Dr. Suzuki was a big proponent of using technology to provide the best environment for students. He formally began his Talent Education School after World War II in the small farming community of Matsumoto. Students listened to recordings of great artists. As early as the graduation concert in 1953, Dr. Suzuki was listening to tapes of students playing as a part of their graduation process. There are many accounts of how he would awake at 4:00 AM and listen to all of the tapes submitted to him from around Japan. Just from listening to the tapes he would be able to tell specifically how the student was playing, such as holding the bow, bowing, posture, etc. He would give specific advice on how to improve their tone through technique, as well as encouragement, a graduation certificate, and the opportunity to perform in the Graduation concert.
Dr. Kataoka was very interested in the Blu-Ray technology with it’s superior sound and video capabilities. She had a collection of famous pianists that had recorded on Blu-Ray. Additionally, all of the 10 Piano Concerts in Matsumoto are professionally recorded, as well as many of the concerts. So, there is a history of openness in the Suzuki Method for using technology as a tool for learning.
Let’s research how to use technology to help us create an optimum environment for learning:
1. Recordings: Please use a collection of recordings and make play-lists. These play-lists can be put in various places from the car to the MP3 player, as well as on the iPhone, or burned onto a CD.
It is good to make sure that your child hears pieces they are working on now as well as next month, next year, and even years from now. For example students in Book 1 can listen to pieces in Books 2 and 3, or the graduation level pieces including piano concertos. These pieces can be mixed in to their working pieces, or listened to at special times. Often times in the lesson I will make a specific listening assignment for that week.
2. Video blog: The studio video blog on this website has postings of Suzuki students playing the repertoire beginning as far back as 1996. I am regularly adding to this library. This is a wonderful place for your child to spend time watching and listening to piano students perform:
3. You Tube: On my You-tube homepage I have a section devoted to Suzuki repertoire. Some of them are professional pianists, and others are students. I also have piano music sorted by performer, and am beginning to save according to individual pieces. When I am writing blogs, I am researching You Tube and playing it at the same time. This is inspirational to me.
4. Recorded lessons: Having a record of the lesson is a very useful tool. The camera is in the best position to be able to see the body balance of the student. When you view the video you can really see the posture, how we are working on it, and how it affects the sound and the playing.
This is more valuable than written notes. For students whose lessons are getting longer it is a good idea to “track” the different sections of the lesson. This way there will be different sections on the video recording that you can view separately. To do this turn the camera to pause and then back to record. For example, the scale, reading, each piece, or a special practice section. This will make it much easier to get directly to the section that is the most useful.
5. Books and Blogs: There are many good books on ability development that have come out in the last couple years. I will be writing some blogs on the book “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle. You may be able to get it at your local library.
all the best,