First Suzuki Piano Meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
When people ask me how I organized the first Piano Suzuki meeting in Sao Paulo Brazil, I must think about how I started in the Suzuki Method; and then I find myself asking me what makes this interesting?
It all started in New York City some years ago. I met three Brazilian violin players, two girls and one boy, now with 17, 19 and 21 years old. In my life I had never heard anybody playing the violin with such passion and pleasure like these three young Brazilians. They could get from music all satisfaction and pleasure that anything could give them. They were young and had all the opportunities teenagers have every day. However, for these young violin players, life was spending their summers in music camps, or playing in magnificent auditoriums such as Carnegie Hall, and other important theaters in Europe and in the USA.
Their mother, who is a good piano player from Brazil, and also a special friend of mine, used to be my piano teacher when I was a teenager. One day she showed me the school where her sons had been trained: School for Strings, in New York City.
At the same time, I was in New York City taking Dalcroze training and I was searching for a different approach for my students. I was trying to find a global way to develop students in a world in which things go too fast, and the children seem to be left on their own learning.
If they just look at a piece of paper, and try to make music without listening to the sounds deep inside, without feeling it in each muscle or nerve, none of it makes music- or sound in this modern world: TV, video games, computers, radios, and children love them no matter whether teachers and parents do or not. I thought that a good way to keep the students interested in making music was to have them feel more and make music with their whole body and their senses. That’s it. I was looking at three students who had learned music through observing, absorbing, repeating, and more than that; they had made music with love, self-confidence and pleasure.
That was my first step. The second was the Suzuki Philosophy. This is most important for the Suzuki Method. When I thought about a Suzuki course in Sao Paulo, Brazil, it was natural for me to think about the philosophy. It was also natural to invite Caroline Fraser to give the course because of her musicality and knowledge. During the last few years I have met many such brilliant Suzuki teachers who are also wonderful musicians in Institutes in the USA, and during festivals in Peru, Chile, Blumenau – Brazil. I wanted to bring many of them, for each one is unique in their instrument.
For readers who do not know, Sao Paulo is a state in Brazil without a tradition in Suzuki piano training. It was a big challenge to organize a course like this. I wanted to find a way to spread the Suzuki Philosophy to a large number of people from all over the country. In a big nation like Brazil it seemed as if it would be very difficult: I would say, it seemed like a dream.
At that point for me it did not matter to me whether or not the people were familiar with the Suzuki Method. If they were musicians, music teachers, piano teachers, they received a letter with information about the course.
Some months beforehand I met Maria Ignês Scavone Teixeira a well-known Suzuki piano teacher from Curitiba, in the South of Brazil. We decided to work on this together. The course would take place in Sao Paulo at the Tom sobre Tom, School of Music.
In April we decided to send a letter asking who was interested in participating at Suzuki course, and we also invited students. From this date until June we sent two more letters talking about the course and reminders of the dates. In this way people could keep the invitation in their minds and probably it made everything clearler for them. We received many e-mails, and faxes with questions about the course. We answered each one. This process made us fell closer and I think helped give the participants the confidence to come to Sao Paulo.
We had 53 teachers representing 13 cities from all over Brazil, and 18 students. Most of them were piano teachers but also violins, viola, cello, guitars and recorders teachers present.
The First Piano Suzuki Meeting was acclaimed by participants, a great opportunity to learn and enrich their teaching skills. I think that in addition, the course greatly benefited the teachers who could not afford to leave the country and attend conferences abroad.
I would like to thank Suzuki teachers and students all over the world, for the new ideas that are being incorporated into music teaching.
Brazil is growing little by little in the process of developing new cultural opportunities and I hope that we can continue walking this path towards great musical achievement.
Report from Clises Mulatti, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Volume 29, n° 2 – Winter, 2001
American Suzuki Journal
Official Publication of the American Suzuki Association
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