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September 13, 2009
Who is Dr. Suzuki?
Who is Dr. Suzuki? Keep on reading about this amazing man who changed the world, teaching a unique violin technique to thousands of students.
“Music exists for the purpose of growing an admirable heart.” — Shinichi Suzuki
My family and I met Lynn Walker quite a few years ago, where there was an instant connection between us. I believe it was because both of our families had a mutual love for music.
My daughter, Abby, was learning violin at the time, using the Suzuki Method. It’s a method created by Dr. Suzuki, being taught by thousands of teachers world-wide, where you learn to play an instrument by ear (instead of notes – those come later). I’ll never forget one of Abby’s first songs, where she’d play it over and over, using these words to help get the song just right:
Dr. Suzuki says never be lazy, but practice and practice, until you go crazy!
At the time we met Lynn, there were no words to express our gratitude when she presented to us this heartfelt gift. Now you can read the rest of the story … Thank you, Lynn, for sharing with us!
Lynn’s story …
My dream job finally manifested in 1986 when I became the Director of the Plantation Spa in Hawaii. It was a fabulous health retreat for body, mind & spirit. The most magnificent piece of property on the windward side of Oahu. Bodil Anderson, a healthy, vibrant and charming woman from Sweden and her husband David owned and operated the spa. They were way ahead of the health curve. We were delighted to receive guests from all over America and from other parts of the world.
Who is Dr. Suzuki?
One unforgettable week a woman came from California bringing along her aunt. The Aunt’s name was Waltraud Suzuki and at that time was in her 80’s. It was my privilege to escort her on excursions as I did with all of our guests. She was not up to the seven mile hike to Sacred Falls or the canoe trip up river. So she and I walked on the beach and I found out much about this delightful soul, who was the wife of Shinichi Suzuki, (the man who created the world famous Suzuki violin method). As I came to know her, I came to know him better through the loving stories about her famous husband and their lives together.
She was suffering from emphysema, not because she smoked, but because he did. I knew of a great Doctor in Honolulu who dealt with this problem holistically and we went to see him. I believe he helped her enormously. By the time she departed we were more like very old friends. She and I corresponded for a few years and I truly felt close to her. One day I received a package from Japan, one of the most treasured gifts in my life. Shinichi Suzuki had painted a Shikishi for me. It was of Mt Fuji and the quote he painted below warmed my heart.
“Man is a son of his environment” by Shinichi Suzuki.
His note simply said, “Thank you for taking extra care of my beloved wife’.” SS
How they met.
Waltraud was a talented and beautiful blond from Germany and she met Shinichi in 1920 at a house concert. They had many wonderful friends, including Einstein. Waltraud sang and loved music as much as Suzuki. She married Suzuki in 1928 and moved to Japan, becoming his lifelong partner in all his endeavors worldwide. I believe their love opened up the hearts of a generation of young people (parents & teachers too) and continues to do so. If only everyone could teach children with love as he did. His work will live on because it is based on the essence of life.
Teaching through love – how simple and yet, how powerful. I know that my amazing time spent with Waltraud showed me that she was a great inspiration to him and their love for each other inspired beautiful music in the hearts of little ones worldwide. Some of those little ones have now become world famous violinists.
It was my pleasure to pass on my precious painting Mr. Suzuki gave to me, to a 9 year old Suzuki student I had just met.
Sandy’s beautiful and talented daughter, Abby.
I guess the most important thing I learned from the Suzukis, was that giving your most prized possessions, to those who love them brings about the deepest and most invisible rewards.
I know both Waltraud and Shinichi Suzuki would have approved.
Where love is deep, much can be accomplished. –Shinichi Suzuki
Teaching music is not my main purpose.
I want to make good citizens.
If children hear fine music from the
day of their birth and learn to play it,
they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance.
They get a beautiful heart.”
Recommended Suzuki books:
My Life with Suzuki
by Waltraud Suzuki
Nurtured by Love
The Classic Approach to Talent Education
by Shinichi Suzuki
The man and his Philosophy
by Evelyn Hermann
Are you familiar with the Suzuki Method, and if so, how has it impacted your family?
Music is very big in our home, especially when we entertain. It just livens up the mood!
(At age 18, Abby still takes violin from her beloved teacher, Fiana.)
Welcome to my home and table! I'm Sandy—lover of food, family, cooking, travel, simple hospitality, and bringing people together. Feasting on Life is when guests come empty-handed, or with a dish, and they bring their story. It all begins the moment we open our door (and hearts). Through great recipes and connection around the table, we become better, stronger, and more courageous people. Feasting on Life is real, and every time we do it, we grow a little more.