Brief von Roberta Dubeux Springer
Suzuki Klavierlehrerin, Freiburg / Breisgau
My first encounter with the method of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki happened when I took over the pupils of a pregnant Suzuki teacher, who was going on a leave at the music school I was teaching near New York City. The impression these children left on me – their beautiful sound, hand position, their quietness and concentration during the class – moved me, years later, to learn that way of teaching myself.
Between this first encounter and the day I finally started with Suzuki Teacher Training in Milan many years have passed. I got pregnant with my second child, Isabella, and after that came September 11th, which pushed us out of New York City into the Bavarian Forest.
Once settled in our new residence, having adapted to the new life in the forest and learned enough German (all that took me a couple of years!) I started looking for the teacher training I set out to do many years before. To my surprise there was nothing I could find in the internet. What was going on with Google? Where are the Suzuki piano teachers of Germany? I then called Mrs. Tavor, a teacher in Switzerland. We had many intensive telephone conversations before I finally took the plane from Munich to Milan, with some pieces under my fingers to try the admission test for the Piano Teachers Training in Milan. Mrs. Lola Tavor (Piano Teacher Trainer) had a great way of convincing me of the beauty of this work and how I would forever be glad I took this path. Two years, twenty trips to Milan and over ten thousand euros later I graduated on the second level of TT under Mrs. Tavor and Mrs. Faregna.
Due to family reasons I could not continue the TT in Milan. At that time I had already the five pupils I would ever have in Bavaria. For most of the people there, Suzuki Method was as foreign as a Brazilian pianist (I was born in Rio de Janeiro) who came from New York and was almost fluent in Hochdeutsch, yet did not speak their language, the dialect. My piano class would never grow to be a full successful one if I continued living there. So I moved on again.
This time I chose Freiburg im Breisgau. What a pretty city that is, not too big like NYC and not too small like in Bavaria! Besides, there is a Freiburg Suzuki Institute there and I would most certainly get to work together with other Suzuki teachers at this school! So I applied for a position as a piano teacher there and for an apartment in the city.
The apartment is great, has a big garden and Fußbodenheitzung! My two children and my husband are very happy there. So am I. As for the position at the Institute, there was none available. Nevertheless, I am continuing my music studies and I was admitted recently to the Master Studies at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg. Now am studying with and from great talented musicians.
I wish, though, there was a stronger Suzuki piano tradition in Germany. If I could have my wish list, I would wish to have for the piano something like the violinists have for the violin – teachers in many parts of Germany, seminars and workshops with pupils playing together, teacher training courses, books with teaching points and tips, and so on.
The reality is all but that. We are a group of few piano teachers in Germany with all different levels and diversified teaching approaches. For the introduction of little children on the Variations, for example, there are almost as many approaches as there are teachers and not always successful feelings.
For two years we started visiting Remscheid, where a piano workshop and short exchanging of experiences take place. I hope this annual weekend becomes a meeting point for the few brave piano teachers of Germany. A place to discuss our needs, have ideas, grow. As for my wishing list, well…. I hope this letter motivates piano teachers as well as piano teachers to-be to communicate and share.
Where there’s a will there’s a way or wo ein Wille ist, ist auch ein Weg is not only an international saying, it describes a human force and determination. Weather individually or together as a group we ought to find out the best way to go about it. For the time being I feel there are more wills than there are ways. But isn’t it what we need to get things started anyway?