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Showing posts from August, 2013

Interview with Daniel Gee on Starting a Suzuki Summer Institute

Welcome to Rethinking Genius, Danny! And congratulations on your institute's inaugural year. Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little about why you decided to start the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute.

Thank you, Danielle. I am actually an Austin transplant. I grew up on Long Island in New York and came to UT Austin to pursue my Masters in Music and Human Learning and work at the UT String Project. Austin was so wonderful that I could not leave. I currently teach Middle School Orchestra in Round Rock ISD and run a private Suzuki program- Suzuki Strings of Austin with a few of my colleagues.

The idea to host an Institute was a group effort. Having an Institute in Austin was not a foreign idea. There had been a history of an Institute in the past run by Laurie Scott and Bill Dick. There was also a Suzuki Institute at Texas State in San Marcos under Paula Byrd. However, there has not been anything for a number of years in our area. The Greater Austin Suz…

Dr. Suzuki Began Playing at the Age of 20

Shinichi Suzuki did not start out as a violin teacher.  His father was a violin maker but he did not actually start learning how to play until the age of twenty.

To me, this is hugely significant when trying to understand a method of teaching that prides itself on being able to work with very young children.  The founder of this approach to teaching was not some child prodigy, he was an adult beginner.
I think this speaks volumes for the power of time and consistency.  I've lost count of how many times an adult has told me it's too late for them, they're too old to start.  Yes, there are advantages to starting a child young.  Areas of the brain are activated that would otherwise be sealed off.  But this doesn't mean an adult can't learn.
If a child starts music at the age of four and sticks with it, there is no question that they will be a decent musician by the age of twenty-four.  But let's be honest here: anyone who devotes twenty years of serious study to