By Karen-Michele Kimmett—Roblin, Ontario
For many years, Sue Irvine has often been the only PEI Suzuki member listed in the Suzuki Association of the Americas directory. She is a violin teacher and Suzuki mother of Adrian, who is now a Suzuki teacher in Toronto.
Sue has worked tirelessly to bring interest and prospective new teachers to the Suzuki method. For example, at the yearly music festival held in Charlottetown, she has encouraged organizers to invite adjudicators who, along with other music credentials, have a Suzuki background. She also currently offers group classes once a month with other local teachers, some of whom took Suzuki training years ago. Other local teachers are interested in learning about the method but have young families or limited resources making the pursuit of training difficult.
In conversation with Sue, it becomes clear that cost and accessibility to teacher training are key issues in further developing the method. It costs more, for example, for a participant to travel to St. Johns, Nfld., than it does to attend the Montreal Institute.
Musing aloud, Sue wondered if it might be possible to partner with Mount Allison University, for example, to offer an ECC course. Or perhaps the Nova Scotia Suzuki Institute could offer progressive teacher training units over a period of several summers to help with the training of future teachers. Recently the University of Prince Edward Island held a Symposium on the Arts and Sue hopes that at a future event, the Suzuki Method could be presented as part of the Symposium.
Sue is currently working with some young enthusiastic teachers, including a cellist, she hopes will one day be able to take over her program. The challenge is finding enough students in this sparse population to make it possible for a new Suzuki teacher to make an actual living. Sue is working hard to find a solution and with her energy and commitment, I’m sure that she will.