! Print of pencil portrait of Kataoka Sensei, 6”h x 4” w,
drawn in Matsumoto in 1992. Drawn and donated by
Huub de Leeuw. (Proceeds to benefit the Memorial Fund.)
Member Price: $20.00; Non-Member: $25.00

NEW! 10-Piano Poster: 1999,2001, 2003, 2005
Member Price: $10.00; Non-Member: $15.00

NEW! 10-Piano Poster: 2001 Autographed by Dr. Kataoka and Juri Kataoka
Member Price: $25.00; Non-Member: $30.00

NEW! 10-Piano Poster: 2003 Autographed by Dr. Kataoka
Member Price: $25.00; Non-Member: $30.00



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Please send corrections to Kenneth Wilburn, Senior Web Editor

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First Online Edition: 3 February 2008
Last Revised: 9 March 2012