A Suzuki Teacher Training Journal – Oct. 7 – By Michael Hill

The class has finished discussing the works in Book 5 and have identified the many key learning points in each.

One thing that stuck out was the major shift in practicing requirements from Book 4 to Book 5 – a lot of technical advancement happens! It provides a lot of elements both in bow technique, left hand technique, and in general music development to explore outside of the Suzuki material as well.

For many students, Book 5 can appear as a road block on their musical journey but it really is more of a stepping stone to becoming a more advanced and intelligent musician. There is so much music that can be explored while working on the elements in Book 5. While there is a lot of technique to learn and practice, it is also a great time to use supplemental material – solos and etudes – to help strengthen technical needs as well as to vary the repertoire a bit. I have my preferred supplemental materials, and it was great to get some more ideas as well! I like to focus on short works from the Romantic era, students often get to develop vibrato and shifting technique in this repertoire, and we can have fun exaggerating these in a expressive way, too!

It is important to not allow any challenge to appear as an obstacle. If it is only looked at as challenging it may be easy to be put off by the material, but at any level a challenge is a great way to learn to break a problem into smaller parts that can be mastered and reassembled to their original work. In the end, I hope students are not only equipped to solve musical challenged, but apply it to demands in school and life as well – a calm approach to problem solving is always a valuable life lesson.