SuzNews Vol. 10.5 | May 28, 2020
Our Suzuki community offers an encouraging atmosphere to 
nurture every child's full potential and love for music .
News from your National Capital Suzuki School of Music
A Message from our Artistic Director
This year was my first one as the Artistic Director of SuzukiMusic. Such a year!! I would never imagine how many challenges we would face in such a short time. As the world changed, we had to be flexible, we changed our plans, we adapted, but we kept going together. 

We started the year with a lot of energy. Amazing group classes, Faculty Concert, Play-in, Ensemble concert… all good examples of how strong our community is.

Unexpectedly, our March break became longer than we thought and everything changed fast. With some adjustments, we turned our efforts toward keeping everything together and running. Everyone had to adapt quickly to new technologies, schedules, routines (of sorts), videos requests, slow uploads, “how can I send you this”, video requests again and finally we could end the year together, in community despite the little fact that we were socially distant. Our Viva Suzuki became a Viva Collage, a Virtual Viva, but as Viva means in many languages… alive! And even alone from my house, I was feeling together with everyone else. 
So much happened this year that it is natural that we are tired. Unfortunately. our Olympic Games were postponed as the Tokyo ones also were. But the core values connected to the Olympic Spirit - Excellence, Respect and Friendship - are universal and were present all the time with us. Values that are also present in music making and taught in every single class or lesson in our school. Thank you SuzukiMusic!

Keite Gularte
Artistic Director

Thank you from our Board of Directors
On behalf of the board of directors, I want to acknowledge some of the incredible things that I have been seeing--and hearing--from every isolated corner of our dear school. When we were first forced to face the reality of moving our music online, many of us were tentative, nervous, and fearful. These emotions seem to be pretty common these days, but in this case thanks to our incredible SuzukiMusic family, they were quickly replaced with feelings of resilience, innovation, and comfort. There's a lot that can be said about the steadying effects of routine and consistent connection, and our children were provided this thanks to our dedicated and caring faculty. Our teachers jumped online and their students never missed a beat, first in private lessons and then through group class instruction. I am in awe of the adaptability and creativity of our faculty, as they quickly learned new technology and almost immediately started developing a number of very exciting collaborative projects. On top of the valuable time that they are spending with their students in lessons, our teachers, our pianist, and our artistic director put together a beautiful Virtual Viva Suzuki concert. This concert is a beautiful example of the meaning of the Suzuki philosophy and the heart of our school community.

Online teaching takes extra energy, extra time, extra planning and extra creativity so, thank you to our adaptable and dedicated faculty, truly an inspiring group of professionals!

Thank you also to Liko for her flexibility and continued leadership in these strange and difficult times, and to Susan for working tirelessly to help spread the word about all the incredible things that are going on.

Finally, a heart-felt elbow-bump of appreciation to all of you, the parents, families, and students of the SuzukiMusic community. Your adaptability and understanding is both noted and valued. Your willingness to embrace new learning is remarkable. And your continued support of our school and our teachers is absolutely appreciated. Thank you.

Please take care,

Graydon Miles
President of the Board
National Capital Suzuki School of Music
Introducing our new Branding and Website
Introducing our brand new Website! Click on the image and have a look around and get comfortable with your new online music school home. The website has been optimized for desk top and mobile viewing.

Our school extends a huge thank you to our key volunteer in this project, Graham Ashford , who has put in extensive hours coding and putting the structure of the website together.

We also extend a very heartfelt thank you to James Hale and his team who created the new branding for our school pro bono during their time together at MacMillan publishing.

Stay tuned for new t-shirts and merchandise with our new branding coming this Fall!
SuzukiMusic Volunteers of the Year
Congratulations to our Volunteers of the Year 2019-2020!

Every year our school runs smoothly because of our dedicated parent and community volunteers. Each volunteer plays an important role at our school and our community could certainly not run without the hours of volunteer effort shared with us.

Each year we celebrate a parent volunteer and a community volunteer who have gone above and beyond in helping our school function. It is our pleasure to announce this year's award recipients:
Aubrey Award for outstanding parent volunteer:
Graham Ashford

This year the winner of the Aubrey Parent Volunteer of the Year Award is Graham Ashford!  Congratulations and Thank you for your service to our school! Graham has put in endless hours of work on our new website, coding and creating the structure of the site as well as helping Susan with patiently provided tutorials as she added the content to the site.

In addition to his work with the new website, Graham is our resident photographer and has been taking photographs at our special community events for a number of years now. His beautiful work graces the pages of our website as well as being used for promotional materials, slideshows, etc.

Thank you Graham!
McKerral Award for outstanding community volunteer:
Anne McKerral

This year’s winner of the McKerral Community Volunteer Award is Anne McKerral. Yes, you read that right! Anne is receiving the award that was named after her!

Our Annual Volunteer Recognition began a decade ago, in 2010. The awards were named after those first recipients, both pillars of the SuzukiMusic community - the Aubreys for the parent side, Anne McKerral for the community side.

This year, Anne is our only community volunteer. Because Anne has received the award before, and was actually the first recipient of the award, we could have skipped giving out the award this year.

However this is a wonderful opportunity to re-acknowledge Anne's incredible dedication to this school. Anne is the longest serving member of the school in a volunteer capacity and the second longest serving member of the school in any capacity. Anne began her tenure as treasurer on our Board of Directors in 1993 and has provided steady guidance and financial advice to our Board for 27 steadfast years and counting.

Thank you Anne!
This year's Emily Mahoney
Scholarship Winner
Congratulations Delphine!

Delphine, it has been wonderful watching you grow up at SuzukiMusic from those first pretwinkle recitals to your accomplished musicianship as a senior student.

Here is Delphine's winning essay:

I can’t believe I have been a Suzuki kid for 13 years - since I was four! Upon reflection, it is my Suzuki education that has shaped me into the dedicated cellist I am today. It’s like having the equivalent of a musical Olympic Organization behind me.

Playing an instrument is akin to Olympians practicing their sport. Both require observing role models, dedication to your craft, connecting with your equipment, confidence, reflection, and discipline.

Athletes learn from others - observe their techniques and how they manage in different situations. Especially how they manage nerves and stress. Growing up as a Suzuki kid, I’ve benefitted from the many opportunities to learn from others. Performing in front of an audience is never easy, yet the studio recitals, over time, have helped make it less scary and build confidence. The supportive and encouraging atmosphere of the recitals have been so important to this. The stress I feel in performing in front of an audience has become manageable and I use this experience to also help my performance at school and in sports.
Just like athletes learn from others, the Suzuki approach let me not only learn from my teachers but also, through the group classes and orchestras, to learn from my peers. I remember my first Play-in at age four, looking up to the older cellists sitting at the back of the group. At the Play-in this past November, I was one of these senior cellists being a model for the younger players.  

A crucial step to being a successful athlete is having a good support system. I’ve always found it a bit hard to fit in. From sports teams to school, I’ve been challenged in finding “my people”. However, every Saturday I look forward to stepping into Canterbury where friendly faces welcome me. From Teachers to fellow students, it’s an environment where I have always felt included and accepted. I can’t remember a single Saturday where Liko hasn’t been at the doors to welcome me like she welcomes every student. She takes the time to get to know every student by name making it feel like a big welcoming family - what a support network!

I remember playing “ants” at my very first recital when everyone clapped as I bowed. I remember my worst performance when everyone still clapped for me. No matter what happens on stage, the Suzuki community has always been there to cheer me on. It doesn’t matter how well or how poorly I do, what matters is that you get on stage and perform your best that day and have fun doing it. I’m very critical of my playing, and having such an accepting support system, has allowed my confidence to grow. I’ve gone from a 4-year-old playing Twinkle to a 16-year-old playing at the 2019 OMFA provincials. Good or bad, I know people are there to support me, because Suzuki is a family. This has made playing cello so much fun and you can’t be an Olympian without enjoying your sport. 
Virtual Viva 2020
Our school year has come to an end during unprecedented times. With the arrival of the coronavirus life as usual was put on hold and we all adjusted to a new reality in all facets of our lives. Through the creativity and determination of our AD and Faculty music lessons and concerts continued. Teachers shifted to online teaching, students adjusted to learning online, our Family and Friends concert took place, individual online studio recitals were planned and the most challenging task of all, an online version of our annual community celebration, Viva Suzuki, was dreamed of and brought to life by our AD Keite, our Faculty and our Admin team. Paradoxically through physical distancing we developed a stronger sense of community as a school. We look forward to lessons and classes and concerts resuming their normal rhythm as soon as possible but we must take this time to be proud of everyone in our school community for coming together, learning together and growing together during this challenging time.

Please enjoy and share our Virtual Viva Suzuki with your friends and family.
Registration for the coming school year
We are in the process of finalizing details for registration 2020-2021 and will be in touch with you through our weekly email when registration is ready to begin.
Summer Camp
The Faculty, Board and Admin team will be making a decision about Summer Camp after our next Board meeting on June 1, 2020. Stay tuned!
Upcoming Events
Solo Recitals
Each teacher has developed their format for online Studio recitals. Details will be shared with you by your studio teacher.

Summer Camp

For updated details,
Parent Education Corner
Advice and Encouragement for Suzuki Parents

From the video series, Parents as Partners Online 2015

Hi my name is Brittany Gardner, and I’m a cello teacher in Salt Lake City. I’m excited to be participating in Parents as Partners, and I hope that what I have to say today will be helpful for you. 

I have spent time in all three corners of the Suzuki Triangle. I was a student first and then have been a teacher for 15 years. I’ve also been a Suzuki parent for four years, and I can tell you that while my time in the parent corner of the triangle hasn’t been very long, my growth from that vantage point has been tremendous. I want to share some insights with you that I’ve had as a teacher first and a parent second that have been helpful to me as I’ve been working with my children. 

Before I talk about some specifics, I want to point out one crucial difference I found in the perspective between the teacher and the parent. That is, when a student comes to me for a lesson, they walk in the studio and all I see is possibility. I don’t know their full story. I don’t know the problems in their life or the challenges they may be facing. I don’t know what their limitations are. All I see is where we can go. How we can grow. What goals we can reach together. It is a wonderful privilege as a teacher to see a child’s potential in front of me. 

On the other hand, as a parent, you know the whole story. You know what’s going on right now in your child’s life. You know what difficulties they have; you know what struggles they’ve overcome. You know what you perceive as their limitations, and sometimes that can get a little bit heavy and a little bit discouraging. I submit to you that the full knowledge of your child’s narrative only serves to make their triumphs and their successes that much more beautiful. You understand them because you know the journey that it took to get there. Recognize it as a privilege to sit in the parent corner of the triangle and to see the full story of your child evolve.

I want to share some specific ideas with you today that I learned first as a teacher, and now try, every day, as a mom to implement in my own life. 

The first is, how important it is to believe in the capabilities of our children. To let this belief motivate our actions, our emotions, and our language as we work with our child. If we fall short of certain goals or don’t reach certain benchmarks at a certain period of time, it only means that we are still on our way there. It doesn’t mean it is not possible. I could cite scientific study after scientific study about the power of positive thinking and positive language. But I don’t need to do that, and you don’t need to. You already know from your own experience that positivity fosters growth and happiness. Use that as you work with your child. Believe them, and they’ll come to believe in themselves. 

The second point that I think is so important for us as parents is to work as partners with our teacher. To speak respectfully to them and about them to follow through with the assignments that they give us, to attend the events that they so carefully plan for their studios, to recognize that assignments are given and activities scheduled with our child’s best interest at heart. Reach out to your teacher when you have questions or concerns. If you feel there’s part of your child’s narrative that they should know that will give them a greater understanding of where your child is coming from or what your child’s needs are, let them know and work as an active partner with them in the education and the love of your child. 

The third point that I hope we remember as parents is that all choices have consequences. Now I’m sure you’ve probably had this discussion many times with your own children. Don’t we all? “If you go to bed late, you are going to be tired. If you eat only junk food, you’re not going to grow and be healthy, or you’re going to have a tummy-ache.” It’s important for us as parents to realize that our choices have consequences. If we choose to lose our temper during a practice session, it’s not going to be a good experience, and our child will be reluctant to work with us again. If we fail to follow through on the assignments that our teacher has given us, our child won’t grow in the way they otherwise could have. If you choose to involve your child in many different activities, more than just music, that’s ok. But your child’s growth trajectory will be different from another child who chooses to solely focus on one activity. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is so important that we as parents take responsibility for our choices and don’t don’t get upset when our results are different from somebody else who has made different choices. 

The fourth point I want us to remember is how important it is to give our children a peer group. When I was ten years old, I attended a Suzuki Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I was randomly placed with three other girls in a chamber group. It was magic. We became best friends instantly, and we stayed friends all the way through high school. These ladies are still my dear friends to this day as adults. We live in different corners of the country, but it doesn’t matter. We are connected through our love of music and through our shared experiences. My friendship with them is what kept me going through those teenage years when I felt like my life was so busy and so dramatic and full of so many life changes choices that it could get a little overwhelming. I knew that if I gave up my music studies, I would also give up my friendship and my association with these ladies, and that wasn’t something I was willing to do. I’m so grateful for their friendship because it kept me going through those tricky years. The wonderful thing about a peer group for your child is that it also creates a peer group for you. As you are attending these activities with your child, you will know the other parents that are attending these activities too that have similar goals and similar struggles. You can use these parents as inspiration and sounding boards. You can use them for motivation and also as friends. That’s a wonderful blessing that can come from the peer group that you provide for your child. 

The fifth point that I hope we as parents always remember is that the best practice is consistent practice. It’s like flossing your teeth or eating your vegetables, it’s just got to be done every day, and there’s no way around it. Someone who is growing, who is playing beautifully, who is excelling is someone who practices consistently. I tell my students all the time in the studio, “There is no substitution for repetition.” If you want to get good at something, you have to do it. There is no way around it. I have found this as a mother too. We just set our practice times; this is when we practice, this is when we do it, and we do it every day. It’s not easy to always carve out that time to practice in a busy family schedule, but it’s so much easier to do it every day than to try to start up again after a break. I promise! For my oldest daughter, we’ve broken her practice down into three compartments. She has green cards she does before school; she has pink cards she does after school, and then she has yellow cards she does by herself. The green and the pink cards are with a parent. The yellow cards are her own to do so it fosters some independence and helps her to take responsibility for her own growth and her own practicing. 

The sixth point I hope we remember as parents is how crucial it is to remember to keep in mind our child’s experience. You and I are adults, and we have schedules, and we have other obligations, and sometimes we can let our own agendas get in the way and our own schedules especially of the love that could be had as we work with a child. Set goals with your child in mind. Celebrate the successes of your child and remember that a child learns by doing. They learn by trying. They learn by making mistakes. They learn by imagining and doing creative, kind of goofy stuff sometimes. Today in practice, my cellist daughter wanted to play her lullaby for her baby doll. I would have rather just have her play the piece and get it over with, but I got up, I went to her room, and I got the baby doll and brought it into the practice room. She played the most beautiful lullaby I had ever heard. It was her experience, and it was important that I remember that. 

The seventh point I hope we remember is that practice is meant to produce growth and growth comes from struggle. If you are struggling, it just means that you are growing. It doesn’t mean that it will always be hard all the time, it just means there is growth happening right now. You are always on the edge of what is mastered vs. what is a new skill when you are helping your child grow. Remember that you shouldn’t worry, you should trust the growth process. If you are consistent, if you are patient and you are trying, then you and your child will have success. My violinist started as a three-year-old, and we had plenty of tantrums at the beginning of our experience. I don’t mean just from her. It was hard to get started. But, four years later, the other day in practice, she said to me, “Mommy, I love to play the violin.” that did not happen on the first day. And that doesn’t happy every day. It does happen because we were consistent and we tried. 

The eighth point that I hope we remember as parents is how important it is to adapt. The truths that we follow and that we use as we try to teach our children such as, “Nurturing by love,” “Caring for the whole child,” those will not change, but the way we implement them for our child will change. You will not practice the same way today that you will practice next year because your child will have grown and you will have grown too. You will change from being 100% involved in the practice, to being less involved as your child gains maturity and skill and independence. Things will change. But the truths will not. Because you know your child’s whole story, you will best know how to adapt for them. 

The magic of the Suzuki method is that it focuses on the growth of the whole child and the development of their heart. I promise you as you follow these principles as a parent and nurture your child with love, with consistency, with patience and goodness, your heart will grow as well.
Brittany Platt Gardner began her cello studies at the age of eight after receiving a cello as a birthday present. 
An avid teacher and sought-after clinician and speaker, Ms. Gardner finds great joy in the study, sharing, and teaching of music to children and their families.
Ms. Gardner is on faculty at the Gifted Music School, where she serves as the Suzuki Program Coordinator. She also serves on the board of Intermountain Suzuki String Institute and maintains an active performing career, appearing with such groups as the Utah Symphony, Sinfonia Salt Lake, The Orchestra at Temple Square, and others.
Ms Gardner holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance from the joint degree program between Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
She and her husband live in Salt Lake City with their two daughters.
Please Support Our Sponsors
Click on the Ads below and tell them you saw their Ad here!
Silver Sponsor
Bronze Sponsors
Our Supporters
Quick Links:
National Capital Suzuki School of Music
Arts Court
2 Daly Avenue, M-74
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6E2
See what's happening on our social sites: