What is a Suzuki teacher?
Suzuki education is found world-wide. The Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) coordinates activities in North America, and is currently developing a system of teacher accreditation.
In the interest of clarity, here is a list of attributes common to teachers who teach according to Suzuki principles:
- The teacher is a member of the SAA, has completed SAA-approved teacher training for at least Book 1, and pursues further training on a regular basis by attending Suzuki Institutes.
- The teacher is knowledgeable about Suzuki philosophy and principles, and expresses positive regard for these.
- Students are accepted without audition; the teacher does not select students for "aptitude."
- The program includes both private lessons and group classes. Observers are welcome.
- The teacher expects students to listen to their book level recording at home every day. This expectation is reinforced in every lesson.
- Students learn their Suzuki repertoire by ear. They play this repertoire from memory in all lessons, group classes, and performances.
- Every lesson includes attention to tone quality, utilizing an approach called "tonalization."
- Through systematic review, students maintain at performance level all previously-learned Suzuki pieces. Review pieces are played and refined in every lesson and group class.
- Students are taught to read music after a balanced playing position is well established and after some basic repertoire is polished.
- Parents attend all lessons and group classes, and take notes to assist with home practice.
- A cooperative, appreciative, and mutually supportive environment is maintained. There is no emphasis on competition or awards.
About Stephanie Judy . . .
Stephanie Judy has been a Suzuki violin teacher and Suzuki parent in the West Kootenays for 20 years. She has studied Suzuki violin pedagogy with Barbara Barber, Catherine Lee, Patricia D’Ercole, Edmund Sprunger, and Rosalind O’Keefe. She is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and president of the West Kootenay Suzuki Association. She has been a guest teacher at summer and winter Suzuki workshops in Whitehorse, and a member of the violin faculty of the Valhalla Summer School of Music and the Suzuki Vahalla Institute, in New Denver, B.C.
Stephanie is the author of Making Music for the Joy of It, a book to encourage adults to be active amateur musicians. She is currently working on a sight-reading method for Suzuki violin students. She is a member of the Selkirk Chamber Orchestra, the string trio Trillium, and the Symphonie of the Kootenays.