Vol. 13.2 March/April 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 13.2
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: April 14, 2008

A Happy Story

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

In my studio, there is a family of three siblings each of whom started piano exactly at the age of three. They were brought up in a stable family situation by three warm, nurturing adults – mother, father, and grandmother.

Nevertheless, over the many years, it must have been increasingly difficult for the mother. While children are young, they dutifully follow their parent’s wishes. However, when they reach age ten to twelve, children who are spirited and lively become less willing to follow their parents’ guidance.

As these three children became older they would voice their defiance, each in his/her own rebellious way, saying that their mother is ‘so annoying’ and ‘too fussy.’

The oldest, a daughter, is quite a reliable and energetic young lady, perhaps as a result of being the first-born. Since she was three, she heard the most insistent and persistent admonitions to practice from her mother, and she studied most diligently and effectively. However, in reaction [to this earlier diligent training], she became defiant and stubbornly refused to practice anymore upon entering middle school. Despite all this, she must still have loved music, because she continued to come to every lesson.

With the passage of time, before you know it, she’s in college and her younger siblings are in middle school and high school. It comes to pass that she, after all, loves music. In the last couple of years, she had started practicing all on her own accord and consequently became very good. In her last year of high school, during a graduation concert for our research department, she performed a Mozart concerto with the orchestra very well.

Recently, the younger two arrived at their usual lesson time. They both related something very interesting: previously it was their mom who would nag them to practice the piano, but nowadays it’s their sister who is even more strict, insisting that they practice and do it right. They said she’s a big problem for them.

Adults who are influential in children’s lives are the ones who are responsible to provide their education. After that, we patiently watch over them and wait as they grow and flourish.

Study with Teachers from Japan: Decisions of the Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation Board

As a result of a Piano Basics Foundation Board meeting held January 14, 2008, the Board reached the consensus that inasmuch as the Japanese teachers are now working with us in this country, study with them should be our priority concern. Following the model and challenge of Dr. Kataoka, all teachers should also study together in local groups on a regular basis. Local workshops are encouraged. The previous off-season Piano Basics Teacher Research Workshops held in Dallas, Sacramento, Rochester and Philadelphia were interim measures to help the membership until we were able to study with the Japanese teachers.

It is the consensus of the Board that future off-season Suzuki Piano Basics Teacher Research Workshops should include the Japanese teachers. They have expressed a willingness to come in the winter on years when there is no 10-Piano Concert in Matsumoto (2009, 2011, etc).

Any teacher or group of teachers desiring to host a Suzuki Piano Basics Teacher Research Workshop, either during the summer or during the off-year winters, should issue an invitation to the Japanese teachers no less than nine months in advance of the workshop dates. At their request, all invitations will go through Karen Hagberg. All decisions concerning their travel and teaching in the United States will be made by the Japanese teachers themselves.

Attention Members

Although the deadline for 2008 Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation membership renewal has passed, you may be listed as a member on Suzuki-L upon sending your $25 membership to :

Piano Basics Foundation
242 River Acres Drive
Sacramento, California 95831

Utah Piano Basics Teachers Sponsora 10-Piano Concert

By Cleo Ann Brimhall
Salt Lake City, Utah

Every three years the Suzuki Association of Utah has produced a Celebration Concert modeled after the Budokan Concert in Tokyo for the Japanese students. Utah is fortunate to have a metropolitan area with over 200 Suzuki teachers and over 3000 Suzuki students on ten different instruments. Over 2000 of these students enrolled in the Celebration in October 2007.

The Piano Teachers in Utah have a wonderful core of Piano Basics teachers who are studying seriously. This Concert was the second time we attempted to produce a 10-Piano Concert in the fashion of the Matsumoto and Sacramento Concerts. Our first attempt in 2004 was nice but we knew it could be much better. We have studied hard since then on improving our teaching and our rehearsal format. We feel the concert this year was a definite improvement. Thirty-three teachers enrolled a total of 275 students. Seven of our teachers have gone out of state to study at various Piano Basics Workshops and 10-Piano Concerts. These teachers formed the core of our Piano Committee.

Starting with the Bow the concert then presented 27 pieces beginning with Twinkle Variations A and D and finishing with the Mozart Alla Turca (Turkish Rondo K. 331). We also programmed two-piano arrangements of Bach’s Sicilienne (originally a flute sonata) and the Chopin Waltz in e minor. One of our teachers composed a second piano arrangement for the Mozart Minuet I with Trio. These duets were beautiful additions to our reper-toire.

The SAU Celebration Concert Series began with a Suzuki organ Concert on Wednesday evening. The next event was our Ten Piano Concert on Friday evening. Saturday evening was the Grand Gala with all 2000 students performing. After playing the “Wishing” song by Dr. Suzuki and a special arrangement of the Twinkle Variations spotlighting different instruments, each instrument presented a short group of pieces. Five of the pieces from the Ten Piano Concert were chosen to represent the piano students. The Gala audience heard Mary Had a Little Lamb, Ecossaise, Wild Rider, Bach Sicilienne (Duo Piano arrangement) and Mozart’s Alla Turca.

A special Finale was commissioned from Kurt Bestor, a local composer. His “Jubilate! – Nurtured by Love” was performed with the composer conducting at the close of the program. “Jubilate!” began with a small boy playing the Twinkle Theme and grew to feature each of the instrument groups. We were proud of our ten pianists who executed an amazing section to represent scale studies as they coordinated beautifully the high speed scales in D Major along with some tricky but beautiful melodic variations. Older piano students were recruited to be flag carriers to add a stunning choreography to the dramatic presentation. All piano and organ students were included in the chorus and joined the voice students performing the beautiful lyrics.

Joyful harp and keys of love—
Blissful tune on flute above—
Hark now while choirs of angels sing
      with gossamer strings attending.
     Now plays viola, flute and cello.
Soaring violins so mellow.
     Joined now in blessed harmony and
     nurtured by sweet love.
Sing ‘gloria’. Sing ‘gloria’. Sing ‘gloria’.
     Sing ‘gloria’.
     To a world of tears and pain—
Bring we now our glad refrain—
     Joyful is but the sound we made when
music’s nurtured by sweet love.

The message of the chairman for the evening included these comments: “Listen with your hearts as our children combine to perform Kurt Bestor’s beautiful “Jubilate!” You will feel the excitement and remember when your child learned the first notes of “Twinkle.” You will hear the seemingly endless repetition of hours of practicing scales and technique. Then, you will witness the jubilation that comes when all of those hours of practice finally pay off. This is the moment when your student blossoms into an accomplished and natural musician.”

The piano teachers in Utah were happy to be part of this wonderful Celebration and present our Piano Basics work for all to hear and see.


The Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation General Membership Meeting will take place during the Rochester Teacher Research Workshop on Wednesday, August 6 at noon. Please submit agenda items to Karen Hagberg. Our nominating chairperson, Ann Taylor, is accepting nominations for officers. Please contact her at before June 30.


Teacher Research Workshops

Sunday – Thursday, August 3-7: Rochester, New York
Sunday – Thursday, August 10-14: Sacramento, California

Teachers and students from Japan.
International Friendship Concerts (video audition deadline: June 1)
Tuition: $250
Teacher or student lesson: $40
Registration fee: $25 ($50 after June 10)
All teachers welcome.
Contact: Karen Hagberg for Rochester
Linda Nakagawa for Sacramento

Share Your Videos

We would like to remind teachers that Ken Wilburn and the staff of East Carolina University are willing to begin archiving videos of Dr. Kataoka's master classes. Many of you have videos of lessons and may submit them to Ken for inclusion in the online archive.

There is a copy of the video release form on the Suzuki Piano Basics web site, although you do not need to get a release signed for the lesson to appear on the archive.

For a copy of the release form, see

Send your videos, in any format, labeled as to place, date, piece, name and age of student (the student's name and age will not be published online, but will be archived for future research) to: Dr. Kenneth Wilburn, Department of History, Brewster Building, East 10th Street, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858.

Access to Great Pianists
through the Web

By Leah Brammer
Portola Valley, California

Imagine being able to watch, listen to, and learn about the very best pianists, including those from the beginning of the 20th century to the current day, performing music by the greatest composers of all time.

It is now possible. Imagine how happy Dr. Suzuki would be to know that children can watch and listen to the best musicians with such relatively little effort. There is so much out there on the web, it’s hard to know where to begin. Also, the technology and options are changing even as I write this. So, this article is about how to begin your research.

Dr. Kataoka always made it clear that there was a huge difference between the good pianist and the best pianists. After you experience the best pianist it is much easier to tell when the quality is not as good. This is how we educate children to have high ability with the very best as their model.

You can view videos of many different pianists on the web, especially on YouTube. You can also find information about composers, artists, music history, etc. Next, you can research available recordings by listening for free, buying a new or used (collector items) CD, or downloading a MP4 file directly onto your iPod or computer. With this kind of access, all of us can contribute to the ongoing job of finding and providing the best resources and environment for the students.

Following is a list of reliable websites/access points for your research:

For Information:


    You can search by the name of the pianist. A quick search of Martha Argerich for example brings up 448,000 entries which can be rather overwhelming. The good news is that often the first few links have lots of great information. On the Martha Argerich search, Wikipedia comes up as the first link (it often does). Wikipedia has a biography and links to other good sites. The next link was which has a catalog of recordings, upcoming broadcast and concerts. There were also links to sites with interviews, articles, YouTube video links, and even an ad for Martha Argerich ring tones (now we know what to get Karen Hagberg for Christmas). You can also search by the name of the piece. A quick search for “Chopin Ballade” brought 80,700 links. The first links were for YouTube (to watch videos) including Horowitz and Zimmerman. Next, there were links to buy CD’s including recordings by Rubenstein. There were also sheet music sites.

    For Online Videos:


    There are more incredible videos by the day on this site. Search by pianists name, filter by the composer/piece. There will be a lot of videos that come up on your search. It takes time as there is no filter that really helps pull the best videos. Still, it is an adventure.

    You can start your own page with favorites, playlists, and can subscribe to others peoples’ YouTube page. For example, I have been organizing my page to include playlists of various pianists as well as collecting student performances. You can search my name on Youtube and find my page!

    Here is a list of five pianists considered by most to be in the “best” category that have videos posted on YouTube:

    Glenn Gould: There are many videos on YouTube of his recording in the studio with the engineers. Very interesting, not necessarily appropriate for children.

    Arthur Rubenstein: There are wonderful performances of various Chopin pieces. These videos are great for students as his posture is perfect!

    Alicia de Larrocha: There are videos of her performing Mozart as well as Spanish music including Manuel De Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance.

    Martha Argerich: Considered by many to be the greatest living pianist. There is a wonderful video of a Scarlatti Sonata recorded years ago as well as several others.

    Marc Andre Hamelin: His Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody #2 is incredible.

    For CD’s


    This is an easy site to use the advanced search for classical music. You can search by pianist and then choose discs which have the composer you are looking for. You can also search by specific piece. You can buy MP4 (AAC) to download into your iTunes on some selections as well as ordering a CD.

    Often recordings go on and off the market. Recording companies will repackage CD’s with recordings from several different CD’s put together with a new title. So, collectors (like me) might have to buy a whole new CD to get one new piece. As long as you are getting the pianist and the piece/composer you are looking for, the name of the CD doesn’t really matter. If you want only a single piece, try using iTunes and download directly to your computer/iPod.

    Also in your search to buy disc/videos, some will be live performances of several composers and others will be a collection such as the Chopin Nocturnes. Sometimes a pianist will have several different recordings of a piece over a period of time which gets confusing. Anyway all kinds of listening experiences are useful. The live performances have great energy. The collections make it easier to understand a particular style or sound. This is a great site for music lovers to research hard-to-find discs.

    ITunes– you can buy single pieces or albums to download directly to your iPod/computer.

    You can use iTunes as your music library/disc player. All of your discs can be downloaded into your computer and saved there. If students are listening on their computers, it is a good idea for them to get good speakers for the computer. You can keep your actual CD’s for backup, as they will be stored in the iTunes library. You then access the pieces by genre, artist, and album, When you upload a CD it will automatically enter these categories. You can change the information in these categories to suit your own filing system (right click and “Get info”).

    Next, you can make playlist of specific pieces so that you can easily play just that playlist. There is a repeat button (bottom left corner of the iTunes screen) so that you can repeat a single piece or repeat a playlist. Next, you can burn CD’s to use in other disc players in your house and car, and can share with students. Also, you can download the music onto your iPod or iPhone.

    There will be new options in the near future that will enable access with even higher fidelity. So, I personally recommend mostly to buy CD’s and then load them onto your computer for iTunes access. Then you can use the CD in another location or keep it in storage as back-up.

    In conclusion: Go to any of the listed websites. Enter the pianist as the search. Check for the composers/compositions that they have recorded. Maybe look up information on the pianist and check their concert schedule or new release. Compare buying a MP4 version to used discs, to new discs, to different collections that may be on another site. Listen to a sample, watch videos, read, enjoy, learn, support, buy, and save your bookmarks/ favorites for the next time.

    If you find a great video/disc, send me the link:


    Loretta Benson:

    Kathy Bernard

    Ginger Cannon

    Lucy Lee

    Karolyn McGladdery

    Geri Titensor

    Billie Tuttle

    Dan Wesemann

    Shanlei Yates

    Koko Yee

    Carol Wunderle
    1103 Norris Ct. SW
    Leesburg, VA 20175
    USA 703-669-9627

    Pamela Smith
    3994 St. Clair Ct. NE Atlanta, GA 30319
    USA 770-457-5144

    Natasha Vanderlinden
    106 N. 9th Street Dryden 374 N.
    Cheney, WA 99004
    USA 509-359-7304

    Piano Basics Foundation
    Upcoming Workshops/Events

    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, Bruce Anderson, Karen Hagberg, Cathy Hargrave,
    and Linda Nakagawa
    Contact: Bruce Boiney 502-241-5921

    June 9-13, 2008
    Sandy, Utah

    Suzuki Piano Basics Workshop
    featuring Keiko Kawamura and Keiko Ogiwara
    Intermountain Suzuki Institute for Piano and Guitar
    With Robin Blankenship, Leah Brammer,
    KarLyn Brett, Cleo Ann Brimhall,
    Huub deLeeuw, Cathy Hargrave, Joan Krzywicki,
    Rae Kate Shen and Aleli Tibay
    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

    July 20 - 23, 2008
    Tacoma, Washington

    Suzuki Piano Basics Summer Festival with Bruce Anderson
    Contact: Jacki Block 253-759-7213

    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 3 - 7, 2008, Sunday – Thursday
    Rochester, NY

    Suzuki Piano Basics teacher training workshop with
    Japanese teachers & students
    International Friendship Concert, Monday, August 4
    (audition videos due June 1)
    Contact: Karen Hagberg 585-244-0490

    August 10-14, 2008
    Sacramento, California

    Suzuki Piano Basics teacher training workshop with
    Japanese teachers & students
    International Friendship Concert, Tuesday, August 12
    (audition videos due June 1)
    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

    Please send corrections to Kenneth Wilburn, Senior Web Editor

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

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