Michael on piano part of trio, age 8, July 2014 concert (March by Colin Matthews)

Concentration is the key


Hello Young Musicians!


14 June 2014 Suzuki Piano Celebration Concert West Road Concert Hall

18 CSYM students and 18 students from London and Bristol performed a joint concert in celebration of the life and work of Mrs Haruko Kataoka, Co-Founder of the Suzuki Piano Approach. Repertoire included Suzuki piano pieces and works from the 17th-21st century in solo, duet and trio. The visiting teachers reported how much they all enjoyed the programme, including the friendly post concert reception at Castle End Mission Hall, generously hosted by CSYM families. They also commented that many of their students were particularly interested in the contemporary repertoire they heard from CSYM students. Together we raised £180 donations for Save the Children. It was a pleasure to see other CSYM students and parents in the audience in support, and very encouraging to know they heard and experienced other student performances and great piano repertoire on the superb instruments in this wonderful venue. Concerts such as these motivate all involved: performers, students, parents, family and teachers.

30 March 2014 CSYM Concert St John's School of Divinity

Congratulations to all students for their hard work and lovely performances at our Spring Festival Concert, Sunday 30 March at St  John's  Divinity  School. The weather was lovely, the piano and venue  "fabulous",  making for a most memorable day. Hats off to all students and parents for their enthusiastic support and extra help.

9 November 2013 CSYM Concert West Road Concert Hall

On Saturday 9 November, 47 Suzuki piano students ages 3-16 performed music from the Suzuki Piano Repertoire and other works by Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, Ginastera, Mompou, Rodrigo, Ravel, Rachmaninov, Fitkin and Kurtag. West Road Concert Hall provided a most beautiful setting, and the students were thrilled to perform on the wonderful concert grand pianos available at this venue. We were also very pleased to welcome 8 new "Twinklers" to Cambridge Suzuki Young Musicians.

6 July 2013 CSYM Concert West Road Concert Hall

On Saturday 6 July 2013, CSYM students age 3-16 performed a fantastic "festival" programme of piano music for a warm and enthusiastic audience of family and friends at West Road Concert Hall, Faculty of Music, Cambridge. From first Bows and Twinkles to exciting and challenging piano works by Mendelssohn, Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev, Ginastera, Villa-Lobos, Thomas Ades and Charlotte Bray, all students gave their very best on the day, both in preparation and in concert performance. The youngest students were absorbed by the sight, sound and touch of the "awesome" grand pianos, and older students were patient and supportive, performing some very demanding music with confidence, determination and aplomb. Thank you to all CSYM parents for inviting friends and family to this end-of-year "spectacular". These whole-group concerts provide an important platform for our students to demonstrate their work over a given period, and it is exciting and inspiring to observe the range and extent of abilities across the age-range. All students benefit from both short and long-term performance goals to motivate their every-day practice, and the "whole-group" concert brings us all together a celebratory way, each concert, whittling one further notch in the time-line of a child's musical development.

8 December 2012 CSYM Winter Festival Concert West Road

Congratulations to all CSYM students for their well-prepared and very beautiful performances in the inspiring setting of West Road Concert Hall on Saturday 8 December. 41 students age 4-18 performed Suzuki Piano repertoire and works by Clementi, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Shostakovich, Mompou and Joa-quin Rodrigo, while three new "Twinklers" took their first bow.: A warm welcome to Joshua O'Neill, Felix Macrae and Mikael Englund. Any concert provides an opportunity for students to work towards a specific goal, to demonstrate their mastery of the repertoire and their study of tone, and to celebrate what they and their friends have achieved. Attending live concerts is one of the best way to motivate students towards new and more challenging repertoire. Afterwards, it is always interesting to ask students to name their favourite piece, and it is not unusual for many young children to say "All of them!"

October 2012 Concert in Madrid

On Saturday 27 October, twelve CSYM students ages 10-18 and their families gathered at the Auditorio Joaquin Rodrigo at the Eduardo Urculo Cultural Centre in Madrid for a special concert of music by Joaquin Rodrigo and other Spanish & Latin-American composers. The programme was shared with eleven Spanish piano students and performed to an enthusiastic audience of about 200 people. The programme was introduced by Rodrigo's daughter, Cecilia, director the Rodrigo Foundation and concert-organiser, and with the help of Geoffrey Kantaris' on-the-spot translation, Stephen was given the opportunity to express his gratitude to the Foundation and to all those supporting the concert. All CSYM & Madrid students were extremely well-prepared, coping well with the unknown elements (different piano, venue and audience) and performing at a high standard. The audience was highly-attentive and most-appreciative, as Jon Shallcross described afterwards: "The 'duende' was truly with all the children on Saturday and it was great to hear Spaniards in the audience murmuring '¡vale!' and ¡bien!' during the performances, as though we were all at a flamenco gig. Audience participation of this sort is something I fully believe we should introduce at the next West Road concert. Many, many thanks to you both." The Spanish teacher was also very pleased with the outcome of the concert and the opportunity to explore the music of Rodrigo which she hadn't done before. Impressed by CSYM students' ability to bring out the Spanish rhythm and soul of the music. "How did you do that?", she asked Stephen, and he replied that most of the students had been studying the music through the recorded performances of the Rodrigo himself. The first thing she asked Stephen after the concert was "When are you coming back?"

20 November 2011 CSYM Concert Emmanuel College

36 CSYM students from age 3-16 performed a splendid programme of varied music, ranging from Suzuki Books 1-3 to works by Rameau, Granados, Rachaminoff, Faure, Chabrier, and featuring solo and duet works by Gyorgy Kurtag. Each and every student was extremely well prepared and did their best, many putting into effect what they practiced just a few hours earlier at dress rehearsal. Teacher "Snapshots"...Young children taking pleasure and pride in their first ever bows to an audience...How fine concert dress improves focus and concentration (this was one of Mrs Kataoka's "BASIC" of piano performance)...3-5 year-olds in their first bow, moving their fingers playing "air piano" on their laps while another performs...holding hands and making new friends...students focused intently upon their classmates and the sight and sound of the grand piano...A deservedly proud moment for students sharing musical projects on which they have been working long and hard for six months or longer...Growing confidence, musical maturity and stage elegance of CSYM teens... Entering a concert hall and hearing the acoustic of the grand piano in a large space heightens a child's sensibilities and raises their level of concentration, ultimately helping them gain the most from their experience and to do their best. Frequent performance opportunities and attending concerts develop musical, technical and listening skills, skill and confidence in performance, and provide motivation for long term practice. Beneath the surface, this November's concert experience will serve CSYM students as a source of pride and inspiration for study over the coming months. CONGRATULATIONS!

28 November 2010 CSYM Concert Emmanuel College

CSYM Suzuki Piano Students ages 4-16 performed a public recital in the attractive surroundings of the Queen's Building of Emmanuel College in Regent Street, Cambridge on Sunday 28 November from 2:30PM. Made possible by the CSYM Group Subscriptions, the concert was free and open to the general public. The students did themselves proud once again with their fine stage presence, their courteous concert etiquette, and the wonderful results of their hard-working efforts over a particularly long Autumn Term. The Twinkler Group took their first bows or played their first Twinkles, followed by well prepared performances of Suzuki repertoire and music by Bach, Mozart, Granados, Debussy, Faure and Ginastera. The CSYM funds also purchased interval catering snacks of hot and cold drinks and biscuits, served in the lovely Harrodian Room behind the auditorium. CSYM's twelve member Arion Chamber Choir performed two canons and one lengthy unison song by memory, and many students came away with favourite performances and music they would like to study themselves in future. Performing in a new venue lent a heightened level of excitement and enthusiasm to the occasion for students, parents and teachers alike!.

26-29 July 2010 CSYM Summer Institute 2010 - West Road

After two years of preparation, the CSYM Piano & Contemporary Chamber Music Summer Institute took place 26-29th July 2010 at the Cambridge University Faculty of Music. CSYM piano students participated in courses at three different levels: Book 1, Book 2 and Advanced with Chamber Music. Alongside CSYM students ages 4-18, others attended from the UK & Spain, including teach-ers from Spain & Holland.
Course offerings included Suzuki Piano Master-classes (Huub deLeeuw), Dalcroze Eurhythmics (Jacqueline Vann), Kodály Musicianship (Betty Power), Chamber Music (Matthew Jones, & Koen Roens). Matthew also provided the older students with an introduction to Alexander Technique & yoga, and Koen Roens delivered an encouraging & inspired Parent Talk. A beginners group of 3-5 year-olds participated in rhymes, singing games & Dalcroze Eurhythmics during the morning "Minstitute", and Piano Students from Book 2 and above performed original compositions with Composer-in-Residence Graham Fitkin in attendance.
Graham's creative piano ensemble sessions resulted in some exciting music-making in the final chamber concert, along with a performance of his two-piano work UNCERTAIN, commissioned by CSYM in 2007, coached & conducted by the composer himself. Most exciting was the premiere performance of the completed Piano Duos ON2-4U, with several composers in the audience, having taken part in an earlier panel discussion with students and parents.
A special thank-you to the Britten-Pears Foundation for its generous support of our ON2-4U Piano Duo Commission Project, and to all those CSYM families who participated in this years Institute, helping to make it a memorable week of musical learning, practice and performance amongst Suzuki friends.

25 April 2010 CSYM Concert April 2010 - West Road

Congratulations to all Cambridge Suzuki Young Musicians for their superb performances on Sunday 25th April 2010 at West Road Concert Hall! 36 Suzuki piano students ages 4-18 of Betty & Stephen performed a concert of music by 20 different composers, ranging from arrangements of traditional folk tunes to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Ginastera, and Kurtag, among many others. The long-term music achievements of five students were recognised through the CSYM Suzuki Piano Graduation Awards. The CSYM Practice Club Awards were awarded to the following five students for Every Day Practice (30-90-and 1 Year+ awards). The stage skirt was beautifully-arranged with an anonymous donation of red and white geranium plants which were presented to the parents at the end of the concert. Thanks again to the generosity of CSYM friends and family, the retiring collection raised another £126 benefitting CSYM's Duo Piano Commission Fund On2-4U.

28 February 2010 Leys Concert - Leys School Recital Hall

Congratulations to 14 of our CSYM students who presented a varied and extremely well prepared recital of music representing 20 different composers on Sunday 28 February at the Leys School Recital Hall. The audience was highly-supportive, focused and deeply-appreciative, and many young heads were turned in excitement when they heard Sam Wood perform Musette from Book 1 as his encore piece following a tremendous performance of challenging works by Mendelssohn/Liszt, Villa-Lobos, Albeniz/Godowsky and Mompou. Thanks to the attendance of other CSYM families and friends, the group was able to raise an additional £310 in profit for the ON2-4U Piano Duo Commission Fund. Since we have comfirmed the commission by Tarik O'Regan, there is still another £450 more money to be raised, which we will first try to obtain through one-off sponsorships.

5 December 2009 CSYM Concert December 2009 - West Road

TO ALL CSYM STUDENTS For their fine performances in "Canciones y Danzas" SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER 2009 WEST ROAD CONCERT HALL The concert was a huge success in many ways, and both students and parents deserve to celebrate and be very proud of their concentrated efforts on the day, and over the past term. From Jane Kershaw: I just wanted to re-iterate how much we enjoyed the blend of traditional and exotic in yesterday's concert - it was a delight to listen to.  As ever, I am completely awestruck at how you both manage to draw out such wonderful talent from our children....Interestingly as soon as Rose came home, still in her concert dress, she went straight to the piano and continued the performance, playing through all her review pieces, all her new pieces and all the Burgmuller pieces she had ever done.  It was as though she just didn't want to stop.

5 July 2009 CSYM Concert July 2009 - West Road
(Full program)

The CSYM Multi-Piano Fest Concert took place on Sunday 5 July at West Road Concert Hall. Suzuki piano students of age 4-18 performed duos, unison works and multi-piano works from a wide range of composers and styles. All the students worked hard for many months in preparation, participating in a special day of rehearsals in the grand piano showroom of the Cambridge Pianoforte Centre, Kings Hedges Road. (Due to that visit, Lauryn & Erin Barnes are now pleased to be practicing at home on a brand new grand!) We were particularly pleased to be joined by Caroline Gowers and her students from the London Suzuki Group. Caroline, Stephen and I all thought the concert was a brilliant success. Caroline reported that her parents & students thoroughly enjoyed the concert and were especially inspired by the varied programme and high performance standard. Thanks to Ericka Jacobs and parent donations, CSYM was able to raise a total of £97 towards the On2-4U Piano Duo Commission Project. We also appreciated receiving the following emails from parents:
Congratulations on yet another outstanding Suzuki Summer Concert. The performances were fantastic and inspiring. You must be proud of your and your students' work. Making it a combined Power and Gower concert was another great idea. I think all children cherished the experience of performing in a team and on multiple grands! Thank you for organising, preparing and realising this beautiful concert. (from Annegret Dahlmann)
Many thanks for the fabulous concert!  So many moving moments and so much inspiration - especially from lovely Chloe, whose glamour was not lost on Izzy, who is now talking about going to music school like her!  Izzy really loved playing with the other children in her group.  I really loved the Fitkin. (from Martha Beardsworth)
Weekly group lessons are an integral part of Dr Suzuki's instrumental approach, but it is a rare opportunity for Suzuki piano students to play in unison on multi-pianos on a regular basis (another reason why weekly Review with the teacher is an important aspect of Suzuki Piano lessons). This exciting Multi-Piano Concert project provided students with the challenge of ensemble work on one or more pianos. Students of all ages not only learn from one another's lessons, but also have more fun practicing and performing together. Parents observed how working in groups increases the motivation to practice well to improve one's individual part. Annegret Dahlmann shared this about preparing at home for the concert:
I read your leaflet about the On2-4u project, and particularly liked the bit where you write that children often get inspired by children just slightly older than themselves... When you told Hamza about 4 piano Aunt Rhody, you explained that Hamza, Izzy and Imogen will play the right hand and Alexander Mitchell the left hand...You know that Hamza is very keen to play with the left hand, so when he had managed to get all the notes together for Cuckoo left hand, even that difficult last couple of bars, he jumped off the piano stool and gave me a big hug. Then he said: "Now I can do the left hand in Cuckoo, and some time I will be able to do the left hand in all the pieces, won't I?...And then, maybe when I'm 7, when we have another concert with 4 pianos, maybe I can play the left hand, like Alexander!"... You are absolutely right about the value of group practice and group concerts...

30 November 2008 CSYM Concert November 2008 - West Road
(Full program)

Congratulations again to ALL students for their wonderful performances at our West Road Concert, Sunday 30 November. The heightened concentration during rehearsals, the exciting experience of performing on very GRAND pianos in a wonderful hall, the dedicated attention of all audience members, all combined to create an outstanding demonstration of great ability on the part of all our students. Judging from this high-quality student concert, CSYM families should all be extremely proud of the valuable work they do each day at home during practice and studying musicianship together on Saturdays. It was particularly interesting to hear the comments from parents and children following concerts. When asked about their favourite performances, many of the younger children named pieces they are currently studying or soon will be studying themselves. In fact, one five-year-old announced that his favourite performance was his own! However, I was particularly pleased to hear from 11-12 year-olds that their favourites were not necessarily the "dazzling" repertoire performances, but ensemble pieces that were particularly well-rehearsed and performed. Working toward the goal of concert performances benefits musical growth before, during and even after the concert. Lessons the week following the concert were especially focused in the studio. Louise Mitchell, mum of Alexander reported the day following the concert & "We have just had a lovely practice session this morning with Alexander's energy very high. I recorded his piece at the concert and the audience applauding which he listened to before practice this morning too much to his joy!" Great idea for motivating practice!

29 June 2008 Dr Suzuki Anniversary Concert - West Road
(Full program)

Congratuations to all CSYM students who participated and a warm thank-you to all CSYM families who helped sponsor & supported the Dr Suzuki Anniversary Concert, either through their generous volunteer efforts behind the scenes, or through their attendance and help on the day of this very memorable & inspiring festival of Suzuki Piano. It was a special pleasure to be joined by other Suzuki Piano teachers from the UK, Germany and the USA, dedicated to helping children achieve their best through Suzuki education, in a programme ranging through 500 years of music from Frescobaldi to Fitkin.

Our new friends from abroad all hope to return to Cambridge one day; the German contingent was especially pleased to be able to camp out on Judith Heslam's lawn (first time camping for some of them!) Also, the charity fund-raiser proved a big success, raising over £400 in profits to go to Save the Children. And we hope you've all come away inspired by a "Dream Piece" you plan to listen to and learn one day in the future. Special Thanks to the following:

PR/Printing/Save the Children liason: Karyn Barnes Communications/Photocopying/Hospitality: Jane Kershaw & Judith Somers-Heslam Finance & Tickets: Rae Streets, sales on the door Louise Mitchell, Shekoofeh Shini, Audrey Caldwell Stewards: Jon Shallcross, Sarah Upjohn, Jenny Chin, Alison James

20 April 2008 Charity concert - West Road

Highlight: the 'Carnival of the Animals'

9 December 2007 Birthday concert - West Road Concert Hall

This year's pre-Christmas concert commemorated the 125th Birthday Anniversary of Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) and featured piano music by Hungarian composers including Kodály, Bartók and Kurtág. Younger students performed pieces from the Suzuki Piano repertoire, and CSYM's own Arion Chamber Choir presented several Hungarian children's songs arranged by Kodály and Bárdos.

Zoltán Kodály (pronounced 'Ko-DA-ee') was a prominent Hungarian composer and musician, linguist and ethnomusicologist, who devoted much of his life to reforming the teaching of music in his native Hungary and to making it an integral part of the education of every child. Kodály realized that music is part of everyone's basic heritage, is fundamental for human development, and should be started at as early an age as possible. According to Kodály, a child's voice is the most natural means of musical expression, so music instruction is based in singing and focuses on developing the skill of inner hearing, using nursery rhymes, traditional chants, singing games, folk songs, selected art music and rhythmic movement. Like Dr Suzuki, Kodály believed that music is meant to develop one's entire being: personality, intellect and emotions. Kodály's vision was to develop all aspects of the musician in balance with the others: the eyes, the ears, the hands, and the heart.

26 July 2007 at West Road Concert Hall

The finale concert of the Institute included the premiere performance of an exciting three-movement piece for two pianos and string quartet by Graham Fitkin, commissioned by CSYM.This was made possible by the financial support awarded by the Performing Rights Foundation. The programme also included music by Spanish and Latin American composers.

18 March 2007 at West Road Concert Hall

The Spring concert 2007 - 'Especially Espana' - featured the music of twentieth-century Spanish and Latin American composers, including Albeniz, Turina, Rodrigo and Villa-Lobos, alongside pieces from the Suzuki repertoire. Before the interval, a representative from the RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf) spoke about the work of the charity and the awareness-raising campaign Don't Lose the Music: Look After Your Ears Now - Enjoy Music Forever. See their website for further information. Over £120 was raised in voluntary donations for the RNID.

Betty's article looking at the issue of noise, music and hearing care - 'How Loud is Too Loud?' - can be downloaded here.

Saturday 3 February, 12pm at Michaelhouse, Trinity Street

An informal piano concert by CSYM students in the chancel at Michaelhouse to help raise funds towards commissioning a new piano/chamber music work by leading British composer Graham Fitkin.

Sunday 10 December 2006, 3pm at West Road Concert Hall

The Well-Tempered Student: Music in many keys

Sunday 26 March 2006, 3pm West Road Concert Hall

CSYM spring concert in aid of the music therapy programme at Milton Children's Hospice

This year's spring concert focused on contemporary piano music. Pieces from the newly published collection of international compositions entitled 'Spectrum 4' (including works for piano with accompanying soundtrack), as well as works by Hungarian composer Gyorgy Kurtag from his series of pieces called 'Games', were performed. Kurtag himself wrote: 'The idea of composing "Games" was suggested by children playing spontaneously, children for whom the piano still means a toy. They experiment with it, caress it, and run their fingers over it. They pile up seemingly disconnected sounds, and if this happens to arouse their musical instinct they look consciously for some of the harmonies found by chance and keep repeating them'. The concert programme was in part a 'hommage' to Kurtag who is 80 this year.

The younger pupils played pieces from the Suzuki repertoire of folksongs and classical pieces. The programme included piano solos, duets, and two-piano performances.

Over £150 was collected in voluntary donations during the interval for the music therapy programme at Milton Children's Hospice.

Music therapy is based on an understanding that the ability to respond to music is an innate human response that is often unimpaired by disability. Music therapists are trained to use music to reach out and help people communicate and interact musically. For more information about music therapy, see the British Society for Music Therapy website. To find out more about the work of East Anglia's Children's Hospices, see their website.

Betty & Stephen Power

Email: info@suzukipianocambridge.org.uk