This entire weekend is dedicated to the Mark O’Connor Violin Method. Last night for three hours, today for two three hour sessions and tomorrow the same as today. The session is taught by Pamela Wiley who is a teacher in Charleston, South Carolina, is good friends with Mark O’Connor, and is an experienced Suzuki teacher who really seems to love her students.
I am Suzuki student at heart, and a well trained Suzuki teacher, who firmly believes that every child can learn. I have studied Suzuki pedagogy with a variety of teachers and have been teaching for over a decade, so I have a wealth of my own experience to draw on as well. So naturally I’ve gone into the seminar with a few pre-conceived notions of what works and what doesn’t work as well. (I know I should try to avoid pre-conceived notions…but I am human.)
However, I’m going to wait to write up a full report until the seminar is done. Some positive things: improvisation is taught from the beginning, the children seem to really love the music, and the best parts of the Suzuki method are incorporated. Some negative things: without seeing the whole series as a whole it’s hard to say for sure what will happen (only two books are printed), and let’s not pretend that it isn’t greatly influenced by the Suzuki method, which was indeed groundbreaking and to pretend otherwise is frankly insulting.
So that’s my two cents for now…more to come later. I’m lucky to attend the workshop for a great price due to a grant from the Missouri Arts Council—so thanks to the Missouri Arts Council, you rock.