I learnt piano the traditional method from about age 7 years. Suzuki method was available for violin where I lived but not for piano. When I was about 11 years, I wanted to start violin lessons but there were no available places through the free system at my school, so I took a place in their viola class instead. This was not a great choice because I was a fairly small 11 year old and the full size viola was a real stretch for my fingers! I enjoyed playing in orchestras, however, it didn’t escape my notice that the violas rarely got a tune and usually had the "um-pah" accompaniment part. I was rather jealous of the soaring tunes that the 1st violins got to play so I transferred to violin.
I started teaching in my mid-teens. A family friend asked if I would teach their child so I did. That was the start of my realisation that I was a teacher at heart! I taught traditionally at this stage because I didn’t know any other way. By the time I was about 20, we had a family friend who happened to be a Suzuki teacher. This friend said to me one day “Katie, you so enjoy working with the little children, I think you might enjoy being a Suzuki teacher”. This hadn't occurred to me but upon a little research, I soon realised that would be a great idea.
From my first teacher training course I have been passionate about the Suzuki method of learning music. It makes so much sense to teach music as a language. Also I am a very logical and organised person so I really appreciate how extremely well thought-out the syllabus is. I am very aware that knowing how to play music is quite a different skill from being able to teach music so I appreciate the very thorough grounding and support that the Suzuki institute gives its teachers.
In all, once I discovered the Suzuki method, there was no going back. I continued teaching some traditional students as well as Suzuki students for a while but I found that I enjoyed the Suzuki method so much more. As my traditional students moved on or converted to Suzuki, I became solely a Suzuki method teacher, and have remained that way ever since. With the exception of a few breaks along the way (because of work and family commitments), I have taught the Suzuki method for the last 20 years and plan to continue for many years to come.