Volume 7.1, January/February 2002

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

Dr. Karen Hagberg and Cheryl Kraft

Web Editor
Kenneth Wilburn

Cheryl Kraft

Hard Copy Illustrations
Juri Kataoka

Leah Brammer - Media
Rita Burns - Workshops
Renee Eckis - Translation Coordinator
Cathy Williams Hargrave - Editions

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

Send Articles to:
Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation
P.O. Box 342, Yachats, OR 97498
Fax: 541-547-4829

Deadline for Next Issue: February 15

Be A Beast

By Dr. Haruko Kataoka

Recently, I had a special opportunity to talk with a father of another teacher's student. He is a doctor and shared an interesting observation. He began by saying that his child got nervous the first time he performed in front of a big audience. I told him I thought this was good since it is important for us humans to focus and to be tense in order to achieve excellence. Doing this repeatedly will strengthen our minds.

I see children saying that they are nervous and that their hearts are pounding as they wait their turn to perform at the Ten-Piano Concerts. This nervousness is important. It makes them go out on stage and play with all their energy. They come back with a big smile of delight saying how well it went. Every time I see this happen, I remind myself that we adults have to see to it that our children get that experience.

The father agreed, adding that according to psychology textbooks it takes occasional frightening experiences (scary or thrilling) for our minds to develop properly. In ancient times, people experienced terror by narrowly escaping from tigers or lions but we do not get that very often these days. So we invent things to replace these experiences, such as roller coasters and haunted houses. We even pay to get on the roller coaster just to be scared. Haunted houses provide the same thrill. Before we had Disneyland, there were haunted houses all over Japan in the summertime. We go into them knowing that we will be frightened. Our minds must instinctively crave these experiences for our mental development.

Later as I was pondering what this father had said, I realized that we can give our children the same experience in our own homes for free. A mother who is strict about everything or parents who turn into beasts when it comes to their child's piano practice can effectively provide this mental excitement on a daily basis. For children, hard practice can be the same as being chased by a real scary animal.

I can say from my experience of teaching over forty years that children who were brought up by strict parents play the piano very well and that a mother who is strict about everything or parents who turn into beasts when it comes to their child's piano practice can effectively provide mental excitement on a daily basis. For children, hard practice can be the same as being chased by a real scary animal. Humans need tense moments. But do not misunderstand. It is strictness with love, not abuse. It might be tiring to become a beast or a demon but teachers when you teach, mothers/fathers when you practice with your child at home, let's happily be beasts for the good of our childrens' future.

Translated by Marie Campbell
Edited by Dr. Karen Hagberg
Hard Copy Cartoons Illustrated by Juli Kataoka
From Matsumoto Piano Newsletter
Volume 11, Number 2

Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation Membership Dues 2002

The deadline for renewing your Piano Basics Foundation membership dues and having your name listed in the directory is MARCH 15, 2002.

Make check ($25.00 in U.S. Dollars) payable to Piano Basics Foundation and send to:

Piano Basics Foundation
242 River Acres Dr.
Sacramento, CA 95831

The Kentucky Derby

By Dr. Haruko Kataoka

Louisville, Kentucky has been famous for a long time for its Kentucky Derby. I remember as a child hearing the name and seeing a picture of beautiful ladies in their wide derby hats watching the races.

I had a chance to visit Louisville last June to attend a summer school and teacher workshop. They held a banquet to welcome me at the Kentucky Derby Museum. There was a wide screen surrounding the banquet room at the eye level. As we were finishing up our meal, they turned the lights down and showed a beautiful film about the training of young race horses. When it came to last year's race (a Japanese person owned the horse that won), we were surrounded by galloping horses. The whole room turned into the race track. It was so realistic that I felt as if I were actually there. I was mostly amazed by the audio system until I saw the horses close up. They were running as hard as they possibly could. It was very powerful, maybe because there were ten of them.

I was moved that even an animal can be so amazing and beautiful. But we are human beings. We should be able to do even better than they do. Young people, run earnestly toward your goal. And grown-ups, let's keep working hard until we die.

I was moved unexpectedly, which makes life enjoyable. I had never understood the meaning of horse races, until I stop thinking about the money and just looked at the beauty of the horses.

Translated by Marie Campbell
Edited by Dr. Karen Hagberg
Hard Copy Cartoons Illustrated by Juli Kataoka
From Matsumoto Piano Newsletter
Volume 11, Number 2

Reconciliation of Editions of the Suzuki Piano School
Part 5, Volume 2
Arietta by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Cathy Williams Hargrave
Rowlett, Texas

Before discussing Arietta, it is important to consider the history of articulation markings and ornamentation in piano music during the Classical Era. Originally, articulation markings came from violin music and the slurs corresponded to violin bowings. For the pianist, these markings have to be taken "with a grain of salt". Sometimes they are to be followed strictly and other times, completely ignored. Ultimately, the pianist's ear is the only guide to forming an opinion. The same principle applies to ornamentation. Many historical treatises by composers like J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Francois Couperin, and others expounding the proper execution of ornaments have been written and remain in print. They all state different opinions. Each one states the rules according to the historical era and summarily instructs the reader to do whatever most pleases the ear. There really are no hard, fast rules about ornamentation. Also, from what is known about Mozart's personality and the improvisational performance style of that time, it is hard to imagine he would care whether his ornaments came on or off the beat.

Right Hand Reconciliation

The first point in Arietta concerns the slurs in measures 6 - 8 and 14 - 16. Both editions have the same slurs, one for each measure. Rather than break the legato at the end of measure 6, 7, and 8 as printed, Dr. Kataoka teaches one slur which spans across all three measures. The same articulation also applies to measure 14-16 and 38-39.

In measure 15, the Warner Brothers edition indicates that the grace note comes with the left hand on the 2nd beat; however, Dr. Kataoka teaches it before the beat.

In measure 18, the Warner Brothers edition has no slur but the Zen-On edition does. Dr. Kataoka teaches that there is a slur and it is carried across the bar line to the 1st beat of measure 19. The same is true in measure 22-23.

In measure 24, the Warner Brothers edition has a 2-note slur from Sol to La. This makes the phrase sound as if it ends with the 3rd. beat of measure 24 and a new phrase begins in measure 25. In the Zen-On edition, there is no slur from Sol to La which makes the previous phrase end with Sol. The new phrase begins with La serving as a pick-up note to measure 25. Dr. Kataoka teaches the Zen-On version.

In measure 28, 29, and 30, the 2nd and 3rd beats have a slur written above them. Both editions are printed the same way. Dr. Kataoka again carries the slur across the bar line to the 1st beat in each case. In measure 30, the slur is further extended to include measure 31 to the new phrase beginning in measure 33.

In measure 28, the Warner Brothers edition has finger 2 on Do. The Zen-On edition has finger 3. Dr. Kataoka teaches finger 3. In measure 29, the Warner Brothers has finger one on Ti (flat). The Zen-On edition has finger 2. Dr. Kataoka teaches finger 2.

In measure 30, the Warner Brothers edition has finger 5 on La (2nd beat). The Zen-On edition has finger 4. Dr. Kataoka teaches finger 4.

In measure 31, the Warner Brothers edition has finger 4 on Sol and finger 1 on Re. The Zen- On edition has finger 3 on Sol, finger 1 on Mi, and finger 3 on Re. Dr. Kataoka teaches the fingering printed in the Zen-On edition.

In measure 32, the Warner Brothers edition has finger 3 on Do. The Zen-On edition has finger 2. Dr. Kataoka teaches

Left Hand Reconciliation

In measure 1, the Zen-On edition has a slur over all 3 beats which might indicate legato repeated notes or an implied waltz accompaniment. The Warner Brothers edition has a 2-note slur indicating a definite waltz-like effect. Dr. Kataoka teaches the 2-note slur, and the 2nd and 3rd. beats are played softly and staccato.

She also teaches that the dotted quarter notes in measure 1 - 3 are to be connected with each other to convey a counter-melody. Measures 5, 9 - 12, 13, 25-27, 33-35, and 37 are also played this way.

In measures 1 - 4, the fingering according to the Warner Brothers edition is:
(Implied fingerings are in parentheses)

  Fa  Do  Do    La  Do  Do    Sol  Do  Do    Do  Do  Do
  5   (1) (1)    3  (1) (1)    4   (1) (1)   5   (1) (1)

This fingering makes it impossible to create a legato counter-melody; therefore, Dr. Kataoka teaches the fingering found in the Zen-On edition which is:

 Fa   Do  Do    La  Do  Do    Sol  Do   Do    Do  Do  Do
  4   (1) (1)    2  (1) (1)    3   (1)  (1)    5  (1) (1)

In measure 7 and 8 of the Zen-On edition, both notes on the 1st beat are dotted quarter notes. In the Warner Brother Editions, only the upper note is a dotted quarter and the lower note is an eighth note. Dr. Kataoka teaches that both notes are dotted quarter notes.

In measure 4, 6, 7, 8, 12,14, 28, 29, 30, and 38, the dotted quarter on the first beat is not connected to the first beat in the following measure.

All three beats in measure 15 and 39 are staccato.

This concludes Part Six.

Oh, To Hear Bach In the Morning!

Leah Brammer
Atlanta, Georgia

On the morning of September 11, my husband called me from his cell phone: "You've got to turn on the TV!" I watched as the second plane flew into the World Trade Center. In that moment, I became a captive to the television. These last three months, my morning routine is to check the news for the latest updates.

A couple weeks ago. I turned on the disc player to listen to a piece I was teaching. In the same suddenness in which I had become captive to the TV, a feeling of deep calm and peacefulness came over me. I realized how easily and thoughtlessly that I had replaced a good habit with a bad one. In lessons that week, I asked parents: "Have you been listening?" The reply from many parents: "Not as much as usual."

In one sense, everyone has been captive to recent events. It was interesting to me however, that as I listened to recordings less, I forgot to remind parents about listening as well. Because I was uninspired, there were no stories to tell about listening, certain pianists, or new discs to recommend.

As a child, while my parents played and respected music as an important part of life, the TV was king of the house. This was the habit learned from my childhood. As an adult, I have rebelled against this way of life to such an extent that I miss even really good programs. Still, what we learn as children is so strong that these habits can take over without us even knowing it!

Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Kataoka teach us that each day is like a life. The morning is a new beginning and a very important time to have music on in the house. This creates the habit of listening for that day. With music in the morning, the whole day can evolve from that center of calmness.

As adults, it is so difficult to get rid of bad habits! For the sake of humanity, let's work hard to help children acquire good habits.

Attend A Summer Workshop

Rita Burns
Carmichael, California

Did you note the dates for the 2002 workshop schedule with Dr. Kataoka? They are convenient. She will visit the East and the West in June, and the South and the West in August. If you are worried about money, plan now. Open a workshop account and put away anything that you can afford. If you have to, do without a few mochas a week. They add up.

If you are considering teaching Suzuki Piano for a living, or have been teaching for a while, but have not attended a workshop with Dr. Kataoka, do so this coming summer.

Do you have any questions about how to teach any of the pieces in the Suzuki Repertoire?

Are you completely satisfied with your own piano playing?

Do you wonder how to work with your student's parents?

Would you like to share ideas and questions with other teachers both experienced and brand new?

Have you ever been to Kentucky, Georgia, or California?

Maybe you don't consider yourself workshop material. You just have a few students, and you really don't need to expend the energy and money to attend a workshop. You may or may not be a music major, and music teaching isn't that complicated, so what's the benefit of these workshops?

Did you read Dr. Kataoka's article in the last Piano Basics Newsletter about how children become like their adult teachers? If you have only one piano student whom you see once a week, you owe it to her/him to attend a piano workshop with Dr. Kataoka. Your student watches you, listens to your words and playing, and senses the mood you create during the lesson. You have a huge influence on your student's future. You have the opportunity to teach children about the importance of telling the truth, about the importance of daily practice to achieve both short and long-term goals, about patience and perseverance, and most importantly, about acceptance of the way things are. If you have more than one student, you can create opportunities for your students to meet other families who are going through the same process. If you have children of your own, you can hear some good advice as to how to be a better parent.

You are also a model for parents. Your serious attitude during piano lessons will rub off on parents. They will see how you benefit their children, not only as a teacher of piano, but a teacher of how to be a loving human being. Wow, what a responsibility!

Do you feel you have all the tools you need to be a good model? If not, go to a workshop?

Renew Yourself!

Dorothy Drake
Rochester, New York

I attended a workshop in Orange County CA last summer. And although it would be easy to just say, "Wow, I had a really good time. It was so edifying and enlightening. Everyone should always attend workshops." I decided to instead write about the weeks prior to the workshop.

Weeks before, no months before a workshop I pick out a piece of music that I'd like to play for Dr Kataoka. I practice almost everyday. I do my Twinkles, first the left hand, then the right hand, then 100,000 down-ups. I use the metronome always at 72. I sit up. My feet are flat, I'm relaxed. I'm concentrating, no really I am. I'm not thinking about the laundry, the bills or what's for dinner. No, I'm really living and thinking Twinkles. I listen to the CD. I begin to practice in my sleep. I can see the keyboard in front of me as I drift off to dream land.

I do the same practice with the piece I've chosen to play for Sensei. I learn it in sections, hands alone, again, always using the metronome, I listen to the recording. I can practically play it backwards. I'm calm and prepared.

Everyday at the workshop I practice until my lesson. My turn is next. I approach the piano bench. I hear the faint sound of the JAWS movie theme in my head. You know, bum bum, bum bum. I sit. I start to play Twinkles. I play half way through Twinkle A and I hear Sensei say, "Just a moment please," and the lessons begin...and they never end. Attend a workshop. Renew yourself.

Dr. Kataoka's 2002 Workshop Schedule

June 3-7, Louisville, KY

Registration Deadline: 1 March 2002

Bruce Boiney, Director
Malinda Rawls, Assistant Director
173 Sears Ave. Suite 273
Louisville, KY 40207
Phone/Fax: (502) 896-0416

Web Site:

Make your plans now to attend this year's institute in Louisville. Please note one significant change: our registration deadline is March 1st, a month earlier than last year. Look for our institute brochure in your mailbox soon and mail your form (and your students' forms)--registration fills quickly.

In addition to welcoming back Dr. Kataoka, we are excited to announce the following piano faculty this year: Bruce Anderson, Lori Armstrong, Leah Brammer, Gloria Elliot, Huub de Leeuw, Karen Hagberg, Cathy Hargrave, and Linda Nakagawa.

In addition to masterclasses, students will also receive several hours of enrichment classes and perform in an evening recital. An exciting aspect of the Louisville Institute is that teachers not only get to attend the full workshop with Dr. Kataoka, but are also able to observe the other piano faculty teach student lessons throughout the week. This year's schedule will make this easier than ever to do.

Please visit our web site for more information and be on the lookout for that brochure. We hope to see you in Louisville!

Thanks, Bruce

June 12-16, Orange County, CA

Mei Ihara, Director
321 N. Deepspring Rd.
Orange, CA 92669
Phone: (714) 997-8692

Dear Teachers, This is the second year that Orange County teachers will host a Piano Basics Teacher's Workshop with Dr. Kataoka. Our first Teacher workshop in 2001 was a very successful one and we are working hard and planning to make the 2002 workshop even better.

Please come and join us for training and studying with our master teacher Dr. Kataoka, the co-founder of the Suzuki Piano School. The workshop will be at Concordia University (Irvine, California), a small and cozy campus with a quiet environment At Concordia, you can remove yourself from a busy schedule, focus your ears and mind on studying and at the same time enjoy the wonderful Southern California weather. The dormitories are reasonably priced and the food is good. Beautiful beaches are conveniently located close to the workshop site. Come early or stay afterwards to take advantage of such incredible vacations sites as Disneyland, Knottsberry Farm, Hollywood and Universal Studios. You will want to schedule extra days in sunny, southern California!

Please come and join us, meet other teachers, share your experiences and friendship. Make your plans now.

Mei Ihara, Director

August 2-7, Atlanta, GA

Robin Blankenship
2518 Country Lake Circle
Powder Springs, GA 30127
Phone/Fax: (770) 943-1218

(Information Forthcoming)

August 10-14, Sacramento, CA

Linda Nakagawa, Director
242 River Acres Drive
Sacramento, CA 95831
Phone/Fax: (916) 422-2952

(Information Forthcoming)

for the most recent edition of Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation Discography:
Recommended Recordings, Books, and Videos of the Suzuki Piano Repertoire.

Suzuki Piano Basics Foundation Website address:

Please send corrections to Kenneth Wilburn, Web Editor

Return to the Suzuki Piano Basics Home Page.

First Online Edition: 12 March 2002
Last Revised: 8 March 2012