Establishing (or re-establishing) a successful practice routine

Wisdom from renowned Suzuki teacher, Zohara Rotem

Zohara Rotem is a pianist, Suzuki teacher and teacher trainer who has inspired many many teachers (including myself), parents and students through her unique ability to share her passion and knowledge of Suzuki talent education with warmth and authenticity. She hosts the Souloist Podcast - Conversations on soul, music, life and many things in between,  which includes a stream called SuzukiCast, dedicated to Suzuki Talent Education topics which is a great support and resource for Suzuki parents (and teachers). The latest four-part series, Back to the Groove, focuses on how to establish (or reestablish) a successful practise routine. Each episode is less than 20 minutes long, and I strongly suggest listening to one per week to really be able to absorb her valuable wisdom and put it into practise (pun intended)!

Listen to the first Back to the Groove episode: #23. SuzukiCast - Back to the Groove - Week 1 - Practice Pleasan‪t

Minuet in G

Pablo Casals plays Beethoven's Minuet in G

Pablo Casals was one of the greatest cello players. Students can listen to the way he plays this piece, which is the graduation piece for  violin level 2.

Dance of the witches

Theme from Witches Dance

Theme from Witches Dance, in Book 2 of the Suzuki violin repertoire, is a simplified version of the theme from Paganini's "Le Streghe". The celebrated violin virtuoso, Niccolo Paganini, was one of the greatest violin players, leaving his influence on modern violin technique. He wrote very complicated violin pieces, that he performed in his own concerts. This audio clip, should begin at the theme that students will recognise although it is not exactly the same as the book 2 piece!

Gavotte from ‘Mignon’

Gavotte from 'Mignon'

This cute clip of the Gavotte sung by Huguette Tourangeau playing ‘Mignon’ as part of an opera with Joan Sutherland.  In the storyline, the star character is a young girl called ‘Mignon’ who was a stolen child, recently freed by the handsome young man ‘Wilhelm’. Wilhelm agrees for her to stay with him in disguise as his page. In the scene with Gavotte you first see the character ‘Philine’, an actress who is played by Joan Sutherland, enter her luxurious bedroom where she is staying at a baron’s castle. Then ‘Wilhelm’ enters with ‘Mignon’, still in disguise. Wilhelm then leaves the room with Philine and, left alone in the room, Mignon tries on Philine’s costumes and make-up while singing the song "Me voici dans son boudoir (Here I am in her boudoir)" which is the Gavotte. Students can watch the whole thing if they are is interested!  Since this is an ‘abbreviated’ version of the opera, only the G major section of Gavotte is sung in this clip.


The Two Grenadiers

The Two Grenadiers

The Two Grenadiers, by R. Schumann, is a piece in Suzuki Violin volume 2.

Originally for a solo voice and piano, this Romantic Era song  "Die beiden Grenadiere" is Heinrich Heine's famous Romanze style poem, set to music by Robert Schumann. The poem depicts two French soldiers lamenting France's defeat after the capture of Napoleon, and patriotic spirit of one. The latter part features the melody of the French National Anthem "La Marseillaise".

This youtube video has the song along with the translation (from the German) as it is sung. The gist that can be explained to young violin players is – "two tired defeated soldiers were walking a long long way, very sad.  then they remembered their home which raised their spirits, so they sang their national anthem!!" – or something like that!.


Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus

Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus

The first piece in Book 2 is Chorus from Judas Maccabaeus by G.F. Handel. It is the chorus from an oratorio, which is a large-scale, usually narrative musical work for orchestra and voices, typically on a sacred theme, performed without costume, scenery, or action. The oratorio Judas Maccabaeus was devised as a compliment to the victorious Prince William Augustus, upon his return from the Battle of Culloden (16 April 1746).  So it is supposed to sound very ‘grand’ and ‘victorious’! Another well-known is oratorio is Handel's Messiah, containing the Hallelujah chorus.

Below is a YouTube Clip of part of the oratorio which contains the Chorus.

The words to the chorus if she would like to sing along are:

See the conqu’ring hero comes

Sound the trumpet, beat the drums

Sports prepare, the laurel bring

Songs of triumph to him sing

See the conqu’ring hero comes

Sound the trumpet beat the drums

The picture shown in the YouTube clip is of the triumphant Judas Maccabaeus and his army.

40th Suzuki Graduation Concert

40th Suzuki Graduation Conert

Enjoy this link to the the 40th Suzuki Graduation Concert, Sydney Opera House 2018.

Congratulations to graduating students:

Eloise Dahm - Level IV

Meera Joshi - Level I

Also, well done to Bianca Tam, Tracey Tam and June Magarey for performing with the 'Twinklers'!


Childrens’ Brain Development

A great read for parents

'The Whole-Brain Child', by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson is a great read for any parent. Its scientific approach to brain development helps us understand our children's capacity to process information and choose their behaviour. It also gives practical information about how we can help them develop the ability to integrate information from different areas of their brain as they grow so that they can thrive emotionally, intellectually and socially.