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Suzuki Piano

Nehama Patkin was Director of Suzuki Piano Teacher Training in Melbourne as well as having been a practising Suzuki teacher. She taught children as young as age 3.

Suzuki Talent Education Association of Australia - Victoria ( Suzuki Music)
The Suzuki Music website offers information about Suzuki Philosophy and Methodology, Suzuki Music events and membership.

For more information or to join the Suzuki Talent Education of Australia - Victoria please contact Suzuki Music.

The article below appeared in The Age newspaper, in the My Career section on Saturday 3 November 2007.

Playing it by ear from young is the Suzuki way

A career as a Suzuki teacher can be rewarding in so many ways, says Nehama Patkin of the Suzuki Talent Education Association of Australia.

   Ms Patkin says a Suzuki teacher must love children and be willing to value the potential of every child with patience and understanding.

   "They also need to be proficient on an instrument and be prepared to attend regular professional development sessions being offered throughout the year in Australia and overseas," Ms Patkin says.

   The Suzuki method introduced by Dr Shinichi Suzuki is a philosophy and an education style that prides itself on placing a high value on teacher training, she says. "A teacher is not just about studying the music. We teach about life and communication, particularly between child and parent.

   "One of the cornerstones is respect for the child to help them to develop confidence and self-assurance. It's about character first and ability second, so parent education is a very important aspect of this method."

   Suzuki teacher training has three levels — primary, intermediate and advanced. The primary level involves eight lectures and 17 tutorials that are instrument specific for the violin, piano, cello, viola, double bass, guitar and flute.

   Lectures cover areas such as philosophy, parent education and child psychology. Tutorials cover reportoire based on a teaching method where teachers can observe their peers as part of the training.

   "We are constantly learning from observing each other in the what, why and how of the philosophy," Ms Patkin says.

   The Suzuki association also conducts a five-day festival every April for teachers, students and parents that includes instruction on instruments and enrichment classes.

   "Concerts are an important part of this education process as the sharing of abilities educates the whole child," she says.

   These children can go on to learn such things as the beauty of sound, memory, poise and respect. "But to achieve this you need to have the right teacher."

   The Suzuki method works on the premise of learning by listening, and the association insists parents attend lessons with the child every day.

   Talented young pupils can go on to perform with a school orchestra or take up opportunities provided by Melbourne Youth Music. "We have had great success stories over the years, such as Rebecca Chambers (former Young Australian of the Year) who has since completed a masters degree in New York.

   "Another is Louisa Breen, who is in great demand as an accompanist with the ABC and Australian National Academy of Music, as is David Tong, who won the ABC Young Performers Award at the tender age of 13. He is at Julliard on scholarship, having recently toured with the Twin Cellists."

Yvonne Nichols