European Piano Teachersí Association: an opportunity for communication between Suzuki and non-Suzuki teachers

by Jenny Macmillan

Ability Development, Spring 1998

The British Suzuki Institute is an effective organisation that co-ordinates workshops, concerts and conferences, as well as arranging teacher training courses and selling publications related to Suzuki teaching. It also provides advice to parents and teachers. We are very lucky to have such a powerful and successful support system. As teachers we may feel there is no need to join another teaching association.

However, I think it is important for Suzuki teachers not to isolate themselves from mainstream, traditional instrumental teaching. Instead, we need to share our knowledge, and learn from teachers outside the Suzuki world. Certainly, if we want others to understand and be sympathetic to the Suzuki method, we must communicate and collaborate with them. We can promote concerts with non-Suzuki teachers, and attend their events.

A support system for piano teachers in the UK and, indeed, most of Europe, is provided by the European Piano Teachersí Association. EPTA has existed almost exactly the same length of time as the British Suzuki Institute - EPTA UK is celebrating its twentieth anniversary in March. Founded in London by Carola Grindea, EPTA aims to raise the standard of piano teaching and playing. It organises an annual conference and regular courses and seminars. Its members receive the Piano Journal and Newsletter three times a year. The Handbook includes a Register of Members which enables teachers to make professional contact with one another. The Piano Teachersí Information Centre can be used as a base for research and study. Regional groups of EPTA arrange local events.

There are over thirty regional groups of EPTA. Each region is free to organise whatever events it sees fit. Last term, events nationwide included:

  1. talks about
    • Alexander technique
    • teaching beginners
    • group piano teaching
    • practical psychology for instrumental teachers
    • Associated Board exam pieces
    • London College of Music exams
    • preparing for exams
    • improving scales and sightreading
    • phrasing and ornamentation
    • accompanying
    • musicianship
    • tax self-assessment and good business practice
  2. talk with video on
    • observing teachers teaching
  3. workshops about
    • improvising and composing Dalcroze Suzuki
  4. demonstration on
    • Roland pianos
  5. lecture/recitals on
    • piano duos
    • Beethoven sonatas and bagatelles
    • A celebration of Schubertís life and music
    • Chopin: the man and his music
  6. forum on
    • problem solving

and also recitals, masterclasses, pupilsí concerts, informal performance opportunities for teachers, informal discussions and music-making, and a Christmas lunch and other social activities.

Would some of these events interest you? If so, bad luck - youíve missed them for this term! But next termís programme will be just as good. Why not join EPTA, get involved in your local group, listen to what other teachers have to say, and make your views known? I feel strongly that Suzuki principles can only be strengthened by exchanging ideas with fine traditional teachers.

For further details of EPTA Click here.