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Suzuki Voice Program since 1986

Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and Dr. Päivi Kukkamäki in Japan 1986

Part of the History

(Some important dates)

The Program has been developed by Doctor Päivi Kukkamäki 1987-2003 with same children during 17 years at Sibelius University, Docmus-department. The idea to start this program with expectant mothers came from Ilari Kukkamäki 1985.


European Suzuki Conference was held during Easter 1986 in Finland and Päivi Kukkamäki met Doctor Shinichi Suzuki and Mrs. Waltraud Suzuki for the first time.

On September 15th, 1986 Päivi Kukkamäki travelled to Matsumoto, Japan for the first time.

October 10th, 1986 Suzuki violinists in Matsumoto asked soprano Kukkamäki to perform with them Schubert’s ”Ave Maria” for Dr. Suzuki as a present. October 16th, 1986 Dr. Suzuki’s 88th birthday was held in Talent Education Institute. Dr. Suzuki liked Kukkamäki’s voice very much and asked her to perform more. October 28th, 1986 Kukkamäki sang for the second time in the Institute with Marilyn Anderssen. After concert Dr. Suzuki gave her the music “By the Waters Minnetonka” and asked her to sing it with his best violinist Yuriko Watanabe at the next Monday recital November 11th, 1986. The pianist was Caroline Govers. Ethel Fang accompanied “Kun päivä paistaa” composed by Oskar Merikanto and folk song “Taivas on sininen ja valkoinen”.

November 13th, 1986 Doctor Shinichi Suzuki invited Kukkamäki to the Calligraphy classroom and started to discuss singing and listening tapes. Kukkamäki told Dr. Suzuki about the idea of starting Suzuki Singing with expectant mothers. Dr. Suzuki asked Kukkamäki to record the listening tape after returning to Finland. He asked that the voice model must be clear and it has to have the center of the tone. Kukkamäki sent the tape to him in December 1986. 
November 14th, 1986 Kukkamäki received an invitation from the Suzukis to the Song recital in Matsumto.

November 17th 1986 Kukkamäki sang again at the Institute: Julius Benedict “La Capinera” with the flautist Laura Larson and pianist Ethel Fang. Marylin Anderson accompanied the Finnish section: songs composed by Tauno Pylkkänen. 
November 18th 1986 Dr. Suzuki came again with thanks for the songs and invited Kukkamäki to the Matsumotos’ restaurant “Taiman” for dinner and a meeting with Waltraud Suzuki.

November 19th 1986 (Wednesday) meeting (time 2.00 p.m.) Kukkamäki received more specific advice and the main suggestions for the songs and lullabies for the first book. The decision to start with expectant mothers was made. It changed Kukkamäki’s life. Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki asked her to come to Berlin 1987. Waltraud Suzuki’s suggested songs have been included in level 1–3 Suzuki Voice repertoire and Dr. Suzuki’s suggested songs and the other songs Kukkamäki sang in Japan have been included in Suzuki Voice level 4–5 repertoire.


May 5th 1987 the first expectant mothers group started the program in Vantaa, Finland. Reports were sent to Japan regularly. Kukkamäki has had personal contact with Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki until their deaths.

1987 in Berlin Kukkamäki introduced the first results of the program and approval was given to continue the program with this repertoire. Over the years she has travelled to a lot different countries, participating in conferences, conventions and workshops: with lectures, program introductions and demonstrations with her own students in many countries and finally training new teachers.

1991 Kukkamäki became the ESA Teacher Trainer. Mette Heikkinen is appointed as the Second ESA Teacher Trainer 1993.

1998 The first ESA Suzuki Voice Exams were held in Finland.

1999 The 1st "Songs for Sharing" workshop and Teacher Training was held in Barcelona, Spain.

2000 The 2nd International "Songs for Sharing" Suzuki Voice Workshop and Teacher Training was held in Barcelona, Spain.

2001 Kukkamäki did completed thesis of “The Effect of Singing on the Life of a Growing Child from Pregnancy to the Age of Six” thereby gaiming her the Licentiate of Music degree at Sibelius University. The 3rd International "Songs for Sharing" Suzuki Voice Workshop was held in Vantaa, Finland.

2002 The 4th International "Songs for Sharing" Suzuki Voice Workshop was held in Vantaa, Finland. Engelbert Humperdincks’ opera “Hänsel und Gretel” was performed seven times at Concert Hall Martinus in its original language, German.


February 28th 2003 Kukkamäki used the completed Suzuki Voice Program over 17 years to gaim her the Doctorate of Music degree at Sibelius University. The opponent professors were from four different Universities.

May 27th 2003 the first level 5 Suzuki voice students graduated and Singing Group “Crescendo” was founded by Kukkamäki.

The last level - level 5, advanced level- Suzuki Voice Teacher’s Training requirements were accepted and approved by ESA board September 14th 2003.

Suzuki Voice Program was approved by ISA October 17th—18th 2003 in USA.


May 14th 2004 the first level 5 Suzuki Voice Teacher examination was held in Finland: Mezzosoprano Katrina Pezzimenti from Melbourne, Australia.

ISA Suzuki Voice Committee was formed in 2004.


Teacher Training Short-Term Courses started in USA 2005 at American Suzuki Institute.


14th Suzuki Method World Convention and the 5th International "Songs for Sharing" Suzuki Voice workshop, training and exams were held in Turin, Italy 2006. Suzuki Voice students were singing the last act from "Hänsel und Gretel" opera composed by Engelbert Humperdinck with Stefano Tempia Orchestra at Conservatory G. Verdi of Turin.

October 2006 Suzuki Voice Volume 1, English and Spanish translations were approved by ISA and Katrina Pezzimenti is appointed as the Third ESA Teacher Trainer.


Suzuki Voice Student's celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Web-pages have been opened.

The 6th International “Songs for Sharing” Suzuki Voice Workshop was held in Finland June 2007.


October 2008 Suzuki Voice Volume 2, English and Spanish translations were approved by ISA.


The 7th International "Songs for Sharing" Suzuki Voice Workshop was held the first time in Latin-America 2009. New Suzuki Voice countries participated: Chile, Paraquay, Mexico. The Participants came from seven countries: Argentina, Australia, Chile, Finland, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.

Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) has appointed three Suzuki Voice Short-Term course Teacher Trainers: Dr. Päivi Kukkamäki, Katrina Pezzimenti and Mary Lu Hofer 2009.

15th Suzuki World Convention and the 8th International "Songs for Sharing" Suzuki Voice Workshop was held in Melbourne Australia April 2009. New Suzuki Voice country -Japan - participated.

2009 two Level 5 (Advanced Level) Suzuki Voice Teacher Examinations were held in Finland: Soprano Mervi Sipola-Maliniemi, Finland and soprano Analia Capponi-Savolainen, Argentina and Finland. Capponi-Savolainen is the first Level 5 Suzuki Voice Teacher from SAA.

October 2009 Analia Capponi-Savolainen is appointed as the ESA Suzuki Voice Instructor.


The 9th International "Songs for Sharing" Suzuki Voice Workshop and training was held in Finland June 21st-July 2nd, 2010. Participants came from 10 countries: Argentina, Australia, Finland, Ireland, Japan/Great-Britain, Mexico, Spain, Sweden and USA. Workshop activities: Teacher Training, Teaching in Practise in all levels, Teacher's exams, opening at Ministery, Gala Recital at Alexander Theatre, lessons for students and teachers, opera master class for advanced students, Suzuki Voice 24-year exhibition, four "Songs for Sharing" recitals at Lumme Hall and at Saint Laurent's Church, trip to Sibelius' Ainola and country presentations and teacher's meetings at Stanvik Villa.

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