Tuesday, November 17, 2009


So I'm a Suzuki teacher. Not a "Oh, I teach Suzuki method violin" teacher, but a Suzuki philosophy teacher. Well, I try to be. It doesn't always go to plan, especially when I'm brought (or pushed) into proximity with other Suzuki teachers. The code goes like this: "Methhhhhoddddd" (with eye-rolling or tweaking fingers) or "Philosophy" (hushed, slightly reverent tones).

An incident is relayed in Suzuki Changed My Life by Masaaki Honda.in which one of Suzuki's nieces returned to the modest family home and said "Oh, on my way home I saw this poor man... and thought how nice it would be to invite him home where we have hot tea and good food." (I am paraphrasing because I can't currently find my copy of this book, but you get the point.) Instead of praising her for her kind thoughts, Suzuki pushed her back out the door and told her to find the man and bring him home. She did, and they fed him and kept him overnight before he resumed his journey the next day.  

While the action points to the value of karma and reciprocity, Suzuki said he was trying to teach the value of action. (Hello, Satyananda philosophy!) When we think Hey, wouldn't it be nice if... yep, ok, you're a great person for THINKING that, but it's meaningless and futile unless you get off your backside and DO it. So, the message? Thoughts are essentially without value unless they are acted upon and made real.  (The perfect illustration: Well, I was going to do x (where x = wash the dishes), and I was thinking about it, but then y (a phone call inviting me out to lunch) happened. Yes, so you lost your intent and x never actually happened.)

What's brought this to my mind was a funny incident on Sunday involving several Suzuki teachers. Meeting was meant to take place at location A but changed to location B (another teacher's studio) because of our warm weather and the availability of air-conditioning. 

At my house my studio is downstairs and semi-detached from the 'main' house; students need to come upstairs to use the bathroom, for a drink, etc. Same deal @ location B. The homeowner and her husband were at home and spent their Sunday in the garden and other activities around the house. 

I think that in a similar situation (i.e. location B being my home) I would leave the necessary items for lunch (we were in situ from 10am-4pm) such as plates, glasses, cups and cutlery on the kitchen bench or dining table so that the (four) working teachers could assemble their meals (from the food they had brought) and have a cup of tea before getting back to it. Well, I thought that would be a sensible approach. 

Clearly I'm afflicted by a very strange and perverted type of common-sense. It does, after all, make far more sense for the visiting teacher to bring cutlery, cups, glasses, plates, TEABAGS, sugar and coffee. And then pack them all away to wash up at home. 
MUCH more sense. What was I thinking? 

You will all be pleased to know that I have offered my studio space on multiple occasions. I even have five different types of herbal tea. However, living forty/fifty minutes from the city, it's clearly too far for other teachers to travel. Clearly. There are some days I just don't get it. Any of it. 


Ebony Haywood said...

Hi Omchelsea,

I've left you an award on my blog. Keep up the awesome blog. :)

Dan. said...

Well, I'm certainly with you on the last part of your post. I am constantly wandering round in a perpetual state of bewilderment. Life puzzles me to almost dangerous levels.

And do you want to hear something odd? You remember when I said I didn't get any of your latest posts come up on my dashboard thingy? Well about two months worth has popped up this morning. Every time I go to log on to my blog, you are screaming at me for attention.

Judearoo said...

I'm the same as Dan! Was wondering why you were so quiet and here I see you were no such thing! ;)

Shall be tuning in more often now, hurrah! :)

erin said...

I just ordered the book for Jeremiah for Christmas. Yay.

Anonymous said...

Same here. All of a sudden you're alive again and if Blogger says it's true, who am I to contradict it?

What's the collective noun for a group of Suzuki teachers, I wonder?

Nice to have you back. :)