One preconception, large-ish answer

I've been writing down thoughts for the blog (bought a small fun notebook to keep in my bag at all times). One of them is this prejudice: "The Suzuki flute repertoire is very narrow." Many times the phrase is presented by people who actually haven't been browsing the books (sheet music material) or don't know the method otherwise. As we Do use other material alongside the repertoire books. And the books themselves are, well, versatile.

1. The (flute) books 1-9 consist of work by quite a lot of composers.
  • Ghys
  • Suzuki
  • Bayly
  • Schubert
  • Taki
  • J.S.Bach
  • Händel
  • Gluck
  • Beethoven
  • Reichert
  • Genin
  • Telemann
  • Mendelssohn
  • Dvorak
  • Drigo
  • Andersen
  • Woodall
  • Szulc & Hennebains
  • Bizet
  • Blavet
  • Cimarosa
  • Godard
  • Böhm
  • Wetzger
  • F.Doppler
  • Quantz
  • Fauré
  • Mozart

2. There are three different eras of music covered.
  • Baroque (German, French)
  • Classicism
  • Romanticism

3.Different forms of music are presented.
  • Small pieces/songs
  • Theme & variations
  • Sonatas
  • Concertos (solo and duet)
  • Old dances (minuet, bourrée, gavotte, polonaise, rondo, sarabande)
  • Virtuoso pieces (serenades, scherzino, fantasies etc.)
  • Music from opera & orchestra suites & ballet (Orphée et Eurydice / Gluck, L'Arlésienne / Bizer, B minor Suite / J.S.Bach, Harlequinade / Drigo)
  • Duets and trios (concerto for 2 flutes, the 2nd and 3rd flute parts for books 1 and 2 / the ensemble book)

4. There's also non-classical music.
  • Folk songs (common and Irish)
  • Children songs (common and Japanese)

 5. Some classical works (sheet music and recording) are hard to find elsewhere. (And they were completely new to me...)
  • A.Woodall - Serenade
  • P. Wetzger - By the Brook

Detail from a music poster at work. I love flute & ballet, so it kinda fits me... :)


Why was it Suzuki for me?

As a part of my flute teacher studies in Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia (in 2000-2001) we had a didactics lecture once a week. Our professor happened to be the only Suzuki teacher trainer in Scandinavia at that time, so it was a great opportunity to learn about this method. I think (remember) it took 1-2 lectures when we got the picture of the Suzuki-house and she explained the pieces/bricks shortly. We also got to observe her teaching at the music school where she taught. During this first year of general flute teacher studies we also learned about the Color Keys method and all possible common teaching styles and tricks and got a lot of advice. And went through piles of sheet music material (flute schools, different etude collections like Vester's etc.)...

But it took me couple more years before starting the Suzuki studies. As our last year in  Stadia started, me and some others were informed that there'd be a new course beginning, Level 1 in Suzuki flute teacher training. It wasn't organized by Stadia, but the Finnish Suzuki Association, so it would cost a bit. But the lectures and others would be (very conveniently for me) in Helsinki. Aaaaand of course the trainer would be the familiar lecturer I'd already known for some years! :) (She also guided our "teacher practice lessons" in Stadia during 2nd and 3rd years, where we taught a pupil in front of 1-2 other students and her.)

So all in all, it was kind of a coincidence that me and this method got together. Bit like me and the flute as an instrument (I wanted to start piano lessons as a kid). But a very good one, as it turned out.

Yesterday evening I sat down and started thinking about all this starting business. Also I made a list of what was difficult for me on level 1. And noticed that all of those "problems" have been bygones for ages - which is nice. I was never a Suzuki child myself, so everything was basically new. Here are some thoughts I gathered:

Book 1 had many familiar pieces, but also many of those I'd never heard. And they were tricky to memorize, Kagome Kagome for example. *** Well. I can say now that had I only listened more... ;) It took me quite a while to really understand the meaning of listening, just tried to memorize things the Old Way (playing from the book time and time again, then trying without).
 Learning the philosophy by heart, books and other reading material. It was all interesting from the beginning, but seemed difficult to grasp the whole idea. *** Which is "Every child can." As I've now spent some 9 years with the method and grown as a human being as well as a studying person, I now know that I don't have to hurry and "get" everything right away. It's okay to ask questions, to have conversations (many times the others have questions too), to review and remember to breath.
 Getting the essays etc. done and sent on time. *** I'm ashamed how miserable I was at this part of the level 1 studies. Luckily I can say that I've improved a bit on every level. And have to send a Huge Thank You to our trainer for the crazy strong nerves she has with us... Also I want to add that now it's a joy doing the assignments. I like thinking, reading and typing.
 Teaching in front of others as the method was new to me (there were at least 2-3 former Suzuki children present as trainees) - it made me quite anxious. *** I know now that everyone gets a bit tense doing it - and it's okay! It keeps one on their toes and sharp. And you really do get used to it. Which also helps in your everyday work, with your own pupils. And the parents, too.
 Playing the book pieces in front of others (incl. the trainer). It was maybe even more exciting than the teaching. Funny thing 'cos we all were ready performers, had been doing and training it for years and years. *** As I got familiar with the music and my memory started working, as we all got a bit more bonded as a studying group... Again I can say that these days it's a definite joy. You get constructive advice from not only the trainer but also the trainees, they can put marks on your book as you play (breath marks, slurring, dynamics etc.). And all this performing (as I do take it, though it's only in a class room without a pianist) has made me a stronger performer on stage and other possible situations. Even as a speaker.

I have some more points, shall share them later... Hopefully this is helpful for someone, maybe even interesting! ;) Bye for now!


The beginning

This is what I started with.

Level I. 20 lessons of observating. A camp in July, at hotel Ellivuori. Etc.

Notebook for level 1. Also the beginning of level 2. The little colored things are markings for later levels, as I've been reviewing.