Book recitals!

Yesterday I watched a series of Suzuki Violin would-be teachers play pieces from whatever books they are working on. Today I watched one Suzuki Cello would-be teacher play his book 2 and 3 recital. He played both books back-to-back from memory with no break, it took about 45 minutes. Prior to this recital Mr. Takahashi and I went for tea and I watched him listen with a slight grimace to the classical music being piped in over the loud speakers. Every once in awhile he'd interject, "too fast." Or shaking his head, "equal temperament."

Over tea, Mr. T spoke of the apprenticeships in old Japan, where a master would take on just one talented student and that student would live with their master for years and just observe. Finally, after years of watching, the Sensei would say "I think you are ready" and show them how to do it once, if that student didn't get it on the first try, he was out. "In Suzuki," Mr. T reflected, "we must nurture everyone and make sure they understand."

As much as it would be an enormous amount of work, these recitals made me kind of regret that the SAA doesn't require Book graduations of its teacher-trainees. There's really no way to ensure that people would be able to have the music memorized in 5 days time (generally most people don't come with the book memorized already)

When the cello was done, Mr. Takahashi drove me back to Mrs. Ishii's and on the way he asked what I thought. I said I thought he played pretty well - good tone, good intonation, nice dynamics. He said the problem is that the student has to play like his teacher-trainer. Mr. T said there were no moments where he soared, the music was fine 3-dimensionally but lacked the fourth dimension of soul or life.

Tough judge.

It made me wonder what he would say if he heard me play Book 1 or 2 or 3. Do I play Mary or Twinkle with soul?

It made me wonder what I would say about my Book 1 or 2 or 3 playing.

Better than the students that you're teaching is not good enough. I've been inspired to start using Book 1 as warm-up tone pieces. We'll see what I think of that. (and if the students notice a difference or not!)

Ps. Counted 17 more vending machines on my walk this morning in the half that I hadn't counted before.