Eileen Suganuma Tsuzuki

Name in Japan: Eileen Suganuma Kosmala

Instrument studied in Japan: Violin

Dates in Japan: Sept. 1984-Sept. 1985

Years and locations of workshops with Dr. Suzuki or Dr. Kataoka that were outside of Japan: International Teachers Conference 1983; June-Aug 1986


I had been successfully teaching the method but wasn’t clear on several keys points which seemed contradictory at teacher training institutes where I went for training. I was able to take a sabbatical from my orchestra job and took the opportunity to go study with Dr. Suzuki. I was 26 years old.

My trip to Japan was easy to plan. It helped that I had attended the International Conference in Japan in 1983. My first time living outside of the US was made easier by having other foreigners studying at TEI [now TERI].

Observations of other kenkyusei lessons was the best way to learn many techniques and to become a better teacher. I was fortunate that when I was there, we had a kenkyusei group class with Dr. Suzuki every morning. We had class every day, even on holidays. Musical Expression class was quite different than what is learned in college. It was more useful. I really enjoyed calligraphy class and tried my best. But on graduation day Dr. Suzuki looked at my calligraphy and said, “Violin better!” Although I never missed a class, I think my calligraphy looked like an elementary school level. Regarding my graduation concert, I’m glad I actually did it.

This study gave me confidence in teaching the method and not just being a good teacher. After my study in Japan, I went back to my orchestra job, got married, had a son, taught him violin, quit the orchestra job, and have continued to teach violin.