La Folia Variations
“I have but one comment to make. It’s time to bury the hatchet.
There are many roads–and interesting detours–that lead to virtuosity
and outstanding musicianship. No one holds a monopoly on ‘the way.’”
—Joseph Dillon Ford
When I was 8 years old, I had the good fortune to spend a few weeks in Japan with my mom and sister in order to take private violin lessons with Dr. Suzuki himself. This was a part of my mom's Suzuki Teacher Training. We also observed other student's lessons first hand. Dr. Suzuki's love and enthusiasm for music was so apparent, and he communicated that masterfully to all the students, teachers, and parents in the room. Those lessons were so much fun! He was always coming up with new ways to tailor his approach to each child's needs and personality. Since he was so natural with us, my sister and I took the whole thing in stride and didn't realize what a big deal it had been to take lessons from Dr Suzuki until much later in our lives.
This excerpt from Dr. Suzuki's book "Nutured by Love" gives you an idea of what he was all about:
"When I listen to Mozart, he seems to envelop me in his great love. Mozart’s love for mankind is not merely a pious kind of love that points to hope in the next world through religious ecstasy: “All right, Life is sad. But if there is love, see how beautiful life can be. The sad life that we all must live—let us go along together and comfort one another.”
This is what Mozart says to us, and I affirm it with all my heart.
—Dr. Shinichi Suzuki
Quite some time ago Mark O'Connor launched a totally inappropriate and offensive campaign against the Suzuki Method, as means to promote his own O'Connor Method. While Mark is an excellent violinist within the genre that he has created for himself, this kind of marketing campaign is inexcusable and somehow needs to be stopped. The real victims in all of this are the kids and their parents on both sides of the controversy who are dealing with all the fallout.
Most people find “discussions” with Mark on this subject tiresome at best and will eventually give up reasoning with him for the sake of their own peace of mind. This is especially the case when he starts accusing them of being members of a cult, threatens them with lawsuits, insults their expertise, and so on. However, since I've met Dr. Suzuki first hand, have grown up with the Suzuki Method, and have 3 kids who grew up learning music with the Suzuki Method as the core materials, I find it very difficult to turn a blind eye to what is going on.
These two threads on LinkedIn give you a window into this "War of Words":
Discussion on Music Educators Group
If you’d like to be in the actual discussion on the LinkedIn Music Educator's Group, you can find it here:
Recently, Mark O'Connor launched another tirade about the Suzuki method. (See http://markoconnorblog.blogspot.com/) Want to know the truth? Watch an interview from 2006 with Mr. Kendall.
Discussion on Chamber Music Network
If you’d like to be in the actual discussion on the LinkedIn Chamber Musician Network, you can find it here:
Mark O'Connor has launched yet another unsubstantiated rant targeting the Suzuki method. This time he goes after John Kendall.
Here are the essentials that I have come to believe after enduring the "discussions" above as well as others on Mark's Facebook page until he banned me like all the others who do not subscribe to his way of thinking:
1. The Mark O'Connor Method does not teach Classical Music
Reasoning: The method books do not contain Classical Music. In order to teach students Classical Music it is necessary for the students to actually play Classical Music.
2. Mark O'Connor is not a Classical Musician
Reasoning: Mark O'Connor does not play Classical Music. In order for a person to be considered a Classical Musician, it is necessary for a person to play Classical Music.
3. In order to cover up the above and market his unique violin method Mark has launched an all-out attack on the Suzuki Method and I suspect Classical Music in general.
4. Mark O'Connor is an excellent violinist with excellent technique and a unique kind of musicianship that works well within a quasi-classical/crossover genre that he has created for himself.
I welcome your comments either on my blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, or via email :)
Update Nov 2014 Hurray! Mark finally halted his campaign at the urging of Charles Avsharian, president of Shar Music.
Let's hope this time it is for good:
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