Discussion:
Invitation to join SuzukiUSA
(too old to reply)
Tech_Fiddle
2004-10-19 04:14:55 UTC
Permalink
You are cordially invited to join SusukiUSA at
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/SuzukiUSA/

LIST DESCRIPTION:
This group is designed for Suzuki method teachers, teacher trainers,
students and parents based in the US. The list of instruments which
are taught employing Suzuki method includes but is not limited to:
strings (violin primarily), and also viola, cello, bass, guitar,
flute, recorder and piano. Everyone interested in Suzuki method is of
course welcome, but we feel we need a list which will provide space
for annoncements and chat for the US based groups.

Suzuki method is based on Dr. Shinichi Suzuki's idea of the "mother
tongue method," the natural method by which children learn to speak.
This pedagogical method was introduced in the US in the mid-20th
century, at Oberlin College and later at other educational
institutions, based on interest stimulated from a "Talent Education"
film presented at Oberlin, and later tours throughout the US. The
Talent Education movement subsequently spread throughout the world;
the International Suzuki Association was established in 1983.

* * * * * *

We know a lot of people will say, why do you need a new list, since
the suzukichat list is so successful, but we do feel that there is a
place for a list which is primarily based in the states, with US based
activities.

We tried a list like this before and really didn't give it a chance or
promote it properly, so we're going to give this one plenty of time.

Thanks for your subscription!


Robert - WebMaster, SunMusic Strings
Violin-Related listservs:
http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/listservs.html
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-19 14:16:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tech_Fiddle
You are cordially invited to join SusukiUSA at
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/SuzukiUSA/
This group is designed for Suzuki method teachers, teacher trainers,
students and parents based in the US. The list of instruments which
strings (violin primarily), and also viola, cello, bass, guitar,
flute, recorder and piano. Everyone interested in Suzuki method is of
course welcome, but we feel we need a list which will provide space
for annoncements and chat for the US based groups.
Suzuki method is based on Dr. Shinichi Suzuki's idea of the "mother
tongue method," the natural method by which children learn to speak.
This pedagogical method was introduced in the US in the mid-20th
century, at Oberlin College and later at other educational
institutions, based on interest stimulated from a "Talent Education"
film presented at Oberlin, and later tours throughout the US. The
Talent Education movement subsequently spread throughout the world;
the International Suzuki Association was established in 1983.
* * * * * *
We know a lot of people will say, why do you need a new list, since
the suzukichat list is so successful, but we do feel that there is a
place for a list which is primarily based in the states, with US based
activities.
We tried a list like this before and really didn't give it a chance or
promote it properly, so we're going to give this one plenty of time.
Thanks for your subscription!
Robert - WebMaster, SunMusic Strings
http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/listservs.html
No thanks. The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-20 03:36:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
No thanks. The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
And you have what vast experience with the Suzuki method to make this claim?
Suzuki method student?
teacher?
parent?
education researcher?

Or did you just read about it, and observe someone play and make
decide this?

Suzuki's ideas are mostly about how to motivate and effectively
teach children to develop complex skills. Like anything, there are people
that incorporate his ideas well into his teaching (where they work well) and
others who do so less successfully. But the ideas are very sound.

If you are criticizing some technical aspect such as bow hold, vibrato
or something else then you are completely missing the point.
His approach is about how to help children reach full potential,
and it works.

What is the Liszt method anyway? And the Joachim method?
Are they a set of concepts for teaching children music or are
they something else? Are they even comparable?
Radu Focshaner
2004-10-20 10:25:29 UTC
Permalink
"Alex Blakemore" <alexblakemoreATcomcast.net>
Post by Alex Blakemore
What is the Liszt method anyway?
Since you asked... Basically the Liszt method is "Beat the shit out of the
kid to make him practice nine hours a day".
gregpresley
2004-10-22 08:32:13 UTC
Permalink
I guess neutral people should ask what students of Suzuki can do well and
cannot do well. In general, in my experience, students of Suzuki method
learn to play with good tone and phrasing, which means that they have
learned to listen to themselves - a very important skill for any musician.
However, as a gross generality, (by which I mean there are some exceptions)
Suzuki students are TERRIBLE readers - which places a real limitation on
them as they get into more difficult repertory. I think that in an ideal
world, children would start off at age 4 - 6 with Suzuki, study that method
for no more than 3 years, and then switch to a method with more emphasis on
reading - and perhaps on a more systematic investigation of useful
technique. (Not Hanon, I hasten to add).
The other objection I have is spending too much time on beginner level
repertory. Why memorize a 16 measure piece by Rebikov or Nakada, no matter
how pretty, and spend 6 or 8 months perfecting every nuance, when there are
gazillions pieces of the same length by Bach, Bartok, Haydn, Khatchaturian,
Kabalevsky, etc? After 3 years of piano study, students should be playing
Bach little preludes or inventions at least, Clementi sonatinas at least,
and other repertory of similar difficulty. It's not that learning to play
carefully and with nuance is not an admirable aim, it's that life is short,
and I would prefer to spend that short life discovering the nuances of the
greatest musical minds of all time, not lesser ones.

As an example of progess happening too slowly, I had a college student
study with me recently, who had been studying piano since 1st grade. (So, 12
years of piano). She struggled with an easy Sonatina by Kabalevsky - a piece
that should have been possible for her by the 2nd or 3rd year of piano
study.
This impression was confirmed recently by a long discussion I had with a
European violinist, who said that she was astounded in attending American
orchestra auditions at the number of auditioners who played with really good
sound and pretty decent technique, but whose sight-reading skills were
abysmal. In questioning them, she discovered that the common denominator was
the Suzuki training they had received. In a recent issue of the MTNA
magazine, a survey discovered that it was skill in reading which was the
best indicator of someone able to make a career as a musician...... a
statistic to ponder as we teach....... or learn.
Betsy
2004-10-22 15:38:00 UTC
Permalink
You are wrong on two points.

First, most Suzuki students read extremely well. The reading issue hasn't
been a problem for ages, not since the American adherents stopped
misunderstanding the Japanese cultural application of the method. I can
explain more if you are truly interested.

Second, Suzuki students spend FAR less time on beginning repertoire than
most traditional students. The first book of piano repertoire is folk
songs, and it takes the average 7 year old less than a year to learn, and
the average 3 year old about 2 years. The subsequent repertoire is rapidly
advancing literature, so that the average beginner is playing Sonatinas in 2
or 3 years, Beethoven Sonatas in 4 or 5, and advanced literature by the age
of 10-12.

Traditional students, on the other hand, don't even get to the literature
you call "elementary" until they have gone through a tedious series of
method books. My students outperform others their age (and out-read most of
them once reading is learned, which I do admittedly delay) by the time they
are 7 or 8 years old.

P.S. The European violinist of whom you spoke? One anecdote doesn't make a
fact. There are other factors to consider, like culture and dropout rate,
etc. etc.
Post by gregpresley
I guess neutral people should ask what students of Suzuki can do well and
cannot do well. In general, in my experience, students of Suzuki method
learn to play with good tone and phrasing, which means that they have
learned to listen to themselves - a very important skill for any musician.
However, as a gross generality, (by which I mean there are some exceptions)
Suzuki students are TERRIBLE readers - which places a real limitation on
them as they get into more difficult repertory. I think that in an ideal
world, children would start off at age 4 - 6 with Suzuki, study that method
for no more than 3 years, and then switch to a method with more emphasis on
reading - and perhaps on a more systematic investigation of useful
technique. (Not Hanon, I hasten to add).
The other objection I have is spending too much time on beginner level
repertory. Why memorize a 16 measure piece by Rebikov or Nakada, no matter
how pretty, and spend 6 or 8 months perfecting every nuance, when there are
gazillions pieces of the same length by Bach, Bartok, Haydn,
Khatchaturian,
Kabalevsky, etc? After 3 years of piano study, students should be playing
Bach little preludes or inventions at least, Clementi sonatinas at least,
and other repertory of similar difficulty. It's not that learning to play
carefully and with nuance is not an admirable aim, it's that life is short,
and I would prefer to spend that short life discovering the nuances of the
greatest musical minds of all time, not lesser ones.
As an example of progess happening too slowly, I had a college student
study with me recently, who had been studying piano since 1st grade. (So, 12
years of piano). She struggled with an easy Sonatina by Kabalevsky - a piece
that should have been possible for her by the 2nd or 3rd year of piano
study.
This impression was confirmed recently by a long discussion I had with a
European violinist, who said that she was astounded in attending American
orchestra auditions at the number of auditioners who played with really good
sound and pretty decent technique, but whose sight-reading skills were
abysmal. In questioning them, she discovered that the common denominator was
the Suzuki training they had received. In a recent issue of the MTNA
magazine, a survey discovered that it was skill in reading which was the
best indicator of someone able to make a career as a musician...... a
statistic to ponder as we teach....... or learn.
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-23 02:26:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Betsy
You are wrong on two points.
First, most Suzuki students read extremely well. The reading issue hasn't
been a problem for ages, not since the American adherents stopped
misunderstanding the Japanese cultural application of the method. I can
explain more if you are truly interested.
Second, Suzuki students spend FAR less time on beginning repertoire than
most traditional students. The first book of piano repertoire is folk
songs, and it takes the average 7 year old less than a year to learn, and
the average 3 year old about 2 years. The subsequent repertoire is rapidly
advancing literature, so that the average beginner is playing Sonatinas in 2
or 3 years, Beethoven Sonatas in 4 or 5, and advanced literature by the age
of 10-12.
Traditional students, on the other hand, don't even get to the literature
you call "elementary" until they have gone through a tedious series of
method books. My students outperform others their age (and out-read most of
them once reading is learned, which I do admittedly delay) by the time they
are 7 or 8 years old.
P.S. The European violinist of whom you spoke? One anecdote doesn't make a
fact. There are other factors to consider, like culture and dropout rate,
etc. etc.
I am sorry, Betsy, but you are illustrating exactly what I am talking
about when you write:

"the average beginner is playing Sonatinas in 2 or 3 years, Beethoven
Sonatas in 4 or 5, and advanced literature by the age of 10-12."

That is a very slow rate of progress, and I think it shows that the
requirements of the mastery of piano playing have been lowered so as
to conform with the Suzuki idea that "everyone" can master the piano.
Instead, children can begin with Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, Liszt,
and exercises in double consecutive thirds, right off the bat - if one
is willing to push them.

The goal is mastery of the instrument - Bach, Liszt, scales,
arpeggios, trills, tremolos, passages in consecutive double thirds,
passages in consecutive double sixths, octaves, et c. Technique isn't
the end of the art......but in order to play freely, one's creativity
needs to be entirely non-impededed by execution problems or limits.

And then, it is possible that one might be able to play Mozart's A
Minor Rondo well - a piece that is harder to play, the better the
pianist is who plays it.

Betsy, I think that when you talk about "traditional students", you
must be speaking of American piano students, not their European
counterparts. American students are greatly lacking - I think because
their teachers don't push them.

The question isn't one of Suzuki students vs. American or European
students, though. The question is one of what can be achieved by the
Suzuki method, versus what can be achieved by the best method - and,
there is quite a gap between the them.


Regards,
Michael Sayers
Betsy
2004-10-23 02:31:22 UTC
Permalink
YOU, dear sir, are indeed a fruitcake.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Betsy
You are wrong on two points.
First, most Suzuki students read extremely well. The reading issue hasn't
been a problem for ages, not since the American adherents stopped
misunderstanding the Japanese cultural application of the method. I can
explain more if you are truly interested.
Second, Suzuki students spend FAR less time on beginning repertoire than
most traditional students. The first book of piano repertoire is folk
songs, and it takes the average 7 year old less than a year to learn, and
the average 3 year old about 2 years. The subsequent repertoire is rapidly
advancing literature, so that the average beginner is playing Sonatinas in 2
or 3 years, Beethoven Sonatas in 4 or 5, and advanced literature by the age
of 10-12.
Traditional students, on the other hand, don't even get to the literature
you call "elementary" until they have gone through a tedious series of
method books. My students outperform others their age (and out-read most of
them once reading is learned, which I do admittedly delay) by the time they
are 7 or 8 years old.
P.S. The European violinist of whom you spoke? One anecdote doesn't make a
fact. There are other factors to consider, like culture and dropout rate,
etc. etc.
I am sorry, Betsy, but you are illustrating exactly what I am talking
"the average beginner is playing Sonatinas in 2 or 3 years, Beethoven
Sonatas in 4 or 5, and advanced literature by the age of 10-12."
That is a very slow rate of progress, and I think it shows that the
requirements of the mastery of piano playing have been lowered so as
to conform with the Suzuki idea that "everyone" can master the piano.
Instead, children can begin with Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, Liszt,
and exercises in double consecutive thirds, right off the bat - if one
is willing to push them.
The goal is mastery of the instrument - Bach, Liszt, scales,
arpeggios, trills, tremolos, passages in consecutive double thirds,
passages in consecutive double sixths, octaves, et c. Technique isn't
the end of the art......but in order to play freely, one's creativity
needs to be entirely non-impededed by execution problems or limits.
And then, it is possible that one might be able to play Mozart's A
Minor Rondo well - a piece that is harder to play, the better the
pianist is who plays it.
Betsy, I think that when you talk about "traditional students", you
must be speaking of American piano students, not their European
counterparts. American students are greatly lacking - I think because
their teachers don't push them.
The question isn't one of Suzuki students vs. American or European
students, though. The question is one of what can be achieved by the
Suzuki method, versus what can be achieved by the best method - and,
there is quite a gap between the them.
Regards,
Michael Sayers
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-23 10:55:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Betsy
YOU, dear sir, are indeed a fruitcake.
You are entitled to your opinion - even if it is one that is severely misinformed.


Michael Sayers
Mariana
2004-10-23 11:40:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Betsy
YOU, dear sir, are indeed a fruitcake.
Warmest greetings from Tirana, Albania ! God bless you and may his
peace rest upon you all !

My today's question is: is it good to be "a fruitcake" or is it bad to
be "a fruitcake".

Please explain, elaborate and attach an all American proud set of
directions with a list of ingredients for making or preparing "a
fruitcake".

Faleminderit!,

Mariana
Betsy
2004-10-23 12:07:35 UTC
Permalink
Depends on whether or not it makes you happy :)
Post by Mariana
Post by Betsy
YOU, dear sir, are indeed a fruitcake.
Warmest greetings from Tirana, Albania ! God bless you and may his
peace rest upon you all !
My today's question is: is it good to be "a fruitcake" or is it bad to
be "a fruitcake".
Please explain, elaborate and attach an all American proud set of
directions with a list of ingredients for making or preparing "a
fruitcake".
Faleminderit!,
Mariana
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-23 17:49:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mariana
Post by Betsy
YOU, dear sir, are indeed a fruitcake.
Warmest greetings from Tirana, Albania ! God bless you and may his
peace rest upon you all !
My today's question is: is it good to be "a fruitcake" or is it bad to
be "a fruitcake".
Please explain, elaborate and attach an all American proud set of
directions with a list of ingredients for making or preparing "a
fruitcake".
Faleminderit!,
Mariana
I prefer to think of myself as being similar to a very fine, home made
chicken truffle pate.


Michael Sayers
http://profiles.yahoo.com/mjs112358
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-24 03:26:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
"the average beginner is playing Sonatinas in 2 or 3 years, Beethoven
Sonatas in 4 or 5, and advanced literature by the age of 10-12."
Point of reference - the Beethoven Sonatas that I think she means
are the easier ones. Obviously others qualify as advanced literature.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
That is a very slow rate of progress, and I think it shows that the
requirements of the mastery of piano playing have been lowered so as
to conform with the Suzuki idea that "everyone" can master the piano.
Instead, children can begin with Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, Liszt,
and exercises in double consecutive thirds, right off the bat - if one
is willing to push them.
Come on. You can't really expect to START children with the
Well Tempered Clavier. (except perhaps the C major prelude at some point)

They should certainly play the Inventions before WTC,
and other repetoire such as the Little Preludes and the
Anna Magdalena notebook before that. That happens to
be an order consistent with Suzuki's, but itsn fair enough to
suggest teachers should require more Bach than the Suzuki books do.
I would. Teachers supplement.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The goal is mastery of the instrument - Bach, Liszt, scales,
arpeggios, trills, tremolos, passages in consecutive double thirds,
passages in consecutive double sixths, octaves, et c. Technique isn't
the end of the art......but in order to play freely, one's creativity
needs to be entirely non-impededed by execution problems or limits.
Of course students need to study Bach, play scales, arps,
and often need specialized exercises to develop technique.
Good Suzuki teachers demand all these things.
They tend to prefer some kind of musical etude to
mindless exercises, but some drill is part of improving.
That is one reason they review the previous pieces so much.
They use them as etudes to develop technique needed to
progress.

What is the Listz method?

What is the Joachim method?
gregpresley
2004-10-23 06:53:13 UTC
Permalink
"Betsy" <***@spam.c-0> wrote in > Traditional students, on the other
hand, don't even get to the literature
Post by Betsy
you call "elementary" until they have gone through a tedious series of
method books.
Method books (by which I assume you mean Bastien, Alfred, Thompson, or any
other of a myriad of selections) are no more "traditional" than Suzuki,
except as vehicles for what could be called the "neighborhood piano
teacher". They are a "crutch" for teachers who are either insecure about
their own training, lack knowledge of suitably interesting repertory, or who
know ( or assume they know) the limitations of the pianistic aspirations of
their students and are content to leave them playing pap for a decade. With
college age beginners, I might use a method book for 3-4 weeks, at which
point they would have finished it, having been exposed to the basics of 5
finger positions, reading notes on a clef, learned about key signatures and
time signatures, figured out the differences between notes of different
length, been exposed to the words and meaning of legato and staccato, slur
marks, ties, etc. After that, they move immediately to some real pieces.
Judging by your description of what happens in your studio, I probably
should not have made a blanket statement - except that in my town, the
teachers who advertise themselves as Suzuki piano teachers, and who have
completed whatever certifications are necessary for that, do NOT produce
good readers. I know this because I inherit some of those students at an
older ages (not able to read fluently), and since I also do a lot of
concerto accompaniments in my town, I have found some students of these
teachers unable to make corrections from the score - which tells me that
once they memorize the music they do not look at the score again. So I
would guess that it is not so much the method as the teacher using it which
promotes reading as an important and necessary skill.
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-24 03:39:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by gregpresley
Judging by your description of what happens in your studio, I probably
should not have made a blanket statement - except that in my town, the
teachers who advertise themselves as Suzuki piano teachers, and who have
completed whatever certifications are necessary for that, do NOT produce
good readers. I know this because I inherit some of those students at an
older ages (not able to read fluently) ...
So I would guess that it is not so much the method as the teacher
using it which promotes reading as an important and necessary skill.
Absolutely. The Suzuki training is a good basis for learning how
to teach children, but it alone does not make you a good teacher.
There are bad teachers, good teachers, and great teachers, both
with and without Suzuki certification. A great teacher makes
a huge difference. A bad teacher does damage. The best ones
I've known have degrees from prestigous conservatories,
and years of experience, in addition to their Suzuki background.
Many of them use the Suzuki material for the youngest students,
and expand more and more as the children mature into other material.
Teachers like that teach children to read.

P.S. I have seen some teachers hold students onto elementary
material far too long as you suggested in another post.
Polishing to the point of not pushing the child to the next level.
I've noticed the teachers who tend to consistently produce
advanced students tend to move them faster, but still demand
polishing earlier material.
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-20 11:48:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
No thanks. The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
And you have what vast experience with the Suzuki method to make this claim?
Suzuki method student?
teacher?
parent?
education researcher?
Or did you just read about it, and observe someone play and make
decide this?
You won't need to know who I am, in order to read my posts.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Suzuki's ideas are mostly about how to motivate and effectively
teach children to develop complex skills. Like anything, there are people
that incorporate his ideas well into his teaching (where they work well) and
others who do so less successfully. But the ideas are very sound.
If you are criticizing some technical aspect such as bow hold, vibrato
or something else then you are completely missing the point.
His approach is about how to help children reach full potential,
and it works.
What is the Liszt method anyway? And the Joachim method?
Are they a set of concepts for teaching children music or are
they something else? Are they even comparable?
In order for you and I to discuss the shortcomings of the Suzuki
method, and to avoid any miscommunication, we are going to have to get
down to specifics, and you are going to have to disclose the specific
things of which, in your understanding, the Suzuki method consists.

The Liszt and Joachim methods, have nothing to do with the Suzuki
method. Since the subject of the thread is the Suzuki method - and
not the Liszt or Joachim method - lets start off by you giving me a
reply to this question:

Of what specific components, as they are understood by you, does the
Suzuki method consist?
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-20 13:15:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
you have what vast experience with the Suzuki method to make this claim?
You won't need to know who I am, in order to read my posts.
You casually dismissed the Suzuki method without
presenting any evidence to back your claim. So asking about
what experience you have with the Suzuki method is relevant
to how to evaluate your claim that these others are "far superior"

For fairness, here is my background with the Suzuki method.
I have almost 10 years experience as an involved Suzuki parent,
having attended _many_ lessons, group lessons, workshops,
concerts, rehearsals, summer institutes, lectures on the subject,
and having observed many very good teachers working up close.
I also know and respect many excellent "traditional" non-Suzuki
teachers.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The Liszt and Joachim methods, have nothing to do with the Suzuki
method. Since the subject of the thread is the Suzuki method - and
not the Liszt or Joachim method -
Wait a minute. You claimed that the Liszt or Joachim methods
were _far_ superior. What the heck are they? That's definitely relevant.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Of what specific components, as they are understood by you, does the
Suzuki method consist?
Here is a modified version of a previous post of mine that
might partially answer your question. For a better description, read
some of the cited books by Shinichi Suzuki. Note that many
of the best traditional teachers do some of these things too.

-------------------

Dr. Suzuki's methods are especially effective with children

I highly recommend reading the following two books by Dr. Suzuki.
They are relatively short inexpensive paperbacks, but fascinating and
instructive.
Nurtured By Love -
Ability From Age Zero -

Here are some important aspects of the Suzuki program:

- listen daily and frequently to the recordings of the pieces you are
studying,
both passive (low volume background) listening and active (focused)
listening.
The more you hear your pieces the faster you can internalize them.

- Try to inspire children to practice through love rather than guilt or
scolding.
Suzuki was a master of this, and the association provides much
support to teachers to learn how to do this well in practice.

- learn pieces really well, dont rush through them casually.

- Memorize many of them - Suzuki children typically memorize all.
The idea is to develop your musicality, and technical skills as much as
possible
on each piece, rather than learn and forget lots of repetoire.

- Carefully select repetoire so that you can learn new technical skills
from each piece. The Suzuki books include wonderful classical pieces.

- Review previous repetoire frequently trying to bring the
pieces to a new level when you return to them. Use them in
preference to mechanical drills and exercises (especially in early years)

- Believe that everyone can develop amazing talent through proper training,
getting a little better each day.

- Start at an early age (listen in the crib, play at 3 or 4)

- Attend group lessons to learn from more advanced students and make
learning fun
This is important part of the approach. Suzuki teachers usually have
many ways to make the group classes motivational for the children.
Children love to play with others. This makes learning music
more of a social activity than a solitary one, among other things.

- The frequent group lessons also get children used to performing
with and for others, so performance anxiety is not such a problem.

- Similarly, attend many of the camps, institutes, workshops to
study with excellent clinicians. One of the most pleasant things I've
seen is when children from different countries play together, even
when they don't speak the same language - they know the same pieces.

- When the children are young, the parent is very involved as coach,
note-taker, audience, game playing partner etc. As the children advance
in maturity and skill, the parent takes a smaller role, and
the method becomes more traditional (technical exercises etc)

Important things that Suzuki's program has in common with traditional
methods:

- Practice daily
- Find the best teacher you can
- Try to make practicing/playing fun
- Perform for others often, even if just simple pieces
(better to perform a simple piece really well than the opposite)
- Try to foster a love of music
- Focus on tone
- Focus on careful listening

- Defer learning to read music until comfortable listening and playing
your instrument (This approach is designed especially for the youngest
children, who may be starting to play before they even read English)

Note that this does NOT mean don't learn to read, just that you should get
comfortable with making music on your instrument before introducing reading,
just as you learned to understand and speak your mother tongue before
learning to read/write.

I highly recommend the Suzuki approach for children, especially those
learning
instruments often played in groups, such as violin, viola, cello, or flute.
Piano may be a special case, though many of the same concepts apply.
There is now a Suzuki classical guitar program.

http://www.suzukiassociation.org/
Cy Shuster
2004-10-20 15:14:26 UTC
Permalink
Get ready for a wild ride, Alex; you have no idea with whom you are about to
contend. "Abandon all logic, ye who enter here..."
Mizz Marcia Ryder
2004-10-21 01:16:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cy Shuster
Get ready for a wild ride, Alex; you have no idea with whom you are about
to contend. "Abandon all logic, ye who enter here..."
Yes. And my fav threads are when with the introduction of aliases,
he begins to argue with himself. Classic.

Marsha
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-20 21:35:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
you have what vast experience with the Suzuki method to make this claim?
You won't need to know who I am, in order to read my posts.
You casually dismissed the Suzuki method without
presenting any evidence to back your claim. So asking about
what experience you have with the Suzuki method is relevant
to how to evaluate your claim that these others are "far superior"
I also casually dimiss Brittany Spears - but I don't have to present
any evidence to do so.

As you shall see, my experience with the Suzuki method, or the lack of
experience thereof, is not relevant to exposing it's shortcomings.
Post by Alex Blakemore
For fairness, here is my background with the Suzuki method.
I have almost 10 years experience as an involved Suzuki parent,
having attended _many_ lessons, group lessons, workshops,
concerts, rehearsals, summer institutes, lectures on the subject,
and having observed many very good teachers working up close.
I also know and respect many excellent "traditional" non-Suzuki
teachers.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The Liszt and Joachim methods, have nothing to do with the Suzuki
method. Since the subject of the thread is the Suzuki method - and
not the Liszt or Joachim method -
Wait a minute. You claimed that the Liszt or Joachim methods
were _far_ superior. What the heck are they? That's definitely relevant.
I am discussing only the Suzuki method right now, because the Suzuki
method is the subject of the 1st post in this thread. After I have
exposed the shortcomings of the Suzuki method to my satisfaction, then
we can consider the results obtained by other methods.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Of what specific components, as they are understood by you, does the
Suzuki method consist?
Here is a modified version of a previous post of mine that
might partially answer your question. For a better description, read
some of the cited books by Shinichi Suzuki. Note that many
of the best traditional teachers do some of these things too.
-------------------
Dr. Suzuki's methods are especially effective with children
I highly recommend reading the following two books by Dr. Suzuki.
They are relatively short inexpensive paperbacks, but fascinating and
instructive.
Nurtured By Love -
Ability From Age Zero -
- listen daily and frequently to the recordings of the pieces you are
studying,
both passive (low volume background) listening and active (focused)
listening.
The more you hear your pieces the faster you can internalize them.
Already, in those sentences just above, there is a major, major
defect.

The 19th century musicians got along just fine, without the help of
recordings. Listening to recordings is one of the things that has
homogenized and weakened playing styles since their time.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Try to inspire children to practice through love rather than guilt or
scolding.
Suzuki was a master of this, and the association provides much
support to teachers to learn how to do this well in practice.
That seems fine to me.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- learn pieces really well, dont rush through them casually.
That is also good......
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Memorize many of them - Suzuki children typically memorize all.
The idea is to develop your musicality, and technical skills as much as
possible
on each piece, rather than learn and forget lots of repetoire.
Memorization of the musical content is important.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Carefully select repetoire so that you can learn new technical skills
from each piece. The Suzuki books include wonderful classical pieces.
Bach is the foundation of piano technique - but not many pianists ever
memorize all of the preludes and fugues in Book One of the Well
Tempered Clavier.

Mastering Bach first, makes Liszt and Chopin a lot more unimpeded
later on. It is important not to put the cart before the horse. It
is iportant to build a technique and power of execution that will
last.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Review previous repetoire frequently trying to bring the
pieces to a new level when you return to them. Use them in
preference to mechanical drills and exercises (especially in early years)
This is not correct. Early drilling is necessary to build a technique
that will last. Mechanical mastery of an insrument is not the end
objective, but it is necessary in order to achieve the end objective.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Believe that everyone can develop amazing talent through proper training,
getting a little better each day.
This isn't true. Most persons do not have an amazing musical talent
to develop. But early specialization in music, and daily effort can
make the most out of what talent a person does have.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Start at an early age (listen in the crib, play at 3 or 4)
Some concert pianists have started at two years old. Ervin
Nyiregyhazi was already was playing simple pieces on the piano when he
was 1 1/2 years old.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Attend group lessons to learn from more advanced students and make
learning fun
This is important part of the approach. Suzuki teachers usually have
many ways to make the group classes motivational for the children.
Children love to play with others. This makes learning music
more of a social activity than a solitary one, among other things.
This is definitely not right. Musical creativity requires the
capacity for independent thought, and an inner sense of confidence (if
not outright superiority) - this is best developed through
introspection and isolation.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- The frequent group lessons also get children used to performing
with and for others, so performance anxiety is not such a problem.
Group lessons aren't very efficient, and can have a homogenizing
effect on the playing style of the students. But student recitals are
good to get musicians accustomed to being before an audience.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Similarly, attend many of the camps, institutes, workshops to
study with excellent clinicians. One of the most pleasant things I've
seen is when children from different countries play together, even
when they don't speak the same language - they know the same pieces.
These things can be charming, but there should be differentiation in
repertoire between students (as each one will have stylistic
tendencies that will benefit from being enlarged by different pieces).
For the pianist, Bach and Liszt are pretty much essential to building
a big technique, and to developing a personal style of playing.
Choices in relation to other composers' music should probably be left
to the personal inclination of the piano student.....and they might
distract or deflect early on from technical accomplishment and
developing a personal style.
Post by Alex Blakemore
- When the children are young, the parent is very involved as coach,
note-taker, audience, game playing partner etc. As the children advance
in maturity and skill, the parent takes a smaller role, and
the method becomes more traditional (technical exercises etc)
The parent should (in my view) be supportive of the kid who pursues
music. This support should not include stopping him from building a
technique that will hold up - there is no reason to handicap an adult
musician, by having deliberately prevented early technical development
when he was a child.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Important things that Suzuki's program has in common with traditional
- Practice daily
- Find the best teacher you can
- Try to make practicing/playing fun
- Perform for others often, even if just simple pieces
(better to perform a simple piece really well than the opposite)
- Try to foster a love of music
- Focus on tone
- Focus on careful listening
As long as one isn't listening to recordings.....
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Defer learning to read music until comfortable listening and playing
your instrument (This approach is designed especially for the youngest
children, who may be starting to play before they even read English)
It makes no more sense to discourage a kid from learning to read
music, than it would to discourage a kid from learning read printed
words. Doing those things creates impedences and ignorance.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Note that this does NOT mean don't learn to read, just that you should get
comfortable with making music on your instrument before introducing reading,
just as you learned to understand and speak your mother tongue before
learning to read/write.
Because of how the bain works, some (if not most) people will learn to
speak a language faster and better, if they learn to read and write
that language at the same time. And, what they learn will be more
durably embedded.

The same goes for learning how to play a musical instrument.

Mastery of the symbols is important, since they are our main reference
to musical knowledge and accomplishment in prior centuries.

For the practical musician, being able to read music is extremely
important, and it is essential that one be able to see (for example) a
double note passage on a score, and know immediately what all the
notes are, and be able to immediately know what the fingering will be.
The quality of early experiences in reading music, and in working on
technique, make a big difference in the level to which the ability to
read music will eventually develop.


Michael Sayers
http://profiles.yahoo.com/mjs112358
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-21 05:19:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
You claimed that the Liszt or Joachim methods
were _far_ superior. What the heck are they? That's definitely relevant.
I am discussing only the Suzuki method right now, because the Suzuki
method is the subject of the 1st post in this thread. After I have
exposed the shortcomings of the Suzuki method to my satisfaction, then
we can consider the results obtained by other methods.
I posted a detailed description of aspects of the Suzuki "philosophy"
(good choice of words Marcia) If these other methods are
"far superior" as you claim, please enlighten us. Post some info
about what they are. Or at least a reference to look up.
No doubt Liszt and Joachim were legendary performers, but invoking
their names doesn't, by itself, advance the state of pedagogy.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The 19th century musicians got along just fine, without the help of
recordings.
Of course the idea is not to just listen to recordings but to immerse
the children in music from the beginning, and to expose them early
and often to the very highest quality of performance as possible.
Sure as much live music as possible is great, but with electronics
we have opportunities to expose our children to great performances
that they could never hear live. Why on earth would you avoid that?
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Listening to recordings is one of the things that has
homogenized and weakened playing styles since their time.
Seems like a pretty weak claim, again without evidence, but
for the sake of argument, I'll let it pass. OK, one reason you
claim these as-yet-undescribed methods are far superior is that
they don't encourage listening to recordings. Considering Listz
died before he could record, I'll believe he didn't push that.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Bach is the foundation of piano technique - but not many pianists ever
memorize all of the preludes and fugues in Book One of the Well
Tempered Clavier.
I never said anyone needs to memorize all of WTC I.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Mastering Bach first, makes Liszt and Chopin a lot more unimpeded
later on. It is important not to put the cart before the horse. It
is iportant to build a technique and power of execution that will
last.
Absolutely, the Suzuki repetoire is carefully chosen to build
skills at each level that are needed for the next.
I'm more familiar with the violin books, so as an example,
the earlier books have MANY Bach pieces, Vivaldi pieces,
then many Handel sonatas, finally 2 Mozart concerti.
Bach comes first.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Review previous repetoire frequently trying to bring the
pieces to a new level when you return to them. Use them in
preference to mechanical drills and exercises (especially in early years)
This is not correct. Early drilling is necessary to build a technique
that will last. Mechanical mastery of an insrument is not the end
objective, but it is necessary in order to achieve the end objective.
What Suzuki taught us was a way to give children a great musical
beginning. As students mature, good teachers incorporate most
of the traditional exercises and drills. I can't speak for everyone, but
what I've seen often is this:
- many students, especially young ones, are driven away by mindless
drills and exercises. Hanon comes to mind.
- sometimes exercises are necessary to learn technique,
scales and arps come to mind. start pretty early.
- Suzuki's solution. Use repetoire that develops necessary skills.
Invent exercises from repetoire passages if and when needed.
- students that advance beyond intermediate level, start to
get assigned more and more of the normal exercises as needed,
but at this point they are musical enough to understand the reason,
and committed enough to go through it.

I've heard similar ideas expressed here.
Suzuki teachers are not the only ones that dislike Hanon.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Believe that everyone can develop amazing talent through proper training,
getting a little better each day.
This isn't true. Most persons do not have an amazing musical talent
to develop. But early specialization in music, and daily effort can
make the most out of what talent a person does have.
This is one area where Dr. Suzuki would disagree strongly with you.
I don't expect to convince you. But he was convinced that everyone
has the potential to play at a very sophisticated level if only
they were properly taught and worked hard
(that doesn't mean there are no differences among us of course).
That belief permeates the whole philosophy.
His standard example was that every child learns his native tongue well,
although foreign adults have to struggle to learn it. He advocated
teaching children music the same way we teach them language, through
early immersion with lots of support.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Attend group lessons to learn from more advanced students and make
learning fun
This is important part of the approach. Suzuki teachers usually have
many ways to make the group classes motivational for the children.
Children love to play with others. This makes learning music
more of a social activity than a solitary one, among other things.
This is definitely not right. Musical creativity requires the
capacity for independent thought, and an inner sense of confidence (if
not outright superiority) - this is best developed through
introspection and isolation.
Suzuki said he expected at least 2 hours a day of practice.
I know some students that practice 3 or 4 hours a day.
(Certainly many have to get by with less)
They are getting plenty of time alone with their instrument.
The group lessons develop their ears, motivate them by seeing others
excel, and give them practice playing with others.
Suzuki students are usually excellent ensemble musicians.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Group lessons aren't very efficient,.
The group lessons are very efficient for what they are designed for
(motivation, ensemble training, performance practice ...)
They certainly do not replace regular individual instruction.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
and can have a homogenizing effect on the playing style of the students
OK, you finally have a criticism that sounds reasonable.
I could give this to you if the teachers were not aware of it.
The group lessons I am familiar turned this around, and would
conciously work on different ways of playing the same piece
at different times. And discuss with the class phrasing, articulation,
and other performance choices. And the students contribute to the choices.
Over time they learn to experiment and they hear many different approaches.
I suppose you could teach otherwise.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Choices in relation to other composers' music should probably be left
to the personal inclination of the piano student.....and they might
distract or deflect early on from technical accomplishment and
developing a personal style.
Most Suzuki teachers augment with other music as well, especially
once the children progress past the first few books. Of course,
a good teacher helps pick repetoire with the student.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The parent should (in my view) be supportive of the kid who pursues
music.
Great. We agree on this.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
This support should not include stopping him from building a
technique that will hold up - there is no reason to handicap an adult
musician, by having deliberately prevented early technical development
when he was a child.
What the heck are you talking about?
No one advocates handicapping a child by preventing technical development.
The Suzuki teachers I know are (mostly) conservatory trained, and
very, very focused on their students technical development, from the
beginning.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
It makes no more sense to discourage a kid from learning to read
music, than it would to discourage a kid from learning read printed
words. Doing those things creates impedences and ignorance.
Argh. No one discourages reading music. They teach children to read music.
Its just with the youngest ones, they introduce reading after the students
have learned to play the instrument a bit. With the violin, this is critical
because
it is very hard to obtain a good tone, and takes a long time just to learn
decent posture. If you throw a music stand at them from the very start,
it can be overwhelming. If you develop bad technique early, its very hard
to repair (but possible) With piano, deferring reading may not be as
big a win. I don't have experience with this to say.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Because of how the bain works, some (if not most) people will learn to
speak a language faster and better, if they learn to read and write
that language at the same time. And, what they learn will be more
durably embedded.
The same goes for learning how to play a musical instrument.
Mastery of the symbols is important, since they are our main reference
to musical knowledge and accomplishment in prior centuries.
For the practical musician, being able to read music is extremely
important, and it is essential that one be able to see (for example) a
double note passage on a score, and know immediately what all the
notes are, and be able to immediately know what the fingering will be.
The quality of early experiences in reading music, and in working on
technique, make a big difference in the level to which the ability to
read music will eventually develop.
OK, this is your best criticism yet. I'll grant some people learn
to read music easily. My daughter did. But I've seen many kids
let their posture fall apart as soon as a music stand goes up
in front of them. With a violin, when the posture goes, everything
else falls apart too. So they just try to develop good technique first,
then add the reading. Also get a good start on using the ear first.
They don't defer teaching reading long.

I will grant that I've seen some Suzuki students who don't read
well, but I've seen many that read very well. Good teachers
make sure their students learn to read. Usually that involves
adding rhythm and reading exercise books as they progress.

Now, can you tell me what the Listz and Joachim methods are?
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-21 16:59:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
You claimed that the Liszt or Joachim methods
were _far_ superior. What the heck are they? That's definitely relevant.
I am discussing only the Suzuki method right now, because the Suzuki
method is the subject of the 1st post in this thread. After I have
exposed the shortcomings of the Suzuki method to my satisfaction, then
we can consider the results obtained by other methods.
I posted a detailed description of aspects of the Suzuki "philosophy"
(good choice of words Marcia) If these other methods are
"far superior" as you claim, please enlighten us. Post some info
about what they are. Or at least a reference to look up.
No doubt Liszt and Joachim were legendary performers, but invoking
their names doesn't, by itself, advance the state of pedagogy.
I am in the process of seeing if it is possible for you to think
critically about the Suzuki method. Before discussing what is good
about the Liszt and Joachim methods, we need to discard the Suzuki
rubbish.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The 19th century musicians got along just fine, without the help of
recordings.
Of course the idea is not to just listen to recordings but to immerse
the children in music from the beginning, and to expose them early
and often to the very highest quality of performance as possible.
Sure as much live music as possible is great, but with electronics
we have opportunities to expose our children to great performances
that they could never hear live. Why on earth would you avoid that?
I wasn't advocating the experience of live music, as an alternative to
the experience of recorded music: I was simply questioning if there is
merit in child musicians listening to recordings. That time might be
better spent by a child in practicing music, or in learning Latin and
Greek.

I am not sure what you mean by "great performances". If you will make
me a list of all the "great performances" that have been recorded,
then we'll have more to discuss.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Listening to recordings is one of the things that has
homogenized and weakened playing styles since their time.
Seems like a pretty weak claim, again without evidence, but
for the sake of argument, I'll let it pass. OK, one reason you
claim these as-yet-undescribed methods are far superior is that
they don't encourage listening to recordings. Considering Listz
died before he could record, I'll believe he didn't push that.
The evidence for the homogenization consists of: recordings, piano
rolls, and period documentation.

One may speculate on the cause. Listening to the products of such a
severely homogenized musical society as our own, might be a
homogenization factor.

Liszt didn't die before he could record. He recorded one cylinder,
which is stored in the Library of Congress.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Bach is the foundation of piano technique - but not many pianists ever
memorize all of the preludes and fugues in Book One of the Well
Tempered Clavier.
I never said anyone needs to memorize all of WTC I.
Not everyone needs to memorize all of WTCI. But those persons who
don't need to, probably don't need to try to become great pianists.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Mastering Bach first, makes Liszt and Chopin a lot more unimpeded
later on. It is important not to put the cart before the horse. It
is iportant to build a technique and power of execution that will
last.
Absolutely, the Suzuki repetoire is carefully chosen to build
skills at each level that are needed for the next.
I'm more familiar with the violin books, so as an example,
the earlier books have MANY Bach pieces, Vivaldi pieces,
then many Handel sonatas, finally 2 Mozart concerti.
Bach comes first.
In the piano repertoire, Bach is the foundation of technique, and
Liszt is the summit. Developing those as a child, allows for the
evolvement of a personal style, and the ability to be highly
discriminatory later on about the rest of the piano repertoire in
terms of if one really has anything new to impart by practicing or
performing Mozart, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven or what not. Early work
on Bach and Liszt, also results in a highly solid and elastic
technique down the road.

There is no need for a Suzuki Bach book, as all of Bach's keyboard
music is still in print and readily accessible. Some of Liszt's
pieces are only readily available in the complete works edition, so a
Suzuki Liszt anthology might be useful.

The impression I get in regard to the Suzuki violin books, is that
they offer a little bit of everything. The violin has its own
spectrum of technique, just as does the piano. Neither extreme is
harder than the other - but working on the two extremes, develops
everything much quicker, to a greater extent, and more permanently,
than does wallowing in the middleground.

For the piano, the extremes are represented by Bach and Liszt. For
the violin, they are represented by Bach and Paganini. The list of
violin repertoire for children that you gave doesn't even mention
Paganini, and seem to be mostly middleground compositions - not solely
Bach and Paganini, + technical exercises.

There is lots and lots and lots of repertoire. It is important to
concentrate on the fundamentals and necessities first.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Review previous repetoire frequently trying to bring the
pieces to a new level when you return to them. Use them in
preference to mechanical drills and exercises (especially in early
years)
Post by Bernhard Steiner
This is not correct. Early drilling is necessary to build a technique
that will last. Mechanical mastery of an insrument is not the end
objective, but it is necessary in order to achieve the end objective.
What Suzuki taught us was a way to give children a great musical
beginning. As students mature, good teachers incorporate most
of the traditional exercises and drills. I can't speak for everyone, but
- many students, especially young ones, are driven away by mindless
drills and exercises. Hanon comes to mind.
- sometimes exercises are necessary to learn technique,
scales and arps come to mind. start pretty early.
- Suzuki's solution. Use repetoire that develops necessary skills.
Invent exercises from repetoire passages if and when needed.
- students that advance beyond intermediate level, start to
get assigned more and more of the normal exercises as needed,
but at this point they are musical enough to understand the reason,
and committed enough to go through it.
You need to decide if it is better to:

a) train 1000 children to be concert musicians, and have 1 succeed
while 999 give up, or

b) train 1000 children to be able to noodle at (eventually) a
medium-upper medium technical level on the piano, and have 1000
noodlers as a result.

Hanon and Pischna, would probably drive anyone away from the piano.
The Chopin and Liszt etudes, were written by great pianists, and offer
a lot more.

But Bach is still the foundation, with technical drilling on the
side.....the Liszt and Chopin etudes, and Czerny's exercises, should
come later.

Little kids can practice things like scales in double thirds and
double sixths.....and doing so at an early age, every day, will make
the difference years later as to if Liszt's Feux Follets is another
stepping stone, or an impassable stumbling block. And, it will allow
someone to hold on to his technique longer.

An intelligent and capable teacher, will compose all of these early
drilling exercises and studies for each student specifically.

Otherwise, at the start there can be intelligent selection from the
Liszt technical exercises.
Post by Alex Blakemore
I've heard similar ideas expressed here.
Suzuki teachers are not the only ones that dislike Hanon.
My paper shredder likes Hanon, and especially Pischna :-)
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Believe that everyone can develop amazing talent through proper
training,
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
getting a little better each day.
This isn't true. Most persons do not have an amazing musical talent
to develop. But early specialization in music, and daily effort can
make the most out of what talent a person does have.
This is one area where Dr. Suzuki would disagree strongly with you.
I don't expect to convince you. But he was convinced that everyone
has the potential to play at a very sophisticated level if only
they were properly taught and worked hard
(that doesn't mean there are no differences among us of course).
That belief permeates the whole philosophy.
His standard example was that every child learns his native tongue well,
although foreign adults have to struggle to learn it. He advocated
teaching children music the same way we teach them language, through
early immersion with lots of support.
Being able to play at a sophisticated level, is different than having
an amazing talent: the two don't always join hands in the same person,
and the latter is a rarity.

Teaching everyone the technicalities of reading and writing, has the
potential to turn out a few great writers or orators in each
generation. Teaching everyone the technicalities of playing the
piano, has the potential to turn out a few great pianists in each
generation. There are times, of course, when greatness is seen in
comparative abundance, and other times when it is obliquely lacking.

Hard work takes care of the technicalities: nature alone decides who
has the greatness, and who doesn't - and it seems that very few have
the greatness.

Hard work is greatly lessened in effect, without the most effective
application. On the piano side of things, effective application seems
to be extremely lacking where the Suzuki method is concerned. The
violin side, seems also to emphasize meandering and erraticism,
instead of trying to lay a granitic foundation for what is to come
later.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
- Attend group lessons to learn from more advanced students and make
learning fun
This is important part of the approach. Suzuki teachers usually have
many ways to make the group classes motivational for the children.
Children love to play with others. This makes learning music
more of a social activity than a solitary one, among other things.
This is definitely not right. Musical creativity requires the
capacity for independent thought, and an inner sense of confidence (if
not outright superiority) - this is best developed through
introspection and isolation.
Suzuki said he expected at least 2 hours a day of practice.
I know some students that practice 3 or 4 hours a day.
(Certainly many have to get by with less)
They are getting plenty of time alone with their instrument.
The group lessons develop their ears, motivate them by seeing others
excel, and give them practice playing with others.
Suzuki students are usually excellent ensemble musicians.
There is a difference between being able to play chamber music
semi-passably, and being able to scale the heights of what is possible
with one's instrument in a solo appearance.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Group lessons aren't very efficient,.
The group lessons are very efficient for what they are designed for
(motivation, ensemble training, performance practice ...)
They certainly do not replace regular individual instruction.
Groups lessons aren't efficient, because what they are designed for is
not an efficient use of the time for training concert level musicians.

Imparting ideas on performance practice is a very bad idea, because it
will have a homogenizing effect on how the students play.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
and can have a homogenizing effect on the playing style of the students
OK, you finally have a criticism that sounds reasonable.
I could give this to you if the teachers were not aware of it.
The group lessons I am familiar turned this around, and would
conciously work on different ways of playing the same piece
at different times. And discuss with the class phrasing, articulation,
and other performance choices. And the students contribute to the choices.
Over time they learn to experiment and they hear many different approaches.
I suppose you could teach otherwise.
All of these "choices", are still constricted within the notions of
performance practice imparted by the teacher. Therefore, the idea
that the students have choices, and the musical freedom to play
however they like, is illusory.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Choices in relation to other composers' music should probably be left
to the personal inclination of the piano student.....and they might
distract or deflect early on from technical accomplishment and
developing a personal style.
Most Suzuki teachers augment with other music as well, especially
once the children progress past the first few books. Of course,
a good teacher helps pick repetoire with the student.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
The parent should (in my view) be supportive of the kid who pursues
music.
Great. We agree on this.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
This support should not include stopping him from building a
technique that will hold up - there is no reason to handicap an adult
musician, by having deliberately prevented early technical development
when he was a child.
What the heck are you talking about?
No one advocates handicapping a child by preventing technical development.
The Suzuki teachers I know are (mostly) conservatory trained, and
very, very focused on their students technical development, from the
beginning.
I have yet to hear a modern-day conservatory trained pianist with a
technique like that of Josef Hofmann, Ignaz Friedmann, d'Albert, Simon
Barere, Horowitz or Busoni.

I doubt any modern-day conservatory trained pianist can play in there
30s, like Horowitz and Hofmann could in their 70s.

All that the conservatory trained pianist qualification means, is that
these Suzuki piano teachers will play the way their professors want,
and that they have some ability to achieve accurate notes and accurate
rhythms......but there is a lot more to piano technique than merely
that side of it which allows for accurate notes and accurate rhythms.

I can believe that to be trained by such a pianist would definitely be
a source of handicap. It would be better to just buy Georgy Sandor's
book, and a stack of piano scores, and do everything 100% on one's
own.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
It makes no more sense to discourage a kid from learning to read
music, than it would to discourage a kid from learning read printed
words. Doing those things creates impedences and ignorance.
Argh. No one discourages reading music. They teach children to read music.
Its just with the youngest ones, they introduce reading after the students
have learned to play the instrument a bit. With the violin, this is critical
because
it is very hard to obtain a good tone, and takes a long time just to learn
decent posture. If you throw a music stand at them from the very start,
it can be overwhelming. If you develop bad technique early, its very hard
to repair (but possible) With piano, deferring reading may not be as
big a win. I don't have experience with this to say.
To my knowledge, there aren't any living violinists with a great tone
- so, either I obviously don't know who these great violinists are
with the great tone that the Suzuki method turns out, or else there
aren't any such violinists being turned out by the Suzuki method.

I know of a few living pianists with at least a good tone - but none
of them were involved with the Suzuki method.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Because of how the bain works, some (if not most) people will learn to
speak a language faster and better, if they learn to read and write
that language at the same time. And, what they learn will be more
durably embedded.
The same goes for learning how to play a musical instrument.
Mastery of the symbols is important, since they are our main reference
to musical knowledge and accomplishment in prior centuries.
For the practical musician, being able to read music is extremely
important, and it is essential that one be able to see (for example) a
double note passage on a score, and know immediately what all the
notes are, and be able to immediately know what the fingering will be.
The quality of early experiences in reading music, and in working on
technique, make a big difference in the level to which the ability to
read music will eventually develop.
OK, this is your best criticism yet. I'll grant some people learn
to read music easily. My daughter did. But I've seen many kids
let their posture fall apart as soon as a music stand goes up
in front of them. With a violin, when the posture goes, everything
else falls apart too. So they just try to develop good technique first,
then add the reading. Also get a good start on using the ear first.
They don't defer teaching reading long.
Posture is a matter of discipline - nothing more.
Post by Alex Blakemore
I will grant that I've seen some Suzuki students who don't read
well, but I've seen many that read very well. Good teachers
make sure their students learn to read. Usually that involves
adding rhythm and reading exercise books as they progress.
The only pianists I have known, who can read anything at sight (even
when I've tested them with parts of the C Major Busoni concerto),
didn't fool around with the Suzuki method.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Now, can you tell me what the Listz and Joachim methods are?
Not just yet :-)
don adams
2004-10-21 17:20:09 UTC
Permalink
X-No-Archive: Yes
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
Now, can you tell me what the Listz and Joachim methods are?
Not just yet :-)
Unbelievable. That last statement, the one with the cutesy little
smiley-face, renders your entire diatribe meaningless. The point of the
other poster's query was to ask you, since you dimissed the Suzuki
method out hand, how the Liszt and Joachim methods were superior.
You clearly have no ability whatever to answer this, yet you burden us
with 400 lines of opinionated trash.

You really -are- a nitwit, aren't you? But you are also one of the more
amusing kinds of nitwit - the kind that think they are geniuses.
I'd give anything to hear some of your wretched banging upon the
piano....I'll bet it's priceless :-)
Cy Shuster
2004-10-21 20:13:54 UTC
Permalink
Remember that the original posting was an invitation for people interested
in the Suzuki method to join a mailing list.

It was quite rude of you to respond to such an invitation by starting a
thread denigrating the method. I think your initial post obliges you to
describe, if not defend, the approaches you espouse.

And a reasonable exchange of opposing views would be facilitated greatly if
you would climb down off your high horse first...
Post by Bernhard Steiner
I am in the process of seeing if it is possible for you to think
critically about the Suzuki method. Before discussing what is good
about the Liszt and Joachim methods, we need to discard the Suzuki
rubbish.
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-22 10:58:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cy Shuster
Post by Bernhard Steiner
I am in the process of seeing if it is possible for you to think
critically about the Suzuki method. Before discussing what is good
about the Liszt and Joachim methods, we need to discard the Suzuki
rubbish.
Remember that the original posting was an invitation for people interested
in the Suzuki method to join a mailing list.
It was quite rude of you to respond to such an invitation by starting a
thread denigrating the method. I think your initial post obliges you to
describe, if not defend, the approaches you espouse.
And a reasonable exchange of opposing views would be facilitated greatly if
you would climb down off your high horse first...
I didn't start the thread - the 1st posting was an invitation by
someone else to join the Suzuki group. I declined the invitation,
citing preferable courses of action. It was demanded by a person atop
the imaginary Suzuki high-horse that I give an explanation. Others
have chimed in. I am in the process of explaining to each, as best a
can, those things that in the order I present them, will be most
likely to lead to a comprehension of my views.

I don't have any problem with denigrating the Suzuki method here and
there in my posts, when I consider all the little kid musicians whose
musical talent it suppresses.


Regards,
Michael Sayers
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-23 00:42:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
I didn't start the thread - the 1st posting was an invitation by
someone else to join the Suzuki group. I declined the invitation,
citing preferable courses of action.
Without any explanation of what those courses of action really are.

I tried to explain the basics behind the Suzuki method/philosophy.

Why can't you explain in simple direct language the Listz/Joachim methods?
Just try.

In the interests of balance, I will grant you this.
_IF_ a teacher does not augment the Suzuki approach
with reading instruction then you can have a student with
poor reading skills. I know many good Suzuki violin teachers.
They all teach reading to their students. I'm sure some don't.
Find a good one.

BTW, the "traditional" teachers that I've observed who
really seem to inspire children tend to apply the same
principles that Suzuki espoused. Its not either-or.
Take what you like, and leave the rest if you must.

Since MS/BS seems to think that the method doesn't produce
good musicians, here is one example of a fine musician who
started as a Suzuki student from an early age.
He was a first-prize winner of the 2002 Young Concert Artists International
Auditions,
and graduated from Curtis Institute. And very much worth hearing.
http://www.astralartisticservices.org/Artists/Nicolas_Kendall/nicolas_kendall.html

There are many other good examples. But to be clear, Suzuki's intent was
not to develop the rare super musician child, but to help all children
develop
to their full potential.
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-23 10:56:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
I didn't start the thread - the 1st posting was an invitation by
someone else to join the Suzuki group. I declined the invitation,
citing preferable courses of action.
Without any explanation of what those courses of action really are.
I tried to explain the basics behind the Suzuki method/philosophy.
I appreciate your effort.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Why can't you explain in simple direct language the Listz/Joachim methods?
Just try.
Based on your comment, I am thinking that you haven't heard Joachim's
recordings - but I could be wrong about this. It would be helpful for
you to have heard how a great 19th century musician plays, before
advocating any method calculated to allow a musician to reach the
heights.

Here are Peter Gutmann's comments on Joachim, from
http://www.classicalnotes.net/features/joachim-nopix.html :

"In our days of countless multinational stars, it is hard to
appreciate the unique importance of Joseph Joachim. He was, quite
simply, the violinist of the century, intimate friend of Mendelssohn,
Schumann, Liszt and Brahms and considered the supreme interpreter of
their works (many of which, including the violin concerti of Brahms,
Bruch and Dvorak, were dedicated to him). From the very start of his
career in 1844, he and his pupils inspired and taught nearly every
great violinist for decades to come. More than anyone else, Joachim
defined classical performance in his time."

"In 1903, near the very end of his long and remarkable life, Joachim
recorded a total of five sides: a trifle of his own, two solo pieces
of Bach and two Brahms Hungarian Dances. As heard on Opal 9851, all
are fascinating; the Hungarian Dance # 2 in d minor, though, is a
revelation."

"Upon first hearing, the impression of this record is pathetic:
imprecise notes, sloppy bowing, shaky rhythm, coarse tone. Historical
curiosity aside, surely this seems the misjudged ego-trip of a
decrepit man no longer in control of his instrument, his former
technique ravaged beyond all recognition and worsened still by the
horrors of the recording experience."

"But that's not it at all. The only thing "wrong" with this
performance is that we hear it through modern ears, ears accustomed to
the note-perfect sterility of twentieth century musicianship in which
any departure from the holy text of the written score is an
unpardonable artistic sin."

"Of all the thousands upon thousands of old acoustic records, this one
confronts us with a unique challenge. Here is a style of playing
absolutely unknown in our time. Every note bursts with passion. Every
gesture throbs with meaning."

"Joachim doesn't sharpen or flatten certain notes because he can't
reach them, but rather to emphasize the force of a melodic progression
or to shade the impact of a chord; indeed, his fingering is so fluid
that the individual notes of his passagework are barely apparent. His
rhythm is so constantly dynamic and alive that it belies the very
notion of tempo. And his bowing – the first downbeats slash with
splintering force and soon subside into a whisper."

"Edison was right: the true value of the phonograph does indeed lie
beyond mere entertainment. While every other performance and lesson of
his life has long since faded into legend, Joachim's immortality lies
etched in the groove of his ancient record. At the very dawn of our
century, he braved the demon of the acoustic horn and distilled the
wisdom of a vanishing age into a mere three minutes. His supremely
precious legacy transcends words and memories to directly preserve for
all time the outlook of the greatest artist of an entire era which,
more than any other, gave rise to the soul of our own."

"While scholars, performers, critics and audiences may forever debate
the "proper" way to perform classical music, the evidence of Joachim's
record just may be worth more than all the academic speculation and
literature put together. It validates and unifies the huge and
bewildering range of styles presented by the other surviving records
of the era. It opens a crucial door to an understanding of classical
music, and perhaps to all music of the past, that might otherwise have
remained forever shut and, in so doing, immeasurably deepens our grasp
of the present."

"More important still, it provides an urgent key to the future. Those
who prematurely mourn the death of the classics should instead heed
Joachim's clarion call. In that one brief moment so many years ago
Joachim told us as much as we will ever need to know about the essence
of all music: any performance is "correct" if it stems from
commitment, wisdom and passion."

"No more important record has ever been made."
Post by Alex Blakemore
Since MS/BS seems to think that the method doesn't produce
good musicians, here is one example of a fine musician who
started as a Suzuki student from an early age.
He was a first-prize winner of the 2002 Young Concert Artists International
Auditions,
and graduated from Curtis Institute. And very much worth hearing.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
http://www.astralartisticservices.org/Artists/Nicolas_Kendall/nicolas_kendall.html
There aren't any audio files of him to download for an evaluation.
But I can definitely state that the musicians who win competitions, so
far have never impressed me.
Post by Alex Blakemore
There are many other good examples. But to be clear, Suzuki's intent was
not to develop the rare super musician child, but to help all children
develop
to their full potential.
Our age needs another super musician - a Beethoven, or a Liszt, or a
Nyiregyhazi - and the same methods that brought them to their fullest
potential, are the same methods that will bring any musician to his
fullest potential.


Regards,
Michael Sayers
Greg M. Silverman
2004-10-23 15:11:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
But I can definitely state that the musicians who win competitions, so
far have never impressed me.
Jason Vieaux, GFA winner 1992. IMO the only interesting classical
guitarist on the scene.


Peace!

gms--
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-24 15:30:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Post by Bernhard Steiner
But I can definitely state that the musicians who win competitions, so
far have never impressed me.
Jason Vieaux, GFA winner 1992. IMO the only interesting classical
guitarist on the scene.
Peace!
gms--
I haven't heard him. Things might be a little different in the world
of guitar competitions, than in piano competitions - no highly
interesting pianist, can win a piano competition.

My favourite guitarist is Andre Segovia. So, if you said he is as
interesting as Segovia, that might get my interest.
Greg M. Silverman
2004-10-25 22:18:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Post by Bernhard Steiner
But I can definitely state that the musicians who win competitions, so
far have never impressed me.
Jason Vieaux, GFA winner 1992. IMO the only interesting classical
guitarist on the scene.
Peace!
gms--
I haven't heard him. Things might be a little different in the world
of guitar competitions, than in piano competitions - no highly
interesting pianist, can win a piano competition.
Vieaux is a mainstream concertizer that happens to have a voice all his
own, including the fact that he uses improvisation where applicable,
which to me is exciting since the bulk majority of so called classical
music doesn't utilize this creative tool.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
My favourite guitarist is Andre Segovia. So, if you said he is as
interesting as Segovia, that might get my interest.
I too like Segovia, but they are quite different in that the Segovia
School was way into the Romanticization of most of the Segovia approved
repertoire, including transciptions of Bach, which nowadays is a bit
passe with all the scholarship put into historical performance practice.
Furthermore, the Segovia reportoire was very restrictive in how it was
executed and what could be played (there is the now famous feud that
happened between the Australian guitarist John Williams and Segovia, in
which Williams wanted to play music outside of the approved repertoire
and thus a huge rift between the two occured). So, in this sense, Vieaux
(and others like him), have moved beyond what Segovia had done.

But really can you make such a generalization that "no highly
interesting pianist can win a competition?" Lots of variables at work,
including who the judges are, what the required pieces are, etc., no?
Also, have you examined each and every piano competition over time and
are you familiar with the set of winners from each along with
representative samples of their playing? And lastly, what are your
criteria for "interesting?" Is this the highly romanticized ideal upon
which you elaborated?

gms--
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-26 11:13:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Post by Bernhard Steiner
But I can definitely state that the musicians who win competitions, so
far have never impressed me.
Jason Vieaux, GFA winner 1992. IMO the only interesting classical
guitarist on the scene.
Peace!
gms--
I haven't heard him. Things might be a little different in the world
of guitar competitions, than in piano competitions - no highly
interesting pianist, can win a piano competition.
Vieaux is a mainstream concertizer that happens to have a voice all his
own, including the fact that he uses improvisation where applicable,
which to me is exciting since the bulk majority of so called classical
music doesn't utilize this creative tool.
I'll have to hear him to make up my mind.....there are some Sor cds on
Naxos. But I assume he saves the improvisation strictly for concerts.

I think it is fine to improvise.........it is just one more way to
show more clearly who has really mastered his instrument, and who
hasn't.
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Post by Bernhard Steiner
My favourite guitarist is Andre Segovia. So, if you said he is as
interesting as Segovia, that might get my interest.
I too like Segovia, but they are quite different in that the Segovia
School was way into the Romanticization of most of the Segovia approved
repertoire, including transciptions of Bach, which nowadays is a bit
passe with all the scholarship put into historical performance practice.
Bach's music is in the public domain, so we are free to do with it as
we want.
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Furthermore, the Segovia reportoire was very restrictive in how it was
executed and what could be played (there is the now famous feud that
happened between the Australian guitarist John Williams and Segovia, in
which Williams wanted to play music outside of the approved repertoire
and thus a huge rift between the two occured). So, in this sense, Vieaux
(and others like him), have moved beyond what Segovia had done.
But really can you make such a generalization that "no highly
interesting pianist can win a competition?" Lots of variables at work,
including who the judges are, what the required pieces are, etc., no?
There aren't any variables. I am familiar with the work of a lot of
these judges - you won't hear variability in their playing, much less
any remarkable, earth-shaking revelations. The competitions are all
about this standardization of performing - and the standardization
allows for no variable or confrontational musical content whatsoever.
For instance, in the PBS shows on one of the recent Cliburns (1995?),
each of the competitors played the Rach. 2nd concerto so identically,
that the producers were able to splice together the audio and video
and go from one to the other playing it during the credits - each one
picking up, where the other left off.

It would be harder for a unique pianist to win one of the major
competitions, than it would be for a camel to squeeze through the eye
of a needle.
Post by Greg M. Silverman
Also, have you examined each and every piano competition over time and
are you familiar with the set of winners from each along with
representative samples of their playing? And lastly, what are your
criteria for "interesting?" Is this the highly romanticized ideal upon
which you elaborated?
I have kept up with the major competitions and their winners, and have
heard quite a bit in the way of their recorded playing, and sometimes
their live playing. There are hordes of smaller competitions, with
sometimes unusual and even bizarre repertoire and auditioning
requirements which I don't keep up with.

There used to be one or two interviews out on the net - maybe there
still are - in which Dr. Thomas Ungar, of the TCU Van Cliburn
Institute, talks about how he prepares his students for the Cliburn.
He went into great depth about removing every quality from their
playing which might be unique, personal or interesting.

There are some pianists out there, who can produce some interesting
colours at times. But all major pianists today are filtered out
through the competition and conservatory processes, and they all seem
to have a very constricted range of dynamics, and tend to play
squarely - i.e., with the hands and voices together. Their playing
strives to be an obsessively machine-like response to the
score.....almost like each score is some sort of a punch card, and the
pianists are the punch card machines.

There are plenty of sources of information on how musicians before the
20th century tended to play - at no time in the past, did musicians
play or compose with this goal of standardization of methods, allowing
for exact replication of performances, in mind.

One can read about Anton Rubinstein requiring two concert grands to
finish a concert, and about Liszt smashing the hammers off a piano
with one or two chords if he didn't like it, usually to get the hall
to wheel out an Erard. In the 20th century, one can read about
Nyiregyhazi driving modern concert grands out of tune....just during
the course of something as brief as the first Tchaikovsky concerto.
One can hear the pianos going out of tune in his recordings -
sometimes there is just one big chord, and then suddenly a lot of
things are messed up.

Nyiregyhazi's quietest sounds, however, were down in the noise of the
recording apparatus, and verge on the inaudible. He could be very
daring in his choices of tempo.

By contrast, all these modern pianists stay within a very restricted
dynamic range, that rarely goes above 'f' - although, sometimes the
better pianists explore the pianissimo range. I don't think they know
what a true fortissimo is.....I don't think it is something any of the
girls can attain, and while some of the men can attain it, they don't
even try, and they haven't developed a technique for attaining it (it
can all be done strictly from key surface, as in the video recordings
of Nyiregyhazi). The tempos seem quite predictable, tending to be
faster than what is suggested, so that you will be lucky to find even
one recording whereing a true 'adagio' or 'lento' can be heard. They
see "waltz" or "3/4", and suddenly think it is a race - even if the
piece is a Chopin nocturne. Since the only expressive pianistic
devices they are capable of, are the ones which can be easily notated,
they can't play a piece or a movement of a piece too slowly and have
it find a justification for this slowness in the range and depth of
expression and expressive techniques that are possible at that speed.
Things are otherwise, with the recordings of pianist and composer
Ervin Nyiregyhazi.

Since you asked about the criteria for interesting.....a pianist that
makes a type of sound from a piano which I have never heard before, is
interesting. A pianist who presents applications for novel types of
sound in one of the standard pieces is interesting. A pianist who
imparts nothing new, is not interesting.


MJS.
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-24 04:01:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Based on your comment, I am thinking that you haven't heard Joachim's
recordings - but I could be wrong about this. It would be helpful for
you to have heard how a great 19th century musician plays, before
advocating any method calculated to allow a musician to reach the
heights.
I will look for Joachim's recording, but the fact that he was a great
violinist doesn't shed any light on how he came to be a great violinist,
and how to help students learn to be great musicians.

Did he leave any writings about how to teach?
What did he advocate that teachers do?

From what I understand about Listz's teaching, at least at the end,
he mainly lectured to, and inspired many students who were
advanced when they came to study (large master class style perhaps?)
But he didn't often act as someone's individual teacher over long periods.
He left a large book of exercises (attributed to him, but not certain I
think)
and some great compositions. He practiced many hours as a young man.

But did he leave any writings about how to teach?
What did he advocate teachers do?

One way to think about Suzuki's contribution.
He was interested in developing children from a young age.
His "method" is like a great kindergarten/elementary school.
Done well, with a great teacher, parental support, group support,
many children become very good musicians and graduate to
go on to advanced studies in music.

To complain that Suzuki's methods don't include advanced Listz
exercises or repetoire is to miss the point. That's like complaining
that the local Montessori kindergarten is not teaching calculus.
Both are important. The goal of the elementary education is to
prepare the student for the next level, not to replace the next level.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
[Link to info about former Suzuki student Nicolas Kendal:]
http://www.astralartisticservices.org/Artists/Nicolas_Kendall/nicolas_kend
all.html
Post by Bernhard Steiner
There aren't any audio files of him to download for an evaluation.
But I can definitely state that the musicians who win competitions, so
far have never impressed me.
Nicolas Kendal tours the world as a soloist now.
I think he's a great performer, but hear him for yourself.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Our age needs another super musician - a Beethoven, or a Liszt, or a
Nyiregyhazi - and the same methods that brought them to their fullest
potential, are the same methods that will bring any musician to his
fullest potential.
And what were they?
Beethoven's drunken father was very harsh to him, maybe beat him.
Is that what you advocate.

Suzuki was fond of the way Mozart was raised.
Surrounded by a loving musical family, immersed in music from the earliest
days.
His method tries to reproduce that environment for every student.

Regards,
Alex Blakemore
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-24 14:13:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Based on your comment, I am thinking that you haven't heard Joachim's
recordings - but I could be wrong about this. It would be helpful for
you to have heard how a great 19th century musician plays, before
advocating any method calculated to allow a musician to reach the
heights.
I will look for Joachim's recording, but the fact that he was a great
violinist doesn't shed any light on how he came to be a great violinist,
and how to help students learn to be great musicians.
Obviously, he didn't attain greatness by following the Suzuki method,
i.e. - neglecting his technique, or by sitting in a room full of
students where he parroted whatever his teacher said to do.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Did he leave any writings about how to teach?
What did he advocate that teachers do?
Do you mean to say that you didn't research the greatest violinist of
the 19th century, before deciding on a teaching method?
Post by Alex Blakemore
From what I understand about Listz's teaching, at least at the end,
he mainly lectured to, and inspired many students who were
advanced when they came to study (large master class style perhaps?)
But he didn't often act as someone's individual teacher over long periods.
He left a large book of exercises (attributed to him, but not certain I
think)
and some great compositions. He practiced many hours as a young man.
But did he leave any writings about how to teach?
What did he advocate teachers do?
Here again, I find it odd that you would even recommend a teaching
method only based on research into modern theories of pedagogy and
creativity.

Creativity is a word meant for Beethoven. It does not apply to a
"sculptor" who welds and glues this or that together. It does not
apply to a "musician", who copies modern methods and results - glueing
them all together, rather than being creative enough to dispense with
them, and proceed directly to the source of music as his place of
departure.
Post by Alex Blakemore
One way to think about Suzuki's contribution.
He was interested in developing children from a young age.
His "method" is like a great kindergarten/elementary school.
Done well, with a great teacher, parental support, group support,
many children become very good musicians and graduate to
go on to advanced studies in music.
Suzuki students don't become great musicians. You have already
indicated that you think the Liszt technical exercises are "advanced"
- so I can see why, if person can play a bunch of notes really fast,
you would think the person was an advanced musician. Musical
advancement, however, is not technical - it does not reside in having
a big technique, although a big technique is necessary.

I suggested before that you give a list of great performers and
performances, so that we can see if your idea of greatness is drawn
from the example of the greatest musicians....or if it only includes
them titularly, and if in fact it is meant to include the modern-day
residuum of past greatness and accomplishments.

If you think that a modern day competition winner is great, than
probably your salutations of Joachim are simply rhetorical name
pandering. I'll bet, once you finally hear the Pearl cd of Joachim's
recordings, you won't like the playing of the greatest 19th century
violinist....but, I could be wrong about this. We'll have to wait and
see.

The Romans copied the outward forms of the Greeks - but the Romans
could not imbue what they did with greatness, since copying is not
creative. The Romans were merely being imitative.

The same goes for modern musicians of the Suzuki method. Imitation of
modern performance practice - which really seems to be what is at the
core of the method - does not result in greatness. Direct contact
with the eternal source of music, however, at least can result in
greatness.
Post by Alex Blakemore
To complain that Suzuki's methods don't include advanced Listz
exercises or repetoire is to miss the point. That's like complaining
that the local Montessori kindergarten is not teaching calculus.
Both are important. The goal of the elementary education is to
prepare the student for the next level, not to replace the next level.
The "advanced" Liszt exercises are just basics, that is all they are.
Octaves with added thirds. Arpeggios with added double notes. What
is advanced about that?

Suggesting that a 3 yr old learn Liszt's Feux Follets, is like having
a 3 yr old learn calculus - and this not what I am suggesting at all.

The piano is very easy in the beginning, and it is very hard to
master. The basics of technique (scales, arpeggios, trills, octaves,
double consecutive thirds, et c.) are easy, and can be worked on right
from the start - there is nothing in any way "advanced" about them. I
am suggesting that a child work on the basics, on the foundation -
Bach's WTCI and some technical exercises - and also on some Liszt.
Technical exercises are NOT advanced, in contrast to the many etudes
[technical studies, not exercises] which ARE advanced.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
[Link to info about former Suzuki student Nicolas Kendal:]
http://www.astralartisticservices.org/Artists/Nicolas_Kendall/nicolas_kend
all.html
Post by Bernhard Steiner
There aren't any audio files of him to download for an evaluation.
But I can definitely state that the musicians who win competitions, so
far have never impressed me.
Nicolas Kendal tours the world as a soloist now.
I think he's a great performer, but hear him for yourself.
Brittany Spears tours the world, too. Some people think she is a
great performer. I suggest that you go and hear her, before you dare
have the gall to decide otherwise.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Our age needs another super musician - a Beethoven, or a Liszt, or a
Nyiregyhazi - and the same methods that brought them to their fullest
potential, are the same methods that will bring any musician to his
fullest potential.
And what were they?
Beethoven's drunken father was very harsh to him, maybe beat him.
Is that what you advocate.
"Maybe" beat him means that Beethoven's father might not have done any
beating - and, being a wine drinker has no relation to one's abilities
to teach. If you really have a lowly opinion of anyone who drinks
wine, then I suggest that you never visit France or Italy - because
you will feel miserable being surrounded so many lowly people.

Perhaps you would rather enjoy a walk in the NYC ghetto, than along
the Rue du Montparnasse.

Obviously there was something very special about Beethoven's father,
if he admired Bach enough, at a time when Bach was derided and being
forgotten, to require his son to master the WTCI. There were probably
many special things about Beethoven's father, that one could only have
experienced up close and in person - things that would be very hard to
document.

One's personal views on coporeal punishment, have little to do with
one's abilities as a pedagogue - and, as you admitted, there may have
been no corporeal punishment at all. I am not sure you can even
distinguish between corporeal punishment and abuse - you probably lump
them all up together.

Rather than focus on Beethoven and his father, and legal questions
about what is or is not abuse, you might want to look at Suzuki
teachers and their students. Do their students write Hammerklavier
sonatas, and Ninth symphonies?

Do Suzuki teachers, in some way "abuse" or neglect their
responsibility as teachers? Judging from the method and the results,
this certainly seems to be the case.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Suzuki was fond of the way Mozart was raised.
Surrounded by a loving musical family, immersed in music from the earliest
days.
His method tries to reproduce that environment for every student.
Great music can have highly confrontational content. If Leopold
Mozart's son had been turning out Beethoven's music, for instance, I
don't know how well Leopold would have taken to all the
"discords"......much less if Mozart had decided to become a serial
composer.

Leopold Mozart was a much better composer, than any composer who is
alive today - and there is much to be said for a composer being raised
by such a person. But I don't think, ralistically, most parents or
most music teachers are going to become as a good a composer as he was
- this is not something to realistically expect.

However.....in our era, which seems to now be almost completely devoid
of greatness, there is something always waiting to instruct the
musician on the basis of technique and composition: the works of Bach.

That is, if one's work with Bach isn't corrupted by a Suzuki method
instructor, or by anyone else who feels he knows how Bach should be
performed.

Listen to Joachim's recordings. Has any Suzuki instructor ever told a
violin student, "here are the recordings of the greatest violinist of
the 19th century, and the instructor of the greatest violinists after
him....his method and interpretations are a worthy place of departure
for your own creative endeavors....have at it"? I think not - and
this shows how detached the Suzuki method is from the realities of
leading students towards musical greatness, if violin students don't
even listen to what may, in fact, be the greatest and most important
violin recordings of all time.

Music students can be led to the temple of art - and a select few will
dare to enter. Right now, they are being led to a factory instead.


Regards,
Michael Sayers

P.S. - It might interest you to know, that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had
a son who became a very capable pianist and composer - Franz Xavier
Mozart.
Larry
2004-10-24 16:15:34 UTC
Permalink
catfood eating homeless space alien
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Do you mean to say that you didn't research the greatest violinist of
the 19th century, before deciding on a teaching method?
Creativity is a word meant for Beethoven. It does not apply to a
"sculptor" who welds and glues this or that together. It does not
apply to a "musician", who copies modern methods and results - glueing
them all together, rather than being creative enough to dispense with
them, and proceed directly to the source of music as his place of departure.
Suzuki students don't become great musicians.
Sayer, for someone who is as talentless as you are, you sure do like being the
musical snob, don't you? You're only impressing yourself, you know. You
wouldn't know a "great musician" if one rode up on a horse.

Suzuki has turned out literally millions of "great musicians". It all depends
on what you think a "great musician" is. You for instance, aren't a great
musician. I've heard you play - you're actually quite terrible. You use the
claim that you don't "copy" the technique of others in an attempt to make an
excuse for your lack of skill, trying to claim your inability to play a piece
properly is not indicative of your poor musical skills but because you are so
advanced that you are going *beyond* that into a realm of creativity.

Let me give you a clue. You play the way you do not because you are so
advanced, but because you are can't play properly. You are poorly trained. Your
"hours of practice" is just an excuse for not finding a job and working to
support yourself instead of leeching off others.

If I had a choice between listening to a 9 year old taught in the Suzuki method
and listening to you, I'd choose any Suzuki student they put in front of me -
because the Suzuki student would be inspiring, no matter what his/her skill
level. You, my catfood eating bum, would be the most boring 2 minutes I would
ever live through.

Greatness does not come from self serving snobbery and puffed up perversion of
the English language in an apparent attempt to appear intelligent, Sayer. I'd
tell you where greatness comes from, but in spite of all your puffery and
rambling nonsensical posturing, the simple fact is you just aren't smart enough
to understand.


Larry
The Wizard of Ahhhhs
Betsy
2004-10-24 16:46:24 UTC
Permalink
How does one hear Sayers play? Tell me, do!

I'd relish a laugh.
Post by Larry
catfood eating homeless space alien
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Do you mean to say that you didn't research the greatest violinist of
the 19th century, before deciding on a teaching method?
Creativity is a word meant for Beethoven. It does not apply to a
"sculptor" who welds and glues this or that together. It does not
apply to a "musician", who copies modern methods and results - glueing
them all together, rather than being creative enough to dispense with
them, and proceed directly to the source of music as his place of departure.
Suzuki students don't become great musicians.
Sayer, for someone who is as talentless as you are, you sure do like being the
musical snob, don't you? You're only impressing yourself, you know. You
wouldn't know a "great musician" if one rode up on a horse.
Suzuki has turned out literally millions of "great musicians". It all depends
on what you think a "great musician" is. You for instance, aren't a great
musician. I've heard you play - you're actually quite terrible. You use the
claim that you don't "copy" the technique of others in an attempt to make an
excuse for your lack of skill, trying to claim your inability to play a piece
properly is not indicative of your poor musical skills but because you are so
advanced that you are going *beyond* that into a realm of creativity.
Let me give you a clue. You play the way you do not because you are so
advanced, but because you are can't play properly. You are poorly trained. Your
"hours of practice" is just an excuse for not finding a job and working to
support yourself instead of leeching off others.
If I had a choice between listening to a 9 year old taught in the Suzuki method
and listening to you, I'd choose any Suzuki student they put in front of me -
because the Suzuki student would be inspiring, no matter what his/her skill
level. You, my catfood eating bum, would be the most boring 2 minutes I would
ever live through.
Greatness does not come from self serving snobbery and puffed up perversion of
the English language in an apparent attempt to appear intelligent, Sayer. I'd
tell you where greatness comes from, but in spite of all your puffery and
rambling nonsensical posturing, the simple fact is you just aren't smart enough
to understand.
Larry
The Wizard of Ahhhhs
Larry
2004-10-24 16:50:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Betsy
How does one hear Sayers play? Tell me, do!
I'd relish a laugh.
He posted a link to some audio clips once. I don't know where they are, maybe
he'll post them again. I do hope so, because they're a real hoot.


Larry
The Wizard of Ahhhhs
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-25 03:24:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Larry
Post by Betsy
How does one hear Sayers play? Tell me, do!
I'd relish a laugh.
He posted a link to some audio clips once. I don't know where they are, maybe
he'll post them again. I do hope so, because they're a real hoot.
Larry
The Wizard of Ahhhhs
A file of the first Chopin prelude is at:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MichaelSayersRadicalMiniaturist/


MJS.
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-25 00:59:29 UTC
Permalink
Obviously, he [Joachim] didn't attain greatness by following the Suzuki
method,
i.e. - neglecting his technique, or by sitting in a room full of
students where he parroted whatever his teacher said to do.
You really are insufferable. I've tried to have a reasonable discussion.
I've been willing to accept constructive criticism about the
Suzuki method (though again I think the better teachers supplement
to make the most common criticisms moot)

But after all this, you persist in saying that the Suzuki method
involves "neglecting technique". You are slandering many people
who teach and study music very intently. The teachers and students
I know focus intently on developing technique, for years, practicing
hours a day, getting coached by very skilled teachers.
You don't even know these people, yet you claim they
"neglect technique".
Suzuki students don't become great musicians.
You are wrong. There are many. Suzuki students have become
professional concert artists, orchestra members, professors of music,
music teachers, and also lawyers, doctors and many other professions.

I'm sure you will reply there are no longer any great musicians,
and you are the only judge of what is great.
You have already
indicated that you think the Liszt technical exercises are "advanced"
My error. I've studied several of those exercises.
Advanced is not the right word to describe them.
(Boring perhaps, but not advanced)
When I used that word, I was thinking about his other compositions.
I am suggesting that a child work on the basics, on the foundation -
Bach's WTCI and some technical exercises - and also on some Liszt.
Technical exercises are NOT advanced, in contrast to the many etudes
[technical studies, not exercises] which ARE advanced.
Those are reasonable choices for study. I study them.
But not student is ready for WTC I.
Obviously there was something very special about Beethoven's father,
Which is why Beethoven disowned him, and took part of his pension
to support his younger brothers.
if he admired Bach enough, at a time when Bach was derided and being
forgotten, to require his son to master the WTCI.
Are you sure that was his father's doing. I thought is was his
teacher Neefe (sic?) who grounded Beethoven in Bach.
Do their [Suzuki] students write Hammerklavier sonatas,
and Ninth symphonies?
Has anyone since LVB?
Listen to Joachim's recordings. Has any Suzuki instructor ever told a
violin student, "here are the recordings of the greatest violinist of
the 19th century, and the instructor of the greatest violinists after
him....his method and interpretations are a worthy place of departure
for your own creative endeavors....have at it"? I think not -
You are so sure about criticising something you know so little about.
My daughter's last teacher insisted she listen to two different recordings
during each week of different performers playing different pieces. The
choice
was hers, but we were encouraged to find the best possible artists.
She would have to learn to play, at least part of, one of the pieces
by ear each week. The teachers I knew encouraged having children
listen to advanced repetoire long before they could play it.

This was in addition to ALOT of detailed work on technique and repetoire.
Sorry that I'm not as familiar with Joachim as I wish.

Suzuki was very fond of Fritz Kreisler's recordings.
I don't know if you would consider him acceptable, but I like his music.
pat marson
2004-10-25 01:23:42 UTC
Permalink
X-No-Archive: Yes
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Obviously, he [Joachim] didn't attain greatness by following the Suzuki
method,
i.e. - neglecting his technique, or by sitting in a room full of
students where he parroted whatever his teacher said to do.
You really are insufferable.
Alex....don't waste too much time with this Sayers character.
Everytime someone disagrees with him he takes that as further evidence
of his 'specialness'. He thinks he is far advanced and superior to
other folks, but he is clearly so misinformed about so many things that
any attempt to correct him is futile and ridiculous. Suffice to say that
if he were as great as he thinks he is, there would be a body of work to
critique. There isn't. Real artists produce. He flounders.
Best advice is to forget about him. He's a wannabe. You'll never hear
of him outside this forum. And by the way, when he posted a link to an
mp3 of something he did, I listened.

It was wretched beyond all measure.
Betsy
2004-10-25 02:46:39 UTC
Permalink
I'd really like to hear it myself, but can't find it on Google. Anybody
have the link?
Post by don adams
X-No-Archive: Yes
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Obviously, he [Joachim] didn't attain greatness by following the Suzuki
method,
i.e. - neglecting his technique, or by sitting in a room full of
students where he parroted whatever his teacher said to do.
You really are insufferable.
Alex....don't waste too much time with this Sayers character.
Everytime someone disagrees with him he takes that as further evidence
of his 'specialness'. He thinks he is far advanced and superior to
other folks, but he is clearly so misinformed about so many things that
any attempt to correct him is futile and ridiculous. Suffice to say that
if he were as great as he thinks he is, there would be a body of work to
critique. There isn't. Real artists produce. He flounders.
Best advice is to forget about him. He's a wannabe. You'll never hear
of him outside this forum. And by the way, when he posted a link to an
mp3 of something he did, I listened.
It was wretched beyond all measure.
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-25 09:39:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Betsy
I'd really like to hear it myself, but can't find it on Google. Anybody
have the link?
Post by don adams
X-No-Archive: Yes
Post by Alex Blakemore
Obviously, he [Joachim] didn't attain greatness by following the Suzuki
method,
Post by don adams
Post by Alex Blakemore
i.e. - neglecting his technique, or by sitting in a room full of
students where he parroted whatever his teacher said to do.
You really are insufferable.
Alex....don't waste too much time with this Sayers character.
Everytime someone disagrees with him he takes that as further evidence
of his 'specialness'. He thinks he is far advanced and superior to
other folks, but he is clearly so misinformed about so many things that
any attempt to correct him is futile and ridiculous. Suffice to say that
if he were as great as he thinks he is, there would be a body of work to
critique. There isn't. Real artists produce. He flounders.
Best advice is to forget about him. He's a wannabe. You'll never hear
of him outside this forum. And by the way, when he posted a link to an
mp3 of something he did, I listened.
It was wretched beyond all measure.
Which file are you talking about? I have put out files variously of
pieces by Bach, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Leschitizky, Liszt and
Nyiregyhazi.

I set up a new Yahoo group for posting some files. The only file
uploaded is a 2002 recording of the first Chopin prelude. More shall
follow. This is the address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MichaelSayersRadicalMiniaturist

Yahoo has a 5mb upload limit - so, the effects the duration of
recorded sound per file (without lessening the audio quality). But
there are plenty of shorter piano pieces by Grieg, Schumann, Liszt,
Chopin, Mendelssohn, Bach, Blumenfield, Busoni, John Field and
Tchaikovsky, from which I may select for upload.

The Chopin prelude at the group right now, isn't played in a
particularly epochal fashion: the piece isn't designed for the types
of sounds that might, say, make the seats out in a hall shake, or
cause people to think some sort of an occult phenomenon has taken hold
of me and the piano. But the tempo change 3/4 of a way through the
piece, certainly is a novelty. Were it not for that change, I it
might have been recorded in 35-40 seconds. But I trust my musical
instincts, and I believe in playing with conviction - audiences can
tell when a pianist is playing with conviction, or not.

Here are the times, in my recording of that first Chopin prelude,
versus some those of some other pianists. One can see how much the
tempo change + some massive rubatos and rallentendos which followed,
augmented the total duration beyond what otherwise would have been
about 35 seconds:

1:58 Michael Sayers, June 2002
0:45 Vladimir Ashkenazy, February 1978
0:45 Claudio Arrau, April 1973
0:36 Vlado Perlemuter, March 1981
0:35 Alfred Cortot, 1926

I will be sure to upload some window rattling, seat shaking
selections....since "thunder and lightning" is the thing for which I
am the most known.


Regards,
Michael Sayers
don adams
2004-10-25 12:53:40 UTC
Permalink
X-No-Archive: Yes
Post by Bernhard Steiner
I set up a new Yahoo group for posting some files. The only file
uploaded is a 2002 recording of the first Chopin prelude. More shall
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MichaelSayersRadicalMiniaturist
There is no way to access the files at the above address.
Thomas F. Unke
2004-10-25 14:02:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by don adams
There is no way to access the files at the above address.
You must register at YAHOO first.
Thomas F. Unke
2004-10-25 12:43:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
I set up a new Yahoo group for posting some files. The only file
uploaded is a 2002 recording of the first Chopin prelude. More shall
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MichaelSayersRadicalMiniaturist
Not bad for a beginner.

You may just practice a bit more with a metronome, as Chopin has
always suggested, then next year you can work on Prelude No 2.
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-25 20:16:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by pat marson
Alex....don't waste too much time with this Sayers character.
Everytime someone disagrees with him he takes that as further evidence
of his 'specialness'.
What are you talking about? Lots of people disagree about a lot of
things. It doesn't connotate any specialness - its just a
disagreement.

If people want to think that Chopin played Chopin, Liszt played Liszt,
and Beethoven played Beethoven, the way that the latest competition
winner does - he is free to do so.

I happen to disagree, because the historical sources and documentation
point to a vastly different conclusion. This doesn't mean I'm
"special" - it just means that musicians today play the older music in
a modern style, quite differently from what was done during the 1800s.
That is all it means.
Post by pat marson
if he were as great as he thinks he is, there would be a body of work to
critique. There isn't. Real artists produce. He flounders.
There is a body of work. It is sitting in some pine crates. Like
Nyiregyhazi, I should probably put my compositions and transcriptions
on microfiche, and store the microfiche in a safety deposit box.
Post by pat marson
Best advice is to forget about him. He's a wannabe.
What is wrong with wanting to be a great pianist and composer? I
happen to think it is an excellent goal to strive for. I have been
playing the piano, and writing out compositions, since I was five
years old.
Post by pat marson
You'll never hear
of him outside this forum.
We'll see.......

Nyiregyhazi was a sensation as a child and adolescent, and then was
discarded. Beethoven and Busoni, even though they had their critics,
were always well admired and received by most audiences. Rodin didn't
get any significant public acknowledgment until he was in his 40s.
Van Gogh was never supported by society in his endeavors, and depended
on his brother for support. Thomas Wolfe spent years writing, before
Scribners put out his "Look Homeward, Angel".

There are all different ways things can go.

Brittany Spears is well hear of outside this forum, but surely that
doesn't make you think she is invested with artistic greatness, does
it?
Post by pat marson
And by the way, when he posted a link to an
mp3 of something he did, I listened.
It was wretched beyond all measure.
I normally listen to several pieces by a pianist, in several areas of
repertoire, before deciding on what that pianist has or lacks.

Be that as it may, you must be thinking of a recording that my best
friend made, which I transferred to mp3 and posted. I don't think his
piano improvisations are wretched - but you are free to draw your own
conclusions, and I understand how his sudden changes in dynamic level
might knock back an unsuspecting listener. His recordings have
sustained me during many dark hours.


Michael Sayers
get real
2004-10-26 13:03:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Be that as it may, you must be thinking of a recording that my best
friend made, which I transferred to mp3 and posted.
No, she is not. She is thinking of recordings of YOU attempting to
play Chopin and Bach. But she is wrong -- it wasn't wretched. It was
laughable.
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-25 03:05:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by pat marson
Alex....don't waste too much time with this Sayers character.
Everytime someone disagrees with him he takes that as further evidence
of his 'specialness'. He thinks he is far advanced and superior to
other folks, but he is clearly so misinformed about so many things that
any attempt to correct him is futile and ridiculous. Suffice to say that
if he were as great as he thinks he is, there would be a body of work to
critique. There isn't.
Thanks Pat. I saw the long discussion about his piano, but I couldn't
let his off hand dismissal of the Suzuki method go unchallenged.
I was hoping to learn something about how Joachim or Listz
advocating teaching music, but I suppose that's unlikely now.
I did learn something from the thread, but its time to wrap it up.

I've already written too much about the many strengths of the method.

Here's what I learned - some reasonable criticisms about the Suzuki
method (at least as some perceive it)
-- can have student's not learn to read well
-- can keep student on same elementary pieces too long
-- need additional repetoire based on student's needs/interests

OK, constructive criticism accepted. Most good Suzuki teachers
that I've seen make sure to avoid these potential pitfalls.
And I have seen some teachers that fell into these traps.

I think the following are unreasonable criticisms:
-- the contention that group classes turn kids into little robots all
playing the same,
or that they suck out individuality and expression. The classes I've seen
celebrate such things, and work to develop them. (Though any
ensemble playing must agree on an interpretation for a performance)
-- the contention that listening to recordings somehow
harms students.

I like hearing constructive criticism. Its how we improve.
Everything can improve. Its the other kind of harping that is
so irritating.

Now its time to get back to something important like
working to help the most qualified man wins this election.
Regardless of who you support, vote Nov 2.
Let's make the music-lover lobby be heard!
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-25 09:43:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Obviously, he [Joachim] didn't attain greatness by following the Suzuki
method,
i.e. - neglecting his technique, or by sitting in a room full of
students where he parroted whatever his teacher said to do.
You really are insufferable. I've tried to have a reasonable discussion.
I've been willing to accept constructive criticism about the
Suzuki method (though again I think the better teachers supplement
to make the most common criticisms moot)
But after all this, you persist in saying that the Suzuki method
involves "neglecting technique". You are slandering many people
who teach and study music very intently. The teachers and students
I know focus intently on developing technique, for years, practicing
hours a day, getting coached by very skilled teachers.
You don't even know these people, yet you claim they
"neglect technique".
Slander is verbal; libel is printed.

I haven't libelled anyone. You were the one who described (in a very
understated way) how the Suzuki method neglects technique - I see no
reason to understate the facts. And, I certainly am not going to be
deceptive when it comes to conveying my thoughts on music. People
know what I think - and they can take it, or leave it.

I think that to study music with the Suzuki method, is better than to
not study music at all. It is important for children to learn to play
a musical instrument, because of how physical, emotional and
intellectual it is, each at the same time. Music making in the home,
by way of direct contact with the musical substance and its
manifestations, allows one to see more concretely that classical music
has been industrialized into a mass-produced product.

This is what the Suzuki method is geared for - music making in the
home. Someone who aspires to greatness, should look elsewhere, and
should probably be wary of all methods and of all teachers.

But, I don't admire any of these models uncritically or unreservedly.
For instance, I can hear the decline in Paderewski's playing, which
followed the injury of his left hand when he was 40 years old, in
1900, and his then proceeding to develop other absorptions -
absorptions ranging from Polish political problems, to running a
vineyard in California which eventually closed by the Prohibition Act.
There is, at least, an old recording of him playing the 2nd Liszt
concert etude, which is nothing short of extraordinary.

If he had built up a big technique as a child, as Nyiregyhazi did, his
playing would have held up much better during those decades when he
didn't tour, and hardly practiced.



A tremendous deal is to be learned from the older opera recordings -
there are some very remarkable artifacts in those Mapleson Cylinder
met recordings, for those who have the patience to listen through a
wall of rumble and hiss. There are things to be learned from Caruso's
1903 Milan recordings. There are things to learn from Dame Clara
Butt. There are things to learned from the articulation of poetry -
rhythm and metre are one with the essence of poetry. There are things
to be learned from classical Greek - the last famous pianist I can
think of, who was able to read Pindar in the original, was
Nyiregyhazi.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Suzuki students don't become great musicians.
You are wrong. There are many. Suzuki students have become
professional concert artists, orchestra members, professors of music,
music teachers, and also lawyers, doctors and many other professions.
I just don't define skill and technique the way you do, or as the
adherents of the Suzuki method do. The models you have offered as
representative of musical competence, were selected from the persons
who win competitions, and who take the conservatory route. I take my
models from the past - Liszt, Chopin, Beethoven, Henselt, Dreyshock,
Anton Rubinstein......and, in the recorded era, Nyiregyhazi,
Paderewski, Busoni, Brahms and Joachim.

I mention Brahms deliberately, because he was close to Joachim, and
because Brahms has been recorded on a wax cylinder playing the first
20 seconds of one of the Hungarian Dances. In a denoised version of
an acetate copy of that cylinder, some very interesting things are
audibly being done with the tempo - things which, quite frankly,
musicians no longer have the technique to do. There is a technique to
rubato, just as to anything else. There is a technique to making the
musical impetus articulate over longer outlays of time than merely the
phrase or the measure, and within the context of (sometimes) vast
structures. And, nearly all of this technique is no longer in our
musical currency....as, for instance, in the case of the much debated
'tempo rubato'. Paderewski and Nyiregyhazi are the only recorded
pianists I have heard with a natural tempo rubato. All other pianists
either just always play with the hands squarely together (which is a
modern way of playing, not the way, for instance, that Chopin played),
or else they attempt a tempo rubato, and end up with only a stiff
caricature. It's like their hands are tied together - this is
obviously a technical shortcoming.

For someone who thinks Nyiregyhazi was a great pianist, none of the
modern competitions winners will be a great pianist. For someone who
thinks Joachim was a great violinist, none the modern competition
winners will be a great violinist.

Things were this way, from the moment the first music conservatories
appeared. Ferenc Liszt despised and loathed the conservatories - but
the conservatories are still around, and Liszt died in 1886.

Of course, you say you think of Joachim as having been a great
violinist.....but you are just going by what other people say. I
think if you ever hear his recordings, you will be shocked and
horrified. You are only repeating what other people say about
Joachim, instead of looking into the matter and judging the evidence
for yourself.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
I'm sure you will reply there are no longer any great musicians,
and you are the only judge of what is great.
As I said, classical music has been industrialized into a
mass-produced product. I tried seeing if this was true - the
professors at the schools I went to, tried to flatten out and
sterilize my playing, and make very factory-like. They wanted my
piano tone to sound like an empty thud. I had problems in piano
competitions as a child - pianists with less technique would win,
because their responses to the scores were those of a machine.

Machine like playing will never be great - it doesn't matter who the
judge is.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
You have already
indicated that you think the Liszt technical exercises are "advanced"
My error. I've studied several of those exercises.
Advanced is not the right word to describe them.
(Boring perhaps, but not advanced)
When I used that word, I was thinking about his other compositions.
His compositions projected far into the future. He wrote the first
tone poems, the first impressionistic pieces, and the first atonal
music.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
I am suggesting that a child work on the basics, on the foundation -
Bach's WTCI and some technical exercises - and also on some Liszt.
Technical exercises are NOT advanced, in contrast to the many etudes
[technical studies, not exercises] which ARE advanced.
Those are reasonable choices for study. I study them.
But not student is ready for WTC I.
If a student isn't ready for anything in WTCI, right at the start,
then that student ought not to be studying the piano. But, I think
you greatly underestimate how malleable a child's mind is, and what a
child with even a little bit of talent can do.

This is ironic on your part, as you said previously that according to
the Suzuki method, EVERY child can develop an amazing talent.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Obviously there was something very special about Beethoven's father,
Which is why Beethoven disowned him, and took part of his pension
to support his younger brothers.
What does the worthiness of Beethoven's father as the overseer of a
family, have to do with the depth of his musical insight and
determination?

A person can be profound in one area, and self-destructive in another.
A perfect example of this is Van Gogh.

I never said that Beethoven's father was a perfect man, or that he was
the second St. Francis of Assisi.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
if he admired Bach enough, at a time when Bach was derided and being
forgotten, to require his son to master the WTCI.
Are you sure that was his father's doing. I thought is was his
teacher Neefe (sic?) who grounded Beethoven in Bach.
The grounding in Bach, is the reason Beethoven's father selected the
teacher in question.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Do their [Suzuki] students write Hammerklavier sonatas,
and Ninth symphonies?
Has anyone since LVB?
There have been a horde of great composers since then....Liszt,
Chopin, Brahms, Schumann, Anton Rubinstein, Nyiregyhazi, Saint-Saens,
Puccini, Verdi, Wagner, Richard Strauss....I could go on.

But when classical music became an industrial product, this stopped.
There is now abyss-like division of labour between the professional
performer and the professional composer.

One becomes a professional composer these days, only by a very devious
route with all the signs in place - and, I assure you, if anyone today
were to compose like Mozart, that person would be scoffed at, and
labelled an "amateur".

Classical musical these days is all pre-made - nothing "new" is being
done. An illusion is created, through disinformation, that "new"
things are being done - but really, nothing is changing, and things
are stagnant.

Nyiregyhazi was the last representative of an age that had passed.
That a musician of his almost unbelievable talents - going far beyond
the the prodigousness of Mozart or Saint-Saens, and who was publishing
his first compositions at the age of two years old, and who at one
time was touring all of Europe, substituting for Rachmaninoff at
Rachmaninoff's request, and who had a heated 1920 Carnegie Hall debut
that had to be repeated several times (all of this, before he turned
18) - would then have been assigned by his manager to accompany
obscure singers in obscure venues for minimal pay, simply because
according to critics who heard both, Nyiregyhazi played in the manner
of Liszt, shows how far the musical world has fallen.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Listen to Joachim's recordings. Has any Suzuki instructor ever told a
violin student, "here are the recordings of the greatest violinist of
the 19th century, and the instructor of the greatest violinists after
him....his method and interpretations are a worthy place of departure
for your own creative endeavors....have at it"? I think not -
You are so sure about criticising something you know so little about.
My daughter's last teacher insisted she listen to two different recordings
during each week of different performers playing different pieces. The
choice
was hers, but we were encouraged to find the best possible artists.
She would have to learn to play, at least part of, one of the pieces
by ear each week. The teachers I knew encouraged having children
listen to advanced repetoire long before they could play it.
If both performers are machines, and are products of industrialized
classical music, what is the benefit of listening to one versus
another of their recordings? Nothing can be learned from hearing
industrial musicians - real perspective requires a study of how the
older music was in fact played, and listening to some very old
recordings - not for the sake of imitation, but for the sake of
acquiring perspective. The older music was not played in a way that
bears very much resemblance to the way it is played today.

And, I assure you: she did NOT advise the student to listen to
Joachim's recordings.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
This was in addition to ALOT of detailed work on technique and repetoire.
Sorry that I'm not as familiar with Joachim as I wish.
There is a cd of his recordings on the Pearl label. I highly
recommend you get it. I am going to let you know ahead of time, that
this is entirely at your own risk - it is very possible that you will
despise what you hear. I don't promise that you will enjoy those
recordings.

Even when I first heard the cd, my ears needed a while just to get
used to the tuning (equal temperment methods of tuning weren't
widespread in Europe in the 1830s, when Joachim was a boy who was
learning to play the violin).

Also, violinists in the 1800s played very ruggedly, with almost no
vibrato.

When George Bernhard Shaw was still a music critic, the first time he
heard Joachim, he commented in his review on how horribly out of tune
the violin sounded at the start of the concert. But he said that his
ears soon adjusted to the tuning.....and that Joachim was the greatest
violinist he had ever heard.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Suzuki was very fond of Fritz Kreisler's recordings.
I don't know if you would consider him acceptable, but I like his music.
Fritz Kreisler has a wonderful tone....I would rather hear him, than
any presently living violinist. You might also be fond of
Francescatti's tone.


Regards,
Michael Sayers
Alex Blakemore
2004-10-26 04:57:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bernhard Steiner
You were the one who described (in a very
understated way) how the Suzuki method neglects technique ...
I never said any such thing.

The Suzuki teachers and students I know devote themselves
wholeheartedly to improving technique, tone and musicality.
Its a lifelong journey, and the Suzuki method
is a great way to start it IMHO. Its not the only way.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
If a student isn't ready for anything in WTCI, right at the start,
then that student ought not to be studying the piano.
I think this is nuts, although you could probably teach a beginner
the C major prelude, the rest of WTC requires considerable
technical skill - to be able to play independent lines, voice
appropriately, careful articulation, understanding of fugue structure.
The WTC is absolutely essential, but I don't see how you
can expect a beginning child to _START_ with the WTC.

Do any teachers agree with this idea?
Post by Bernhard Steiner
But, I think you greatly underestimate how malleable a child's mind is,
and what a
Post by Bernhard Steiner
child with even a little bit of talent can do.
This is ironic on your part, as you said previously that according to
the Suzuki method, EVERY child can develop an amazing talent.
I definitely believe every child can learn to play well with
proper instruction and support. But it takes a lot of time, energy,
direction, (tuition), emotional committment. Even Suzuki
starts with simple melodies and works up to Bach minuets,
inventions then the WTC. My traditional piano teacher does the same.

I don't think we're going to agree about Suzuki, so let me close
by asking you to perform a thought experiment.

If you had a young child that you wanted to provide a superior
musical instruction, how would you go about it. What a child
experiences at young age shapes him or her for life in many ways.
How would _you_ go about it? In practical, simple terms if you can.
I'm not asking for a lecture about 19th century musical style, but
how to best instruct young children to help them be good/great
musicians.
pat marson
2004-10-26 05:51:06 UTC
Permalink
X-No-Archive: Yes
Post by Alex Blakemore
I think this is nuts, although you could probably teach a beginner
the C major prelude, the rest of WTC requires considerable
technical skill - to be able to play independent lines, voice
appropriately, careful articulation, understanding of fugue structure.
The WTC is absolutely essential, but I don't see how you
can expect a beginning child to _START_ with the WTC.
The idea is of course absurd on it's face, as is most of the rhetoric
coming from mr sayers. To attempt to have a beginner learn, say,
the C major fugue from book I would be insanity, and could put the
student off from ever wanting to play the piano again.
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-26 14:47:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
You were the one who described (in a very
understated way) how the Suzuki method neglects technique ...
I never said any such thing.
The Suzuki teachers and students I know devote themselves
wholeheartedly to improving technique, tone and musicality.
Its a lifelong journey, and the Suzuki method
is a great way to start it IMHO. Its not the only way.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
If a student isn't ready for anything in WTCI, right at the start,
then that student ought not to be studying the piano.
I think this is nuts, although you could probably teach a beginner
the C major prelude, the rest of WTC requires considerable
technical skill - to be able to play independent lines, voice
appropriately, careful articulation, understanding of fugue structure.
The WTC is absolutely essential, but I don't see how you
can expect a beginning child to _START_ with the WTC.
There are fugues in there in two, three four and five parts. The
various preludes, in their own way, are technical studies of certain
things - one can learn a great deal about musical composition and
style, and lay the foundation for a big technique, with them.

Nyiregyhazi, Liszt, Chopin and Beethoven didn't seem to have any
trouble starting off with WTCI when they were children.....I didn't
have any trouble with it. All they are, are preludes and fugues -
they aren't Liszt's Grande Etudes de Paganini, or Thalberg's opera
phantasies.

I began my piano studies with Bach's WTCI, Bach-Busoni transcriptions,
and Scriabin's Preludes Op. 11.

A child can begin with the two part fugue in E Minor, from the WTCI,
and Liszt's Mazeppa (for octaves, alternated raisind of hands,
preliminary work on thirds and scales, and so forth) from the
transcendental etudes. There is nothing hard in either piece......the
Mazeppa is probably just at a medium level of difficulty. In my
experience, children adapt quickly to medium level demands - often
times I find that the have been severly stunted by being kept at the
beginner level by some other teacher. It is in crossing the threshold
into the harder pieces, that some large effort might be required. But
anyone with some talent, can arrive at the medium level fairly
quickly.

The Mazeppa is a long piece, and it wouldn't be expected to be done
over night. But, after doing the Mazeppa, all the other Liszt that
emphasizes octaves, thirds, and so forth, will be acquirable much more
quickly.

If the kid's hands are too small for the octave demands in the
Mazeppa......he can start off with some late Liszt works, which teach
a tremendous deal about listening to piano tone, concentrating on the
tone as it is being produced, and practice in developing the technique
for an extra-wide range of dynamics.

While he works on Bach's WTCI, he can do technical exercises in
anticipation of the Liszt that strains his capacity for relentless
octaves - exercises in double consecutive thirds, double consecutive
sixths, trills, chromatic scales (with added notes, and fingered for
being played by the outer hand), and so forth.

When he is ready for that Liszt, he will already have a developed
sense of style, and the technique to make that Liszt readily
accessible to practice.

He will be nearing readiness to tackle almost anything. But things
have to be done in the right order, to bring about this result.

Piano mastery consists of methods and procedures. Too many pianists
try to take short cuts......and the seams abundantlty show in their
playing, and the amount of time they have to spend practicing new
repertoire.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
But, I think you greatly underestimate how malleable a child's mind is,
and what a
Post by Bernhard Steiner
child with even a little bit of talent can do.
This is ironic on your part, as you said previously that according to
the Suzuki method, EVERY child can develop an amazing talent.
I definitely believe every child can learn to play well with
proper instruction and support. But it takes a lot of time, energy,
direction, (tuition), emotional committment. Even Suzuki
starts with simple melodies and works up to Bach minuets,
inventions then the WTC. My traditional piano teacher does the same.
I don't think every child can learn to play well. It takes one with a
special interest in wanting to play well, and it takes a certain
amount of natural facility. Perhaps we are looking at......1-2 per
cent of all children.

Of course, as we have discussed, I have a higher standard of what
constitutes "playing well", than you seem to be advocating.

I encounter university piano majors all the time, who have evaded
rigorous work on things such as double consecutive thirds. It is
obvious what separates them from their conservatory level peers.
Post by Alex Blakemore
I don't think we're going to agree about Suzuki, so let me close
by asking you to perform a thought experiment.
If you had a young child that you wanted to provide a superior
musical instruction, how would you go about it. What a child
experiences at young age shapes him or her for life in many ways.
How would _you_ go about it? In practical, simple terms if you can.
I'm not asking for a lecture about 19th century musical style, but
how to best instruct young children to help them be good/great
musicians.
I think it is already clear enough what I do. Most of the time has to
be spent in direct supervision of practice results and assignments.
There has to be some time (very little) for hearing pianists like
Nyiregyhazi. There has to be some time for coaching on exercise (I
feel that strength and stamina are extremely important for a pianist -
especially for women pianists, who are naturally lacking in strength).
There has to be time discussing, if the person is old enough to be
capable of such a discussion, musical aesthetics, literature and
philosophy as they apply to music, and as they apply to the aims and
goals of a musician - does he understand that all the seas are made
for him, and that no one can interpose between him and his beatific
vision unless he so allows that person to do so?

During those six years that Liszt didn't perform, he spent six hours a
day studying things like Shakespeare and Dante, in order to raise his
universal level of awareness so that he could bring more to bear on
his piano playing.

If you ever listen to Joachim's and Nyiregyhazi's recordings, I think
we will be able to talk about 19th century style in more concrete
terms. For what students I have had, I have tried to impart a
considerable freedom of tempo, rhythm and intonation - and the devices
for heightening and intensifying pianistic expression which are no
longer used (such as the breaking of hands). I don't think it is very
productive for us to keep discussing things which refer back to old
recordings and 19th century documentation, if I am the only one of us
two who has heard those recordings.


Regards,
Michael Sayers
Larry
2004-10-26 16:49:54 UTC
Permalink
catfood eating welfare recipient
Post by Bernhard Steiner
I began my piano studies with Bach's WTCI, Bach-Busoni transcriptions,
and Scriabin's Preludes Op. 11.
I don't think I've ever met such a sack of hot air as you, Sayer. You really
don't have much of a life, do you? How sad, that the only facet of your life is
a puffed up opinion of your musical talents, taken to such fantasy level
extremes. That must be an awfully big hole in your psyche you are trying to
fill.




Larry
The Wizard of Ahhhhs

Betsy
2004-10-20 15:17:10 UTC
Permalink
I'll stand in for Alex as proxy.

First, don't join Suzuki USA unless you ultimately want a big headache
dealing with the list founder. Disclaimer before s/he jumps down my throat:
"my opinion only". Visit the archives of rec.music.makers.bowed-strings and
look up "Connie Sunday" if you want more information.

Second, I've been teaching Suzuki piano for 23 years and violin for 14. So
I am highly qualified to argue with you point for point. Have at it.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
No thanks. The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
And you have what vast experience with the Suzuki method to make this claim?
Suzuki method student?
teacher?
parent?
education researcher?
Or did you just read about it, and observe someone play and make
decide this?
You won't need to know who I am, in order to read my posts.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Suzuki's ideas are mostly about how to motivate and effectively
teach children to develop complex skills. Like anything, there are people
that incorporate his ideas well into his teaching (where they work well) and
others who do so less successfully. But the ideas are very sound.
If you are criticizing some technical aspect such as bow hold, vibrato
or something else then you are completely missing the point.
His approach is about how to help children reach full potential,
and it works.
What is the Liszt method anyway? And the Joachim method?
Are they a set of concepts for teaching children music or are
they something else? Are they even comparable?
In order for you and I to discuss the shortcomings of the Suzuki
method, and to avoid any miscommunication, we are going to have to get
down to specifics, and you are going to have to disclose the specific
things of which, in your understanding, the Suzuki method consists.
The Liszt and Joachim methods, have nothing to do with the Suzuki
method. Since the subject of the thread is the Suzuki method - and
not the Liszt or Joachim method - lets start off by you giving me a
Of what specific components, as they are understood by you, does the
Suzuki method consist?
Tech_Fiddle
2004-10-20 23:31:02 UTC
Permalink
Betsy, that's just another excuse to be meanspirited and attack me
personally. I have a daughter who is bipolar and who had a breakdown
not too long ago; it is my daughter you're talking about, though I'm
sure you'll deny it. Everyone who knows me, personally, however,
knows Susan, and you're just embarrassing yourself.

Really, you should be ashamed not to be able to distinguish between
the writings of a 17-year-old manic depressant and her 54-year-old
mother. Susan's in England now, in an outpatience clinic, and one of
the reasons is because of people like you who attacked her online so
cruelly. Why don't you drop the subject and develop a little bit of
character and kindness? I've not seen that in you at all.

T.F.
Post by Betsy
I'll stand in for Alex as proxy.
First, don't join Suzuki USA unless you ultimately want a big headache
"my opinion only". Visit the archives of rec.music.makers.bowed-strings and
look up "Connie Sunday" if you want more information.
Second, I've been teaching Suzuki piano for 23 years and violin for 14. So
I am highly qualified to argue with you point for point. Have at it.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
No thanks. The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
And you have what vast experience with the Suzuki method to make this claim?
Suzuki method student?
teacher?
parent?
education researcher?
Or did you just read about it, and observe someone play and make
decide this?
You won't need to know who I am, in order to read my posts.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Suzuki's ideas are mostly about how to motivate and effectively
teach children to develop complex skills. Like anything, there are people
that incorporate his ideas well into his teaching (where they work well) and
others who do so less successfully. But the ideas are very sound.
If you are criticizing some technical aspect such as bow hold, vibrato
or something else then you are completely missing the point.
His approach is about how to help children reach full potential,
and it works.
What is the Liszt method anyway? And the Joachim method?
Are they a set of concepts for teaching children music or are
they something else? Are they even comparable?
In order for you and I to discuss the shortcomings of the Suzuki
method, and to avoid any miscommunication, we are going to have to get
down to specifics, and you are going to have to disclose the specific
things of which, in your understanding, the Suzuki method consists.
The Liszt and Joachim methods, have nothing to do with the Suzuki
method. Since the subject of the thread is the Suzuki method - and
not the Liszt or Joachim method - lets start off by you giving me a
Of what specific components, as they are understood by you, does the
Suzuki method consist?
Betsy
2004-10-21 04:11:49 UTC
Permalink
Yeah, right. And I've got a bridge you can buy.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Betsy, that's just another excuse to be meanspirited and attack me
personally. I have a daughter who is bipolar and who had a breakdown
not too long ago; it is my daughter you're talking about, though I'm
sure you'll deny it. Everyone who knows me, personally, however,
knows Susan, and you're just embarrassing yourself.
Really, you should be ashamed not to be able to distinguish between
the writings of a 17-year-old manic depressant and her 54-year-old
mother. Susan's in England now, in an outpatience clinic, and one of
the reasons is because of people like you who attacked her online so
cruelly. Why don't you drop the subject and develop a little bit of
character and kindness? I've not seen that in you at all.
T.F.
Post by Betsy
I'll stand in for Alex as proxy.
First, don't join Suzuki USA unless you ultimately want a big headache
"my opinion only". Visit the archives of rec.music.makers.bowed-strings and
look up "Connie Sunday" if you want more information.
Second, I've been teaching Suzuki piano for 23 years and violin for 14.
So
I am highly qualified to argue with you point for point. Have at it.
Post by Bernhard Steiner
Post by Alex Blakemore
Post by Bernhard Steiner
No thanks. The Liszt and Joachim methods are far superior. MJS.
And you have what vast experience with the Suzuki method to make this claim?
Suzuki method student?
teacher?
parent?
education researcher?
Or did you just read about it, and observe someone play and make
decide this?
You won't need to know who I am, in order to read my posts.
Post by Alex Blakemore
Suzuki's ideas are mostly about how to motivate and effectively
teach children to develop complex skills. Like anything, there are people
that incorporate his ideas well into his teaching (where they work
well)
and
others who do so less successfully. But the ideas are very sound.
If you are criticizing some technical aspect such as bow hold, vibrato
or something else then you are completely missing the point.
His approach is about how to help children reach full potential,
and it works.
What is the Liszt method anyway? And the Joachim method?
Are they a set of concepts for teaching children music or are
they something else? Are they even comparable?
In order for you and I to discuss the shortcomings of the Suzuki
method, and to avoid any miscommunication, we are going to have to get
down to specifics, and you are going to have to disclose the specific
things of which, in your understanding, the Suzuki method consists.
The Liszt and Joachim methods, have nothing to do with the Suzuki
method. Since the subject of the thread is the Suzuki method - and
not the Liszt or Joachim method - lets start off by you giving me a
Of what specific components, as they are understood by you, does the
Suzuki method consist?
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-21 08:22:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Betsy, that's just another excuse to be meanspirited and attack me
personally. I have a daughter who is bipolar and who had a breakdown
not too long ago; it is my daughter you're talking about, though I'm
sure you'll deny it. Everyone who knows me, personally, however,
knows Susan, and you're just embarrassing yourself.
Really, you should be ashamed not to be able to distinguish between
the writings of a 17-year-old manic depressant and her 54-year-old
mother. Susan's in England now, in an outpatience clinic, and one of
the reasons is because of people like you who attacked her online so
cruelly. Why don't you drop the subject and develop a little bit of
character and kindness? I've not seen that in you at all.
T.F.
Betsy's post didn't say anything about your daughter.......but Betsy
did forewarn us that you would attack her.

Surely thous jests, and is posting an elaborate satire?
Mizz Marcia Ryder
2004-10-21 01:14:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tech_Fiddle
You are cordially invited to join SusukiUSA at
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/SuzukiUSA/
This group is designed for Suzuki method teachers, teacher trainers,
students and parents based in the US. The list of instruments which
strings (violin primarily), and also viola, cello, bass, guitar,
flute, recorder and piano. Everyone interested in Suzuki method is of
course welcome, but we feel we need a list which will provide space
for annoncements and chat for the US based groups.
I find it ironic that you would limit participation in a group you
have devised when it appears your knowledge of it the subject
is weak.

I say this because anyone with even the most rudimentary introduction
to Suzuki teaching knows Suzuki not a method.
It is a philosophy.

<snip>
Post by Tech_Fiddle
We know a lot of people will say, why do you need a new list, since
the suzukichat list is so successful, but we do feel that there is a
place for a list which is primarily based in the states, with US based
activities.
I wouldn't say that. It's probably not a bad idea as long as it's
not self-serving to promote your business.

Marsha
Radu Focshaner
2004-10-21 17:34:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tech_Fiddle
You are cordially invited to join SusukiUSA at
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/SuzukiUSA/
This group is designed for Suzuki method teachers, teacher trainers,
students and parents based in the US. The list of instruments which
strings (violin primarily), and also viola, cello, bass, guitar,
flute, recorder and piano. Everyone interested in Suzuki method is of
course welcome, but we feel we need a list which will provide space
for annoncements and chat for the US based groups.
What a maroon !

See this : http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/suzuki.html

What an im-BE-cile !
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-22 00:20:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Radu Focshaner
Post by Tech_Fiddle
You are cordially invited to join SusukiUSA at
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/SuzukiUSA/
This group is designed for Suzuki method teachers, teacher trainers,
students and parents based in the US. The list of instruments which
strings (violin primarily), and also viola, cello, bass, guitar,
flute, recorder and piano. Everyone interested in Suzuki method is of
course welcome, but we feel we need a list which will provide space
for annoncements and chat for the US based groups.
What a maroon !
See this : http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/suzuki.html
What an im-BE-cile !
Many thanks for the link, Radu. I will be posting my commentary on
the various items shortly, which appear to all be connected (albeit,
sometimes tenuously) with supporting the Suzuki method. I am
presenting some preliminary observations here, before I work around to
my in-depth criticisms:


I) at http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/
Joachim and Primrose are missing from the recommended
recordings list - even when I clicked on "More Extensive
List", they did not appear.


II) at http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/elitism.html
a number of untrue assertions are made, including that
Emerson was an egalitarian, and this comment:

"A cultured and enlightened educator must tread a path
between the needs of a democratic society and a devotion
to the best in art, science, literature and human thought."

This sounds like a comment from an author who has
obviously not adequately meditated upon Alexis de
Tocqueville, Plato, John Stuart Mill and Ortga y'Gasset.
The problem is with the path treading between "the needs
of democracy" and a "devotion to the best in art, science,
literature and human thought" - it is precisely by way
of this path treading that democracy slowly pulls
everything down to the lowest common denominators.


III) in regard to http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/culture.html

While I rarely encounter someone who knows about many of the
same things in which I was educated, there is a serious
omission from the test:

no quizzing on Greek and Latin grammar, vocabulary or authors


IV) in regard to http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/free.html

The term "freethinking" is mistakenly used in place of
"empiricism".


V) in regard to http://www.geocities.com/sar43wong/index.htm

Harry Partch, for instance, is listed as a "contemporary"
composer. He is a modern composer - to be contemporary,
he would have to not be deceased.


VI) at http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/history.html

In the "value of free thought" heading, Bertrand Russell
again, in spite of his frequent depth of intellect, and the
beauty that is revealed in his autobiography, reveals that
a dogmatic and narrowminded empiricism is one of his prime
limitations - the 1924 Logical Atomism lectures not
withstanding.


VII) in regard to http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/nannerl.html

An unbridled hostility towards Rousseau is exhibited,
reminiscent of Wollenstonecraft's misplaced criticisms of
his writing.


VIII) at http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/new.html ,

which is subtitled "interesting reading", a number of items
are listed, which in fact do not make for interesting reading.


IX) in regard to http://www.geocities.com/techfiddle/pianovlavc.html

Georgy Sandor's book is omitted - but a book on "Making Money
Teaching Music" is listed.


My in depth criticisms are forthcoming. Connie Sunday's site presents
better than I have seen it done so anywhere else, the myriad of
fallacies underlying the Suzuki method. It is mainly because she is
such a smart woman, that this is done so well.

I feel this will be a good adjunct to discussion format posting, in
order to stimulate critical thinking about the Suzuki method - a
method that seems to be thought of as above reproach by its adherents.


Regards,
Michael Sayers
Mizz Marcia Ryder
2004-10-22 06:13:55 UTC
Permalink
"Radu Focshaner" <
Post by Radu Focshaner
Post by Tech_Fiddle
You are cordially invited to join SusukiUSA at
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/SuzukiUSA/
This group is designed for Suzuki method teachers, teacher trainers,
students and parents based in the US. The list of instruments which
strings (violin primarily), and also viola, cello, bass, guitar,
flute, recorder and piano. Everyone interested in Suzuki method is of
course welcome, but we feel we need a list which will provide space
for annoncements and chat for the US based groups.
What a maroon !
See this : http://www.geocities.com/conniesunday/suzuki.html
What an im-BE-cile !
Yuk, yuk. Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo.
Pick two!

Marsha
Tech_Fiddle
2004-10-21 19:31:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mizz Marcia Ryder
I find it ironic that you would limit participation in a group you
have devised when it appears your knowledge of it the subject
is weak.
I say this because anyone with even the most rudimentary introduction
to Suzuki teaching knows Suzuki not a method.
It is a philosophy.
I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. Try it: if you Google "Suzuki method"
you get the following (with most of the prominent Suzuki pages using
the phrase):


_____________________________

Suzuki Method WWW NetworkLinks to Suzuki Method WWW Network sites and
to Suzuki Violin and Suzuki Piano WWW sites - 1st online Suzuki Method
teachers directory - Job listings for ...
www.suzuki-music.com/ - 16k - Cached - Similar pages


America Suzuki Music, Suzuki Association of the Americas, Music
...2005 International Suzuki Conference The International Suzuki
Conference will be held at the University of New South Wales in
Sydney, Australia for teachers ...
www.suzukiassociation.org/ - 37k - Oct 20, 2004 - Cached - Similar
pages


Suzuki Association of the Americas... If you are interested in the
Suzuki Method, it is the perfect opportunity to become educated in its
principles. | Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc. ...
www.suzukiassociation.org/ SuzukiWeb/Parents/Twinkler/Twinkler1.htm -
14k - Cached - Similar pages
[ More results from www.suzukiassociation.org ]


AMERICA'S SUZUKI MUSIC ACADEMYLearn about America's Suzuki Music
Academy, center for Suzuki Method classical music study, where
children, as young as 2, start formal classical music training ...
www.suzukimusicacademy.com/ - 20k - Cached - Similar pages


The Suzuki MethodThe Suzuki Method. What is the Suzuki Method? ...
Suzuki in Sydney, Australia. The Suzuki method has been active in
Sydney for many years. ...
www.geocities.com/Vienna/1116/suzuki.html - 5k - Cached - Similar
pages


Suzuki method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaSuzuki method. From
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Suzuki method is a way of
learning to play music. It was invented in ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_method - 9k - Cached - Similar pages


Yahoo! Directory: Music Education > Suzuki MethodYahoo! reviewed these
sites and found them related to Music Education > Suzuki Method. ...
Music Education > Suzuki Method. ... What is the Suzuki Method? Yahoo!
...
dir.yahoo.com/Entertainment/ Music/Education/Suzuki_Method/ - 10k -
Cached - Similar pages


Talent Education Reseach InstituteINDEX. &#9632;What is the Suzuki
Method &#65311; &#12539;History &#12539;The Basic Principle
&#12539;Expands Throughout the World &#12539;Especially Memorial
Events &#9632;Personal History of ...
www.suzukimethod.or.jp/indexE.html - 10k - Cached - Similar pages


Suzuki method Suzuki violin school AdelaideMaxine's Music Plus page:
Suzuki violin method, upbow newsletter, Suzuki chat group, Australia,.
... Read about Dr Suzuki, the man who invented the method. ...
ching.apana.org.au/~oliri/suzuki.html - 11k - Cached - Similar pages


Amazon.com: Books: Suzuki Violin Method in American: Suzuki Method
...Suzuki Violin Method in American: Suzuki Method Symposium (About
Suzuki), John Kendall, John D. Kendall. ...
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ tg/detail/-/0874872804?v=glance - 52k -
Cached - Similar pages
Betsy
2004-10-22 03:31:59 UTC
Permalink
Yes. And everybody knows they shouldn't. Except you.
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Post by Mizz Marcia Ryder
I find it ironic that you would limit participation in a group you
have devised when it appears your knowledge of it the subject
is weak.
I say this because anyone with even the most rudimentary introduction
to Suzuki teaching knows Suzuki not a method.
It is a philosophy.
I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. Try it: if you Google "Suzuki method"
you get the following (with most of the prominent Suzuki pages using
_____________________________
Suzuki Method WWW NetworkLinks to Suzuki Method WWW Network sites and
to Suzuki Violin and Suzuki Piano WWW sites - 1st online Suzuki Method
teachers directory - Job listings for ...
www.suzuki-music.com/ - 16k - Cached - Similar pages
America Suzuki Music, Suzuki Association of the Americas, Music
...2005 International Suzuki Conference The International Suzuki
Conference will be held at the University of New South Wales in
Sydney, Australia for teachers ...
www.suzukiassociation.org/ - 37k - Oct 20, 2004 - Cached - Similar
pages
Suzuki Association of the Americas... If you are interested in the
Suzuki Method, it is the perfect opportunity to become educated in its
principles. | Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc. ...
www.suzukiassociation.org/ SuzukiWeb/Parents/Twinkler/Twinkler1.htm -
14k - Cached - Similar pages
[ More results from www.suzukiassociation.org ]
AMERICA'S SUZUKI MUSIC ACADEMYLearn about America's Suzuki Music
Academy, center for Suzuki Method classical music study, where
children, as young as 2, start formal classical music training ...
www.suzukimusicacademy.com/ - 20k - Cached - Similar pages
The Suzuki MethodThe Suzuki Method. What is the Suzuki Method? ...
Suzuki in Sydney, Australia. The Suzuki method has been active in
Sydney for many years. ...
www.geocities.com/Vienna/1116/suzuki.html - 5k - Cached - Similar
pages
Suzuki method - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaSuzuki method. From
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Suzuki method is a way of
learning to play music. It was invented in ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_method - 9k - Cached - Similar pages
Yahoo! Directory: Music Education > Suzuki MethodYahoo! reviewed these
sites and found them related to Music Education > Suzuki Method. ...
Music Education > Suzuki Method. ... What is the Suzuki Method? Yahoo!
...
dir.yahoo.com/Entertainment/ Music/Education/Suzuki_Method/ - 10k -
Cached - Similar pages
Talent Education Reseach InstituteINDEX. &#9632;What is the Suzuki
Method &#65311; &#12539;History &#12539;The Basic Principle
&#12539;Expands Throughout the World &#12539;Especially Memorial
Events &#9632;Personal History of ...
www.suzukimethod.or.jp/indexE.html - 10k - Cached - Similar pages
Suzuki violin method, upbow newsletter, Suzuki chat group, Australia,.
... Read about Dr Suzuki, the man who invented the method. ...
ching.apana.org.au/~oliri/suzuki.html - 11k - Cached - Similar pages
Amazon.com: Books: Suzuki Violin Method in American: Suzuki Method
...Suzuki Violin Method in American: Suzuki Method Symposium (About
Suzuki), John Kendall, John D. Kendall. ...
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ tg/detail/-/0874872804?v=glance - 52k -
Cached - Similar pages
Tech_Fiddle
2004-10-22 14:23:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Betsy
Yes. And everybody knows they shouldn't. Except you.
Another brilliant observation from the land of DUH. You should go
join devilsbox. It would be perfect for you; no one is allowed to
join with an IQ over 100. :)
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-22 11:01:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tech_Fiddle
Post by Mizz Marcia Ryder
I find it ironic that you would limit participation in a group you
have devised when it appears your knowledge of it the subject
is weak.
I say this because anyone with even the most rudimentary introduction
to Suzuki teaching knows Suzuki not a method.
It is a philosophy.
I'm sorry, but you are mistaken. Try it: if you Google "Suzuki method"
you get the following (with most of the prominent Suzuki pages using
<the rest is snipped>
I am sorry, but Mrs. Ryder is right - there is a philosophical basis
for what is described in your many links as the "Suzuki method". But
that basis isn't necessarily what Suzuki adherents think that basis
is.

As to if there is a method to it: two or three guidelines, hardly
qualifies as a "method" for a mastering a musical instrument.


Michael Sayers
Bartolomeo Cristofori
2004-10-22 16:14:11 UTC
Permalink
I too would like to weigh in briefly in Mrs. Ryder's defense.

Much is made of the Suzuki, um, "way" having various interrelated
components that are all required to achieve good results. Among these
are the requirement for "certified" instructors, parental
participation, listening to recordings, and use of repertoire from
Suzuki method books.

Out here in the real world there are many instructors who pick and
choose, finding things that they like about the Suzuki, er, "way" that
they can incorporate into their own teaching "philosophy." Of these
many instructors who choose to follow their own "philosophy" while
utilizing some portions of the Suzuki "method," some are highly
effective.

Experienced, wise instructors with the proper background can and
should synthesize a "philosophy" of instruction of their own, picking
and choosing from the wide variety of resources out there. There is
no one "philosophy" that is right for every instructor or every
student, and I see the rigid insistence on following all aspects of
the Suzuki "way" as one of the shortcomings of Suzuki.

Bartolomeo
Betsy
2004-10-22 16:41:35 UTC
Permalink
The fact is, that Suzuki himself adjured all teachers to call their method
of teaching the "Suzuki-name of teacher inserted here-Method". He is
responsible for pulling together threads of various approaches and calling
it his philosophy. That is why it is wrong to use the term "Suzuki Method".
There is none. There are a lot of teachers who are adherents to his
philosophy, and put any two of them together in a room and you will have at
least two wildly divergent applications of any particular point in this
philosophy. This goes for "teacher trainers" as well.

In fact, all of these ideas Suzuki propounds, excepting that of modern
technology, are as old as the hills, and his genius lies solely in their
synthesis.

Traditional musicians and many popular musicians learn the same way as
Suzuki students, i.e. ear before eye. That has been true since the
beginning of time, and hopefully (for the preservation of these art forms)
will continue for all time! Suzuki merely extrapolated that these
principles could be applied to learning Western art music, and a lot of
other skills BTW (there are Suzuki early childhood education programs around
the world).
Post by Bartolomeo Cristofori
I too would like to weigh in briefly in Mrs. Ryder's defense.
Much is made of the Suzuki, um, "way" having various interrelated
components that are all required to achieve good results. Among these
are the requirement for "certified" instructors, parental
participation, listening to recordings, and use of repertoire from
Suzuki method books.
Out here in the real world there are many instructors who pick and
choose, finding things that they like about the Suzuki, er, "way" that
they can incorporate into their own teaching "philosophy." Of these
many instructors who choose to follow their own "philosophy" while
utilizing some portions of the Suzuki "method," some are highly
effective.
Experienced, wise instructors with the proper background can and
should synthesize a "philosophy" of instruction of their own, picking
and choosing from the wide variety of resources out there. There is
no one "philosophy" that is right for every instructor or every
student, and I see the rigid insistence on following all aspects of
the Suzuki "way" as one of the shortcomings of Suzuki.
Bartolomeo
Bernhard Steiner
2004-10-23 17:55:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Betsy
The fact is, that Suzuki himself adjured all teachers to call their method
of teaching the "Suzuki-name of teacher inserted here-Method". He is
responsible for pulling together threads of various approaches and calling
it his philosophy. That is why it is wrong to use the term "Suzuki Method".
There is none. There are a lot of teachers who are adherents to his
philosophy, and put any two of them together in a room and you will have at
least two wildly divergent applications of any particular point in this
philosophy. This goes for "teacher trainers" as well.
What I am getting it, is that a few guidelines doesn't constitute a
method for mastering an instrument - and, that I don't doubt Mr.
Suzuki had a philosophy, but rather it is the case that the
assumptions on which his thinking is habitually based, require some
analysis in order to be isolated for scrutiny.


Michael Sayers
http://profiles.yahoo.com/mjs112358
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