SIUE Suzuki Strings Program
Edwardsville, IL 62026
General Information: email@example.com
SIUE Suzuki Violin Graduation Information
History of Suzuki Graduations: Dr. Suzuki would wake up around 5:00 AM every morning and listen to hundreds of tape recordings sent to him from all over Japan. Dr. Suzuki incorporated a Suzuki Graduation System where students, when they reached certain playing levels, would record several polished review pieces and in return receive Dr. Suzuki’s constructive comments about their playing. This was a celebration of accomplishment. It was never a “pass or fail” situation since Dr. Suzuki trusted that a teacher would only have a student prepare and submit a recording when they were musically ready. Dr. Suzuki also knew it was the process of preparing these recordings where the real learning and progress took place.
Suzuki Graduations in our program: The Suzuki teachers at SIUE wish to continue Dr. Suzuki’s vision of excellence and create a graduation system that strengthens our program collectively and individually. Below you will find pieces that correlate with 10 graduation levels. A student will be ready to record these pieces when they are in “review mode” rather than newly learned. This way the student is up to the CD tempo and playing the piece with accuracy and ease, therefore able to show musical intent with beautiful tone. This recording is shared with our director, and then returned to the student and parents with comments. The student performs on a Graduation Recital, and receives a certificate of achievement.
We hope that Graduations will:
Ø Make review relevant- we do not always realize the benefits of review until we do the work!
Ø Offer another opportunity for performance- both for a video camera, and on graduation recital.
Ø Foster self-evaluation- our goal is to give each student skills to eventually practice and learn independently. This begins with self-evaluation.
Ø Begin an organized collection of recordings- to celebrate and benchmark progress from level to level.
Ø Uphold a high standard for each level- as a group and individually.
Recording Details: Graduation for a Suzuki Book is initiated by the teacher. The student is asked to prepare a recording of all the pieces in the book. All notes and bowings must be correct and the performance must demonstrate a high level of musicianship and confidence. You may record your child’s pieces (preferably in the order listed below) onto a DVD or VHS or send them via computer. Please talk with your teacher if none of these methods are possible for you. You may wish to record with a piano or violin accompaniment. Playing unaccompanied is also acceptable so long as the tempo and rhythm is appropriate. Talk with your teacher about what they feel is best. Be sure to record in an area free of distractions. It is important that the recording quality is as high as possible so that tone quality and dynamic range can be fully expressed. Submit the tape to the private teacher for review and when approved, the student will be notified of their graduation performance date.
Graduation Criteria: Students should meet the following criteria to graduate.
Ø Twinkle: Be able to play all Twinkles fluidly with piano
o Fingers on tapes (notes in tune)
o Good posture, bow hold, left hand position
o Accurate notes and rhythms (without stops between notes)
o Proper tempo
o Correct bowing and bow distribution
o Correct articulation
o Clean string crossings
Ø Books 1-8: Be able to play all required pieces fluidly with piano
o with good technique
o with good phrasing
o with musical expression
Graduation Recitals: Graduation Recital performances take place at a special recital in the spring set aside for graduations, or at any Saturday recital. Submit your recordings to your private teacher at least a month in advance of the graduation recital.
We also recommend home recitals as part of a graduation to celebrate your child’s accomplishments! This can be as simple as selecting a few favorite pieces from the book and playing them for family members or at your lesson to playing the entire book for the whole neighborhood! Performing is a great motivation for practicing and it allows others to celebrate your accomplishments with you. Students should design the invitations, program, and menu to make it their own.
Please direct questions about this to Vera McCoy-Sulentic, director of the SIUE Suzuki String Program.