A Violin Teacher’s Reflection after SMAI Suzuki Book 1 Teacher Training Jan. 2018

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by Dave Obadja

I had been playing the violin for 6 years when I became interested in looking for a good method of violin teaching. I had never taught before because I felt that I myself am not a good violinist so I did not have the courage to teach. I always thought: “How can I teach properly if I do not know the method and cannot give a good example?” I did not want my students to become the victim of my doing.

Then my friend informed me that there would be Suzuki Violin Book One Training January 2018 in Indonesia and fortunately, the training is held at SPH which is near my apartment. So I decided to participate in this training just to get to know more about the Suzuki Method. In the beginning I was skeptical about this training, but as the training progressed I started to open my mind and try to understand. I used to think that Suzuki was a bad method.  I came to realize that I was totally wrong about the Suzuki Method and I really apologize for this!!  My previous teacher taught me using the Suzuki books, but it did not work well and even created many technical problems. So I blamed Suzuki because of that. Now I realize that even if he used the book, it does not mean that he used the method. I believe that he tried his best to teach me, but unfortunately he just was not properly trained in the Suzuki method.

Sometimes I wonder how do small children can play the violin so well, even much better than I. I used to think that probably they are talented and I just didn’t have the gift. Shinichi Suzuki believed that talent does not matter, every student can learn and play well. The Suzuki method teaches students systematically and carefully step by step so they can cover all the technical aspects from the very first time they learn the instrument. It was really amazing to understand how this method avoids mistakes so there will be no failure for students and teachers. This way every student definitely can achieve and do well, according to their own pace.

I was really moved when I learned that the core of Suzuki teaching is love. “When love is deep, much can be accomplished.” I truly believe that, and I can really see how Mr. Chen and Mrs. Chen teach their students (including us) with their whole heart. Suzuki gives every student and teacher a chance to share love through music. I am really thankful to God that I have the chance to participate this training. I enjoyed it very much. It changed my way of thinking in many ways. Before this training I used to see myself as a failure realizing that I will never be able to achieve my dream (ambition) as a professional violinist. I practiced really hard but I was never satisfied because I strove for perfection. Then I realized that I have forgotten the most important thing. There is no point doing it if there is no love. Even if I do not become a professional violinist, it does not matter. I am doing what I love which is playing the violin and that is enough. My ambition will never satisfy me, but love will.

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