Shinichi Suzuki on Video

Here are two short videos that show Shinichi Suzuki working with students. They offer a glimpse of the good humor and almost childlike joy for which Suzuki was known.

In the first clip Suzuki demonstrates the students’ ability to stop and start at any point in the last movement of the Bach A minor Concerto (Suzuki Violin Book 7). The game he uses reinforces the idea that you really know a piece well if you can start anywhere. Isolate and repeat small units of notes throughout the piece during practice to help to build this skill.

In the second clip Suzuki plays the piano and creates endless new variations to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, which the students repeat. Notice that he also tests them by changing the tempo here and there.

For anyone who is interested in some background on Suzuki’s life and how he developed the Suzuki method, here is an interesting clip.

Great Violinists on Video

Here are some inspiring violin videos from Youtube.  As a violinist, I always enjoy soaking up the musicianship of a variety of players, as well as analyzing the way each player uniquely approaches the instrument.

We’ll start with Humoresque in G-Flat Major by the Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904).  This is a piece that Suzuki students know from Book 3.  Itzhak Perlman and cellist Yo-Yo Ma are accompanied by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Seiji Ozawa.  This performance can be found on a recording that features a sampling of Dvorak’s music.

The Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano by French composer Cesar Franck (1822-1890) has become a staple of the violin repertoire.  Here is the final Movement, performed by Joshua Bell and pianist Jeremy Denk.  It was included on their newly released recordingFrench Impressions.  Bell and Denk discuss the CD here. I also recommend Oleh Krysa’s recording of this piece.

No one had a greater impact on the development of the violin than Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840).  Paganini toured Europe, achieving rock star status at a time when the public concert hall increasingly made concerts available to the masses and not just aristocracy.

Violinist Julia Fischer has some interesting things to say about Paganini and the 24 Caprices (short pieces that employ dazzling technical effects).

Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye (1858-1931) contributed six solo violin sonatas to the repertoire, each dedicated to one of his fellow violinists.

Here, the legendary David Oistrakh performs the third sonata, dedicated to George Enescu.