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Listen to Dr. Suzuki Speaking!


INTRODUCTION TO DR. SUZUKI SPEAKS (TRANSCRIPTION ON BOTTOM)

Dr. Suzuki listened to 12,000 to 15,000 graduation tapes a year. Each day the staff carried two full shopping bags full of cassettes that were sent by students from around the country for him to hear. He listened until the wee hours of the morning and recorded some brief comments to the students at the end. Students from English speaking countries, especially Australia and New Zealand, gradually became aware of this and wanted to send tapes to Dr. Suzuki as well. Dr. Suzuki did not have the time to record separate comments in English for all of the foreign students so he wrote down a general comment in Japanese which was translated into English by Lili Selden. He then read the result on tape around 1985. Ironically, he didn’t use the Suzuki Method to prepare for the recording and there are several mispronunciations. By listening to this recording, you can get a sense of Dr. Suzuki’s warmth and caring for the growth and development of each individual student to a high level. The hope is that this recording will inspire more students to practice carefully with the practice recordings by Dr. Suzuki according to his teaching.  

  Dr. Suzuki also recorded practice tapes for learning 100 Haiku by Kobayashi Issa. For each haiku, he recites the haiku, explains the general meaning and implications and then does some rhythmic drill. First he recites the first part of the haiku followed by a period of silence when the student recites the first part, followed by the balance of the haiku. A bell sounds after a few seconds and the student needs to finish their part before the bell. The review is built into the tapes and students gradually recite longer sequences of haiku going from the five most recent all the way up to twenty five to fifty, one after the other. The tapes are accompanied by beautifully illustrated flash cards by the woman who taught calligraphy to the teacher trainees at the Talent Education Institute for many years.  

  At a typical twinkle graduation, a Japanese student will recite the first twenty haiku with the tape. The haiku mostly deal with simple nature scenes but also deal with classic Japanese scenes and some philosophical topics. Dr. Suzuki recorded them informally and when he made a mistake, he simply said, “Oh, teacher made a mistake” and went on. The last haiku deals with a person thinking about their life and death. Dr. Suzuki didn’t quite mention death. Instead he said that in this haiku the person is thinking about his, well….. you know….right…and didn’t actually mention the word for death.

  From 1983 to 1986 Donald Becker, director of the Suzuki Institute of Boston made a series of study tapes with English translation so that people who are not native speakers of Japanese can learn and understand the 100 haiku. We hope to make samples of these study tapes available at some point.

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Transcription of the recording

  I enjoyed hearing you play. I am very happy that you are practicing hard and you can play so well. Study well every day. The importance is still to review daily. Please always play your old pieces over and over again with the tapes. Doing this increases abilities. As your ability grows, your next pieces will be completed more and more easily. So review is very important for fast progress. In Suzuki Method repeating old things daily and playing with the tape are most important. You can play them well so it is fun, isn’t it? When you finish then practice your new piece. Please divide your daily practice into two parts like that. OK? If you do that you will be able to easily learn your new piece very soon and quickly progress. This is Suzuki Method, would you do that for me? Also did you know that there are certain days when you don’t have to practice? Now listen well and don’t forget that only days on which you don’t have to practice are the days on which that you don’t eat anything from morning to evening. So each day that you eat breakfast is a day for practicing very hard. Ok? By practicing and doing your review every day and really playing all the pieces with the tape you become very musical and develop high sensitivity and ability you will be a mature musician. Since you study so well I expect a lot from you. Bring all this and study well to be come a fine person. I am waiting to hear from you again. Don’t study music like my English! So, say hello to your family and teacher for me. Goodbye I wish you happiness.