Violin students take part in Suzuki Play-in |

Violin students take part in Suzuki Play-in

by John O'Neill

Thirty-two students of the Carson Valley Violin School participated in the sixth annual Suzuki “Play-in” held on Sunday, Feb. 8, in the Nightingale Theater on the UNR campus. The yearly event, which this year was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Sinichi Suzuki and sponsored by “The Suzuki Association of Reno-Tahoe,” brought together teachers and their students from Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Tahoe, Truckee and Carson Valley.

Suzuki, who died on Jan. 26 at the age of 99, revolutionized the teaching of orchestral string instruments throughout the world. The ideas he implemented have become a major force in music education, and his belief in teaching peace and understanding through music has gained worldwide acceptance, said John O’Neill, director of the violin school.

Suzuki’s goal was to help children fulfill their capabilities as human beings. He said, “Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens, noble human beings. If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth, and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart.”

Suzuki built his ideas around the fact that children naturally and easily learn their native language and his approach to teaching violin was modeled after the way in which children learn that language. He called it the “Mother-Tongue Approach” or “Talent Education.” In the supportive environment fostered by the Suzuki method, children learn to enjoy music and develop confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, concentration, and the determination to try difficult thingsqualities that are sorely needed in our time, O’Neill said.

The Carson Valley Violin School, under the direction of John and Nelle O’Neill, is into its sixth year of operation and offers instruction on violin, viola, cello and string bass to students age 5 and up. For information on the school, call 267-3495.

Catherine Monsey, Mitchell Miles and David Dragon in their first public performance at the “play-in.” John O’Neill photo

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