2017 SpringArchiveJournal

Tributes to Sheila Warby

Val Scott

I returned home from my holiday to hear that our dear friend, Sheila Warby, had passed away.

She was a superb teacher and tutor, ready to impart her knowledge to all. The book she wrote, With Love in My Heart and a Twinkle in My Ear, encapsulated the Suzuki philosophy completely.

Sheila came to tutor our Summer Camps and Winter Workshops 20 times, often incorporating teacher training and giving many parent talks. Her manner with children, parents and teachers was wonderful. She had many teaching ideas and related these extremely well to all.

I invited some of my past pupils and parents for an afternoon tea at my home to remember her. Seven ex pupils, nine parents and three teachers were present. We were fortunate to have a past pupil of mine, now a pupil of Jane Doig, play (very beautifully) a Scherzo by Debussy for us. In remembering Sheila it was lovely for me to see all these people again, and to watch the young people renew musical bonds – Suzuki bonds.

Lois Mccallum

Our South Island Branch was deeply saddened by the news of Sheila Warby’s passing.
She was a wonderful musician, teacher and friend, and a passionate advocate of the Suzuki Method. Jane Doig and Claire Kelly attended Sheila’s funeral, representing our Branch.

Just a few weeks ago my folder happened to open where I had put the notes of two of Sheila’s parent talks – one at the January camp this year, and the other from July Workshop 2013. I thought I would share these with you. My notes certainly won’t do justice to Sheila’s wonderful presentation skills and eloquence, and I am sure I missed writing down lots of important points…

Her 2017 talk was entitled Review – Your Secret Weapon.

  • Music has its own vocabulary.
  • We develop playing skills which are transferable.
  • By repeating/review we improve brain development and develop discipline. Repeating will produce skills in brain to give students competence and confidence.
  • Powerful words: “I can”.
  • Repetition develops concentration/focus in a natural, simple and easy way.
  • Talent is the ability to do something easily.
  • Listening is part of review.
  • Work at new pieces at a morning practice – review in afternoon or evening practice.
  • Set goals, e.g. how many pieces can you play today?
  • Performance is important – need concerts at home.

Her July 2013 parent talk was entitled Why Suzuki?

  • Important Suzuki messages – all children have ability, and listening.
  • Reading? – Thousands of years ago music was oral.
  • Suzuki Method – instead of pieces, children develop skills. Children are not auditioned.
  • Listening is the answer book. Every time you switch on the CD you save 50c of lessons fees!
  • Suzuki is a skills based learning process (Suzuki took 10 years to put the violin repertoire together).
  • Importance of repertoire.
  • Child-focused learning.
  • Imitate other children.
  • How do children catch learning? From other children.
  • Catch the Suzuki virus! – group lessons, observe classes, attend workshops and summer camps.
  • The Suzuki triangle.
  • Skills improvement is important, not what piece/book child is on. How beautifully are you playing?
  • Not all children develop at the same rate.
  • Graduation – not exams. Children start monitoring their own performance and become internally motivated.
  • Really important – character first, ability second.
  • Greatest thing a parent can have – something to record lessons.


  • Have fun!
  • Have concerts at home.
  • You have to create desire.
  • Keep your child motivated.
  • Think before you talk.
  • Don’t say too much.
  • Bottom line – listen to CDs.
  • Suzuki method – you benefit from all that has gone before you.