Farewell to Suzuki

Tessa Grigg

This year has had some sad moments. My son Harry is about to finish school and thus end our fourteen-year association with Suzuki, and that is sad. However, I am really happy that we have managed to gain the maximum benefit from this wonderful method of learning music. We loved the squeaky practicing of the Twinkles on a little 1/16th violin, but we really love the Mozart concerto that is currently being practiced on a full-sized violin – lovely rich tones and mature dynamics that waft through the house.

We joined the Suzuki family in September 2003. Harry was 3 3⁄4, and violin lessons were as challenging for me as they were for him. Harry was working to learn the intricacies of the violin and I was busy learning how to manage a child learning an instrument. I am so grateful for the help and support from our wonderful teacher
Lorraine, as well as other experienced teachers and parents, who got us through those early years. There were times that were tough, but Suzuki teachers understand this and work through the bumpy bits.

I am of the belief that to gain the full benefit from anything, full participation gives the best results, so we went to every Family Concert, Summer Camp and Winter Workshop we could manage. We were such devotees that Harry grew up believing that you clean your teeth every day, you wash your hands before dinner and you go to Summer Camp. We both loved the whole experience, even the year I had a broken foot involving crutches and a wheel chair. Harry’s experience was not
diminished by these minor alterations to our camping.

In the early years it was as much as I could do to manage the child, his instrument and our lives. But as the years went on I was aware of, and very grateful to, all the people who had worked hard to ensure Harry and I had a good time. In 2009 my husband, Drew, and I decided that it was time to give something back to Suzuki and we offered to run the Summer Camp. I also went on to the committee as the secretary and a very busy, but happy, seven years whizzed by.

I believe that over the 14 years I have gained way more from Suzuki than I have given back – the ledger is not as well balanced as I was planning. I have worked with a team of outstanding people, built wonderful friendships, and been inspired by so many children. I have laughed and been frustrated, I have extended my skills and I have felt proud when things have gone well. I have felt loved and supported along the way. I encourage anyone with a little spare time to join the Suzuki team at another level. There are a range of ways to get involved in this wonderful family.

Thank you to Dr Suzuki for developing this all-encompassing method of learning an instrument. We, as a family, have benefited in ways we could never have imagined way back in 2003. Arohanui.

Tessa Grigg