Beginnings of Suzuki Piano in Western Australia
Suzuki piano commenced in Perth in the early 1970’s after Janet Leggo LMusA, AMusA (Tchr) STCA (Adv) received a grant from the Western Australia Arts council to study Suzuki piano in Japan. Janet had already been teaching AMEB for 20 years and training students up to AMusA level. Janet decided to trial the Suzuki approach for 10 years to prove mainly to herself that the Suzuki piano method was beneficial to students.
The results were exciting! Starting children who were pre-school was delightful and to have the parents coming to every lesson and supervising their program at home became very motivational for both parents and teacher. Since 1975 Janet definitely believes that this approach is worthwhile and rewarding. For it to work effectively it needs not only the ability of a well trained Suzuki teacher but also the co-operation of a parent/s willing to spend time with their child’s musical education by attending every lesson, taking notes and in the early years supervising their home piano practise.
The wonderful point about this method is that every child works at their own rate. The ultimate aim is to develop in the child a love and appreciation of music which will last them for the rest of their life. Suzuki piano students who reach book 6 or 7 are quite capable of sitting for approximately grade 6 or 7 AMEB and Janet’s students in the past have done this quite successfully.
Quite a few have topped TEE music and one is now a music examiner. Others have chosen to be doctors, lawyers, architects and teachers. Learning any musical instrument over a number of years seems to be beneficial for developing good study habits.
In 1985 the Suzuki Piano Association was formed by Janet as President and Jan Moreschini as Vice President. Janet was awarded teacher training status by Mr Harold Brissenden of Sydney. The committee commenced by inviting interstate and overseas Suzuki teachers to Perth to train our piano teachers. Janet was subsequently invited to train and teach on numerous occasions in Melbourne, Alice Springs and has also taught in Adelaide and Sydney.
We now have four more Suzuki piano trainers, Mrs Jan Moreschini, Mrs Dorothy Clark, Mrs Elisabeth Anderson and Mrs Georgina Adamson who have studied through the three training levels for teachers – Primary, Intermediate and Advanced.
They also were successful in being awarded, through Suzuki Talent Education of Australia, Teacher Training Certificates. It is pleasing to note that these teachers are now producing a new generation of students who are taking an interest in teaching Suzuki piano.
In 1992 the Suzuki Piano Association was dissolved to make way for the amalgamation of all the Suzuki instruments and voice groups and with a new constitution Janet became the first President of this new era of Suzuki music in Perth. Janet was awarded the OAM in 1999 for her service to music education and has now retired.