I just got back from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Mount Royal University was hosting the very first Suzuki Trumpet Teacher Training ever given in North America. I was one of ten students in the course, and the teacher was the only teacher trainer in the world: Ann-Marie Sundberg of Sweden.
I knew a little about Suzuki music education, because my two children have both developed in Suzuki studios (violin and flute). I have been impressed for years by their early start, rapid progress and confidence as young instrumentalists. Compared to my education as a trumpeter, they are much better technically, they have a far greater and more serious repertoire, and their ears are more refined than I was at their age.
I read about Ms. Sundberg’s Suzuki teaching and teacher training a few years ago, and I eventually wrote to her asking how I could learn how to teach Suzuki trumpet. She wrote back, saying that I would have to fly to Sweden three times in one year in order get the certification. As much as I would like to visit Sweden that many times, I realized it would be quite an expensive undertaking. I put it off that year.
Fortunately, one of her students, Natalie DeJong, who is on the faculty of Mount Royal University, arranged to have Ms. Sundberg come to Calgary in Alberta, Canada last August (2016) to give an eight-day seminar to do the entire training for the first unit (training to teach the first book of Suzuki trumpet). So, when I heard about this possibility, I signed up right away.
On the day before the trumpet training, I took the required all-day prerequisite course called Every Child Can. I formally learned about the general history and philosophy of the Suzuki school, named after the founder, the Japanese violinist, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, whose revelation came when he realized that “all Japanese children speak Japanese.” In other words, all children learn effortlessly how to speak their own language regardless how difficult that language is. He applied this language learning process to music learning. But perhaps the most important take away from learning about the Suzuki philosophy is that it is not primarily for teaching children how to be better musicians, but it is a way to nurture them to become “fine and noble human beings.” That is a concept I can truly believe in, and I am really excited about teaching students of my own very soon.
Next: Suzuki Trumpet Training, Part IINo tags for this post.