In English  Español  Suomeksi  日本人  Institute

Suzuki Voice: Historical Synopsis from the beginning through 2010

by Amelia Seyssel (2017)


The Suzuki Voice Program officially began in 1986.  Its founding within the Suzuki community was the direct result of conversations between Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki (Japan) and Dr. Päivi Kukkamäki (Finland) before, during and after Dr. Kukkamäki's extended visit to Matsumoto in the Fall of 1986. Both Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki continued their approval of the program and its development from 1986 until their deaths in 1998 (Dr. Suzuki) and 2000 (Waltraud Suzuki). The Suzukis’ involvement took the form of continual and persistent correspondence, reviews and recommendations, and various personal meetings with Dr. Kukkamäki throughout the many years from 1986 forward. From the beginning, the program was named ‘Laulusuzuki’ or ‘Laulusuzukimenetelmä’. This was translated into English first as ‘Suzuki Singing’, then ‘Singing in the Suzuki Style’ and finally its present and official designation of ‘Suzuki Voice’.

RESOURCE_1986_Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Kukkamäki in Japan.jpg


Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and Dr. Päivi Kukkamäki at the Talent Education Institute, Matsumoto, Japan, 1986 (special note: this photograph was made at the specific request of Dr. Suzuki for historical purposes)

The program was fully researched and developed by Dr. Kukkamäki at Sibelius University over the course of a 15-year research project (1987-2002), with teaching techniques developed from 1987 to 2003. Her research activities from that period resulted first in her licentiate publication, Laulupainoitteinen musiikillinen ohjaus lapselle odotusajasta kuudenteen ikävuoteen - opetusmenetelmän esittely ja raportti opetuskokeilusta (2000) [The Effect of Singing on the Life of a Growing Child from Pregnancy to the Age of Six], and then a doctorate of music degree from Sibelius University on February 28, 2003. Her doctoral thesis was published as: Laulun myötä kasvuun - Laulusuzukimenetelmän kehittämisprojekti (2003) [Growing Through Singing - development project of Suzuki Voice]. It named the Suzuki Voice Program as the thesis project and included reference to all material and conclusions developed for the program up to that date. A second edition was later published in March 2016 with the same title but including some updated material.

The first Suzuki Voice expectant mother and baby group in Finland, 1987

Preliminary plans began to take shape in 1985, when Dr. Kukkamäki began to formulate the ideas that would lead to her doctoral research and thesis. Her initial interest in the Suzuki Method was sparked in 1976 while observing her cousins studying Suzuki Piano. Later, as a many-faceted Bachelor-level student of church music, vocal performance and vocal pedagogy at Sibelius University, she spent two years doing coursework in Suzuki Pedagogy (1982-1984). As those ideas took shape in her mind, she began to think of how they might be applied to the study of voice. The idea to begin such a program with expectant mothers was contributed by her husband Ilari Kukkamäki in 1985. By 1986 Dr. Kukkamäki had developed a raw research plan and in February of that year she established the Talent Education Institute of Singing in Vantaa, Finland, which has functioned as a teaching, and later a teacher training, studio since that time.

The Suzukis and Dr. Kukkamäki met for the first time in Finland in March and April 1986 during the 7th European Suzuki Conference and began the discussions and personal friendship that would lead to the birth of Suzuki Voice. By the end of that conference Dr. Kukkamäki received an invitation from the Suzukis to come to Matsumoto. Just recently married, she sought advice from her husband who strongly encouraged her to go. Inspired by her personal experience of the Suzukis themselves and by her observations of the Japanese students that had attended the conference, Dr. Kukkamäki made the crucial decision that would ultimately lead to the founding of Suzuki Voice. She made travel plans and later that year, on September 15, 1986, traveled to Matsumoto, Japan.

An early Suzuki voice baby group in Finland, 1988

In Matsumoto she studied with Haruko Katoaka (piano), observed Toshio Takahashi (flute) and the Talent Education kindergarten, observed applications of the Suzuki Method and Philosophy to violin and cello, and almost daily observed Dr. Suzuki’s individual and group lessons. Mr. Takahashi also asked Dr. Kukkamäki to join his opera class and she performed Julius Benedict’s La Capinera with his flute student, a teacher-in-training from the United States. After hearing her voice, Dr. Suzuki asked her to sing with his best violinist and, as a gift during his 88th birthday celebrations at the Talent Education Institute, she also sang for him Schubert’s Ave Maria. Discussions during this first visit to Matsumoto resulted in Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki’s approval of the idea of beginning teaching with expectant mothers as well as their approval of Dr. Kukkamäki’s Volume One. Earliest discussions of the repertoire and listening tapes began in November 1986 in Matsumoto with Dr. Suzuki. After further discussions with both Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki, Dr. Kukkamäki was instructed to return to Finland and begin recording listening tapes. In December 1986, after returning to Finland, she created a formal compilation of the first Suzuki Voice Volume One and soon after began work on recording. The first listening tape was completed in Spring of 1987, and both book and tape for Volume One were sent to Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki in Matsumoto.The first practical applications of the program began on May 5, 1987 in Vantaa, Finland with the formation of the first expectant mothers group for thesis long-term study:  21 pregnant mothers and two 3-month old infants. In addition to the formal thesis group many other older children also began study in Suzuki Voice that were not included in the long-term study group and additional study groups were added as the program developed. Regular reports from Finland to Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki in Matsumoto ensued and continued on a regular basis until their deaths. Shortly thereafter, at the 8th Suzuki Method International Convention (1987) in Berlin, Germany, Dr. Kukkamäki introduced the initial results of the program and received official approval to continue the program with the Volume One repertoire as originally reviewed and approved by Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki. During the conference both Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki were very strongly involved. Mrs. Suzuki was herself a singer and from the time of the first Suzuki Voice groups was often referred to as “Godmother of the Suzuki Voice Program”.

RESOURCE_1988cropped_My Suzuki Voice students to see Dr and Mrs Suzuki 1988 to Sweden.jpg

The first Suzuki Voice trip to meet Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki during the 8th European Suzuki Conference in Borlänge, Sweden, 1988

In 1987 Dr. Kukkamäki began to travel to introduce Suzuki Voice to the world. Introductory lectures at various locations began in 1987 and soon after, in 1988, she undertook the first of many international journeys showcasing and demonstrating with Suzuki Voice students. That first demonstration trip was to Borlänge, Sweden, for the 8th European Suzuki Conference. She was accompanied by 24 of her Suzuki Voice students from her flourishing program plus their attending parents, a total of 45 persons. Both Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki were in attendance and were able to hear Dr. Kukkamäki’s Suzuki Voice students for the first time.  As there were several babies and many young children in that group of students, Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki were particularly pleased. Travel arrangements to Sweden were especially memorable, with 11 baby carriages boarding the ferry for the Baltic Sea crossing from Finland to Sweden. Also established in October of 1988 was the Suzuki Families Association, a Suzuki Voice parent support group that over the many years since inception has traveled extensively with Dr. Kukkamäki and her students:  to date, 48 conferences and workshops in 22 different countries.

Waltraud Suzuki with a young Suzuki Voice student in Borlänge, Sweden, 1988

1988 was also exceptionally productive in Finland itself. At the Art Center Pessi in Vantaa, Dr. Kukkamäki’s Suzuki Voice group produced a stage production composed entirely of Volume One songs. All of her Suzuki Voice students, including 24 infants, participated in the production in an Art Center transformed into a castle by local students of stage design. The production was significant enough to attract Finnish television to the event. Over the years she has commissioned, and in joint productions Suzuki Voice students from multiple studios have debuted, two new musical compositions for stage:   1- the opera: Roope, poika joka ei uskaltanut pelätä, Op. 76 (2004-2007) [Roope, a boy who did not dare to worry] composed by Timo-Juhani Kyllönen (Finnish composer, conductor and accordianist); and 2- the musical: Lumivalko ja Ruusunpuna (2012) [Snow White and Rose Red] composed by Kimmo Ruotsala (Finnish composer, pianist and conductor).

Mette Heikkinen teaching Suzuki Voice at a national summer workshop in Finland, 1989

Also in 1988, voice teacher Mette Heikkinen (Finland) was asked to join the Suzuki Voice Program and began a long and successful professional association with Dr. Kukkamäki, later becoming the second Suzuki Voice teacher trainer after Dr. Kukkamäki herself. Ms. Heikkinen had been a fellow student at the Sibelius Academy focusing on vocal pedagogy. Their association was generally through their mutual interest in vocal pedagogy as well as their mutual interest in the Suzuki Method. Ms. Heikkinen’s own interest in the Suzuki Method was sparked by her discovery of Suzuki Piano in 1982. In 1988 Mette Heikkinen and Dr. Kukkamäki jointly compiled the earliest version of Suzuki Voice Volume Two. The following year (1989) Ms. Heikkinen began actively teaching Suzuki Voice and, jointly with Dr. Kukkamäki, produced the first Volume Two listening tape.

Suzuki Voice group attending the 9th Suzuki Method International Conference in Matsumoto, Japan, 1989

In 1989 Dr. Kukkamäki’s group was invited to attend the 9th Suzuki Method International Conference and, with a group totaling 33, traveled to Matsumoto, Japan, for the first time with students. Again, most of the singers were younger children, ranging in age from 4 months to 8 years, and the Suzukis were delighted. At the time of this trip Dr. Kukkamäki was also pregnant with her first child. Additionally, at this conference Dr. Kukkamäki first met June Brown from Australia who later, in 1998 in Finland, became the first teacher to complete the Suzuki Voice Teacher ESA Level 1 certificate examination. The first SAA involvement also took place during this year. Marjery Aber (Founder of the American Suzuki Institute) and Pat D’Ercole (Suzuki Violin Teacher Trainer) traveled from Wisconsin to attend a violin course in Kerava, Finland, about 20 minutes from the city of Vantaa. During the same trip they took the opportunity to observe Dr. Kukkamäki’s Suzuki Voice program. They observed her lessons of 3-year-olds and other students at the Art Center Pessi in Vantaa, Finland, made some video-tape, and carried that and additional information about the program back to Mary Hofer in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, encouraging Mary Hofer’s budding interest in pursuing Suzuki Voice.

In the years to come, in her role as ‘Founder’ of Suzuki Voice, Dr. Kukkamäki’s attendance at various Suzuki conferences around the world was frequently recommended and requested by the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto. 1990 included a lecture trip to St. Andrews in Scotland for the 9th European Suzuki Conference where, accompanied by her 7-month-old daughter, she met Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki again. At the invitation of the PPSA Conference, in January of 1990 Dr. Kukkamäki made her first trip to Australia. Since then a total of 10 trips for conferences and workshops, usually accompanied by students, have been made to Australia including one the following year (1991) to attend the 10th Suzuki Method International Convention in Adelaide. A total of 27 persons from Finland, including children and family members, attended that Convention.

RESOURCE_1989_Suzuki Voice performing group 1st time in Matsumoto, Japan.jpg

At the specific request of Mrs. Suzuki, in May of 1990 Dr. Kukkamäki, along with her 5-month old daughter, attended the Fourth Suzuki Method Teachers Conference in San Francisco, USA, where she first formally introduced the Suzuki Voice program to the United States and first met Mary Hofer who later, in 2009, became the first American-born SAA Suzuki Voice teacher trainer and, ultimately, a member of the ISA Suzuki Voice Committee. In 1990 also Susan Matthews, a Suzuki Piano teacher from Texas, became the first voice teacher from the United States to travel to Finland, observing Dr. Kukkamäki’s Suzuki Voice activities both that year and again, accompanied by some of her students, in 1995. In 1993 Dr. Kukkamäki and her students, 42 persons in all, also made a concert trip to Sherman and Dallas, Texas, performing joint concerts with Ms. Matthews’ Suzuki Voice students.

Another significant meeting took place at a Suzuki Voice Workshop in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1992. Attending that workshop was Jaume Fargas i Fernàndes from Barcelona, the first Spanish speaking Suzuki Voice teacher, who began the work of creating Spanish translations for the songs of Volumes One, Two and Three. That work was continued over the course of several years and contributions to that effort were later made by many other native Spanish speakers from Latin American countries as well. Catalan translations of Suzuki Voice Volumes One, Two and Three were also created as this is the primary spoken language in Catalonia, including Barcelona. Mr. Fargas i Fernàndes was also responsible for the mammoth task of creating the computer compilation and ‘look’ of the Suzuki Voice volumes required for the many years prior to official publication. The many Suzuki Voice teachers trained before these volumes are commercially available are very familiar with this product.

Dr. Kukkamäki was appointed an ESA Teacher Trainer in 1991. Shortly thereafter, in 1993, Mette Heikkinen was also appointed ESA Teacher Trainer. Together they completed the Suzuki Voice Program structure through to its highest levels of repertoire and designed a Long-Term Teacher Training program that commenced giving Examinations in 1997/1998. That teacher training program has since been evaluated and revised on a yearly basis, each revision intent on making improvements to the one before. Over the years, as a variety of teachers slowly worked their way through the rigorous training program, more advanced level teachers have been able to contribute to the creative process of designing and refining the Suzuki Voice Program and its repertoire.

RESOURCE_1999_Mrs. Waltraud Suzuki and Dr. Päivi Kukkamäki in Japan.jpg

Dr. Kukkamäki’s last visit with Mrs. Suzuki, 1999

By 1992 Dr. Kukkamäki, using guidelines from Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki, had compiled the first version of Suzuki Voice Volume Three and the first Volume Three listening tape was made shortly thereafter, in 1993. In addition to guidelines, the Suzukis also recommended certain songs to be included in Volume Three, several of which have been retained in that final volume despite the later reduction of the original volume for excessive length. With Dr. Suzuki’s own chamber music volumes in mind, Dr. Kukkamäki commissioned chamber music accompaniments for Volume Three that were made by Kari Vannemaa (Finnish musician, guitarist and arranger). Various other editing choices have since been made to the three Suzuki Voice volumes that were compiled in these early days. Three additional songs were added to the original Volume Three song choices. Illustrations for Volumes One, Two, and Three, an element required by the original publishing company, have been removed. Otherwise the finished volumes contain essentially the same songs as were first compiled in those early years. Translations in both English and Spanish, accepted by internationally qualified Suzuki Voice teachers, have over the years been added to the original Finnish Volumes One, Two, and parts of Three.

In 1993 Dr. Kukkamäki was invited to Seoul, Korea, for the 11th Suzuki Method World Convention, and conducted lectures about Suzuki Voice for teachers and vocal group lessons as ‘Enrichment’ for attending students of other instruments. Participating in the conference and accompanied by her fifth child, was Masayo Okano who later, in 2009, became the first Suzuki Voice teacher from Japan. Prior to the convention Dr. Kukkamäki also returned, pregnant with her second child, to the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, as guests of Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki to view the recently opened Suzuki Library there. Latin America was the next area of the world to be introduced to Suzuki Voice. In 1993 Dr. Kukkamäki gave the first Suzuki Voice workshop in Lima, Peru. Important contributions to the Spanish language translations resulted from that workshop. The same year afforded another visit to Australia for the Suzuki Pan-Pacific Conference International in Melbourne.

RESOURCE_1988_Kukkamäki and Mrs Suzuki 1988 photo 26_touchedup.jpg

Waltraud Suzuki with Dr. Kukkamäki in Borlänge, Sweden, 1988

From 1993 forward, either formal teacher training or teacher development activities occurred at many conferences and conventions as this was an excellent opportunity for teachers and students from various areas of the world to meet. This was certainly true of the Suzuki Pan-Pacific Conferences International in Sydney and Brisbane, Australia (1995 and 1997). Suzuki Voice activities involving the Pan-Pacific Suzuki Association were encouraged and supported by Yasuki Nakamura, formerly PPSA chair and member of the ISA board. At the 12th Suzuki Method World Convention in Dublin, Ireland, (1995) a group of 25 traveled from Finland. Included in that group were Dr. Kukkamäki’s three children, the youngest being then only 5 weeks old. Ms. Kukkamäki’s parents, Heikki and Paula Mäenpää, also accompanied the group to assist with the children, a frequent occurrence during these years of intensive travel. During that Dublin excursion Mrs. Suzuki was carried upstairs in a chair by two strong men in order to allow her to join the Suzuki Voice activities, especially touching and memorable for all as the baby, in an attempt to imitate the sounds, also joined the singing group with its own vocal intonations. Teacher training was also ongoing in Finland itself and over the years many teachers have traveled there to take advantage of the training, the variety and number of students available for observation at that location, and for the international experience.

In 1997 Dr. Kukkamäki traveled to Turin, Italy, for the first time as well as making excursions further abroad to the United States and to Australia. During this year she and her students made their first visit to Stevens Point, Wisconsin, as part of a “Singing Across the Ocean” exchange program. Later in 1998 Dr. Kukkamäki again visited Wisconsin to conduct a Suzuki Voice workshop and children’s course.  Mary Hofer and the Aber Suzuki Center hosted those events and, in 1999, several Wisconsin students independently visited Vantaa, Finland, in reciprocation. Productive contact between Dr. Kukkamäki and Mary Hofer continued with Dr. Kukkamäki bringing some of her Finnish students again to Wisconsin in 2001. Dr. Kukkamäki also visited Australia again with a group of 20 in January 1997 for the Suzuki Pan-Pacific Conference International held that year in Brisbane. This was her first meeting with Australian soprano Katrina Pezzimenti who eventually followed up that introductory experience with multiple trips both to Finland and other locations where Dr. Kukkamäki was teaching or giving workshops. Katrina Pezzimenti later became the third ESA teacher trainer (2006) and the first Suzuki Voice teacher trainer in the PPSA as well as an important English language advisor to Volumes One, Two, and Three.

RESOURCE_1989_The Suzuki's and a Suzuki Voice student in Matsumoto, Japan.jpg

Suzuki Voice student Christian (1-½ years old) with Dr. Kukkamäki saying hello to Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki after a recital in Matsumoto, Japan, 1989

On January 26, 1998 Dr. Suzuki passed away. Two weeks prior to his death Dr. Kukkamäki had received a warm personal note from Mrs. Suzuki expressing her own concerns for his health along with additional thanks for Dr. Kukkmäki’s letters and photos, gratitude “for the nice work you are doing,” and directing her to “...please keep on teaching singing happy Suzuki Way [sic].” After Dr. Suzuki’s death Mrs. Suzuki sent an additional note thanking Dr. Kukkamäki “and the Suzuki Singers” for their sympathy and included the following directive: “Now all teachers have to take more responsibility to keep Suzukis [sic] spirit alive. You, dear Päivi, do a very good job. Thank you and keep on.”

The first Suzuki Voice formal teacher training program and the first Level 1 ESA Suzuki Voice teacher’s certificate examination (June Brown) took place in Vantaa, Finland, in 1998. In 1999 teacher training in Australia was conducted in conjunction with the 8th Suzuki Pan-Pacific Conference International hosted that year in Adelaide. Suzuki Voice, in the persons of Dr. Kukkamäki and several students, was also represented again at the 13th Suzuki Method World Convention in Tokyo and Matsumoto, Japan (1999). Although Dr. Suzuki was by then deceased, Mrs. Suzuki was in attendance and warmly conveyed her continued support. Dr. Kukkamäki’s Finnish Suzuki Voice group numbered 30 and included her own fourth child, 1 year old at the time. Accompanied by pianist Lola Tavor, teacher trainer from Switzerland, she was also able to sing again as a Memoriam to Dr. Suzuki his favorite German lied, Ave Maria by Schubert. 1999 also saw the first Suzuki Voice ‘Songs for Sharing’ conference, the brain-child of Jaume Fargas i Fernàndez and Dr. Kukkamäki, in Barcelona, Spain.

RESOURCE_2001_Jaume and Analia and me with Spanish translations.jpg

Working on Spanish translations in Finland, 2001: Jaume Fargas i Fernàndez, Dr. Kukkamäki, and Analía Capponi-Savolainen

The 1999 ‘Songs for Sharing’ conference was sufficiently successful that an additional ‘Songs for Sharing’ conference was scheduled the following year (in 2000) also in Barcelona, the second of many more to come. Teacher training was also offered at this event. Teacher training also continued in Latin America. In 2000 Dr. Kukkamäki visited Lima, Peru, again, meeting Analía Capponi, from Argentina, for the first time. Ms. Capponi, now Mrs. Capponi-Savolainen, followed up that first contact with frequent visits to Finland and became the first Latin American and SAA teacher to complete all levels of the Suzuki Voice teacher training course. She eventually became an ESA teacher trainer (2012), the fourth to be appointed, and a guest teacher trainer in the SAA in 2015. Beginning in 2001 she also worked closely with Jaume Fargas i Fernàndez to refine the Spanish language translations for Volumes One, Two, and Three and later hosted the first ‘Songs for Sharing’ conference to be held in Latin America:  2009 in La Plata, Argentina.

In 2001 Dr. Kukkamäki having completed her original long-term research work and 168-page volume, “The Effect of Singing on the Life of a Growing Child from Pregnancy to the Age of Six” was awarded her licentiate of music degree at Sibelius University. That long-term project included follow-up on the original group of children from the first expectant mothers group established in 1987 as well as subsequent groups added to that research study and specifically focused on many scientific aspects of that study. Two years later (2003) she completed her doctoral thesis which focused on the Suzuki Voice Program:  both the development of the teaching program itself as well as development of the teaching materials. It describes the Suzuki Voice Program’s special features, its relationship to the Suzuki Method, the teaching materials that were developed for the program (including beginning and early intermediate level Volumes One, Two, and Three, as well as song repertoire for intermediate and advanced levels), and explains and describes the aspects of the teacher training system and of the certificate examinations. A formal doctorate of music degree was awarded after a thesis defense involving professors from four universities.

RESOURCE_1988_1988 Mrs Waltraud Suzuki -me- Suzuki Voice Stuidents.jpg

Waltraud Suzuki with Dr. Kukkamäki and Suzuki Voice students during the 8th European Suzuki Conference in Borlänge, Sweden, 1988

On May 27, 2003 the first Suzuki Voice students graduated from all levels of the program and Dr. Kukkamäki founded the singing group ‘Crescendo’ to accommodate those student’s interest in continued Suzuki Voice involvement. The most advanced level of Suzuki Voice teacher training (ESA Level 5) was accepted and approved by the ESA board on September 14, 2003. On October 17-18, 2003 the International Suzuki Association (ISA) board, meeting in the United States, formally approved the Suzuki Voice Program. The following year (2004) an ISA Suzuki Voice Committee was formed to jointly oversee the continued progress of Suzuki Voice repertoire. That committee currently consists of teacher representatives from the ESA, PPSA and SAA.

In May of 2004, Katrina Pezzimenti from Australia became the first teacher-in-training to complete all five levels of the Suzuki Voice long term teacher training program and to pass her ESA certificate examinations for that level. Two years later, in 2006, she was appointed the first Suzuki Voice teacher trainer in the PPSA, and the third appointed ESA teacher trainer. Later, in 2008, she also conducted a teacher training course in Wisconsin at the American Suzuki Institute.

Suzuki Voice teacher training began at the American Suzuki Institute, Wisconsin, for the first time in 2005. In 2005 Dr. Kukkamäki was designated the first SAA Teacher Trainer and taught the first courses there, in 2005 and 2006. She has retained SAA Teacher Trainer status in the SAA since that time. From 2008 to 2012, Katrina Pezzimenti was designated a second SAA Teacher Trainer and she taught the 2008 short-term course offered at the American Suzuki Institute. Mary Hofer taught her first teacher training course in Wisconsin in summer of 2009 and, later that year (November) was named the first American-born Suzuki Voice teacher trainer. Subsequent teacher training courses at the American Suzuki Institute have been taught by Mary Hofer.

In April 2006 Dr. Kukkamäki returned to Turin, Italy, with a large group for the14th Suzuki Method World Convention. That event also included the 5th International Songs for Sharing conference, with Suzuki singers coming from Argentina, Australia, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. Many recitals were performed at that convention including the fourth act from the opera Hänsel and Gretel together with orchestra conducted by Stefano Tempia from the Verdi Conservatory. Suzuki Voice teachers included previously described teachers Analía Capponi-Savolainen, Jaume Fargas i Fernàndez, Mette Heikkinen, and Katrina Pezzimenti, as well as Helga Björk Gretudottir (Iceland), Mervi Sipola-Maliniemi (Finland), and Suzanne Stojkov (Sweden). Many teachers also attended with their own students.

In 2009 Suzuki Voice in Latin America was enlarged further with participants from seven different Latin American countries attending the 7th International ‘Songs for Sharing’ held in Argentina that year. By 2010 Suzuki Voice teachers were trained or being trained from 4 different Suzuki Associations:  the ESA, PPSA, SAA and also T.E.R.I. (Japan). Masayo Okano from Tokyo, the first Suzuki Voice teacher from T.E.R.I., was accepted into Suzuki Voice teacher training in 2009 and completed her ESA Level 1 examination in 2010. Also in 2010 she was joined in representing T.E.R.I. and ESA within the Suzuki Voice community by Eriko Shimada, living in London, who will soon complete the last level of Suzuki Voice long term training with Dr. Kukkamäki. Supervised by Dr. Kukkamäi, both T.E.R.I. teachers have been working on Japanese translations of Volumes One and Two. By this time Suzuki Voice had gradually spread throughout the Suzuki world. When the 9th International ‘Songs for Sharing’ Conference was held in July of 2010 in Vantaa, Finland, student, teacher, and family participants attended from 10 countries:  Argentina, Australia, Finland, Ireland, Japan/Great-Britain, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the USA.


Information for this article was drawn primarily from extensive conversations and email correspondence with Dr. Päivi Kukkamäki, Founder of Suzuki Voice, without whose generous time, help, advice and review it could not have been written. Some additional articles from the following persons also supplemented the project:


  1. Capponi-Savolainen, Analía, How Suzuki Philosophy Has Affected My Life, accessed 15 January 2017
  2. Fargas i Fernàndez, Jaume, How Suzuki Philosophy Has Affected My Life, accessed 15 January 2017
  3. Heikkinen, Mette, How Suzuki Philosophy Has Affected My Life, accessed 15 January 2017
  4. Hofer, Mary, My Experiences as a Suzuki Voice Teacher in Central Wisconsin, American Suzuki Journal 38.3, July 25, 2010, accessed online 12 January 2017
  5. Kukkamäki, Dr. Päivi, 30th Anniversary of the Suzuki Voice Program, posted 01 February 2016, European Suzuki Association website, accessed 17 December 2016
  6. Kukkamäki, Dr. Päivi, How Suzuki Philosophy Has Affected My Life, accessed 15 January 2017
  7. Kukkamäki, Dr. Päivi, Memories from Turin 2006, accessed 30 January 2017
  8. Kukkamäki, Dr. Päivi, The World Convention, My Memories, (2012), originally published for the 16th Suzuki Method World Convention accessed 26 January 2017
  9. Matthews, Susan, Susan Matthews Music Studio: About Me, accessed 16 January 2017
  10. Pezzimenti, Katrina, My Experience as a Suzuki Voice Teacher and What It Means To Me, (2004) accessed 15 January 2017

Author BIO:

Amelia Seyssel is an ESA-accredited and SAA-registered Suzuki Voice Teacher and holds a master of fine arts in vocal performance and literature from Mills College, California, USA. She is the first Suzuki Voice teacher from the United States to have earned an ESA Diploma for Suzuki Voice instruction. She trained most extensively at the Talent Education Institute of Singing in Vantaa, Finland, with Suzuki Voice Founder Dr. Päivi Kukkamäki. During the course of her Suzuki Voice teacher training studies, Ms. Seyssel has acquired training and teaching experience in Finland, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and the USA; and has been faculty at two Songs for Sharing Suzuki Voice conferences focused on student and teacher development.

  Follow us in:
© Model-Hangar Oy Music Department