Reviews of the “Magic of Matsumoto” Book

The following are excerpts from a letter written by a Suzuki parent in California who read Dr. Barrett’s book The Magic of Matsumoto: The Suzuki Method of Education.

” … It is with delight that I am able to share with you just how much I appreciated reading The Magic of Matsumoto; You are correct in that Matsumoto and Dr. Suzuki are indeed, magical.

… While I will never have the opportunity of meeting him in person, thanks to you and your book, I was able to sit and observe Dr. Suzuki teaching lessons.

“… I also want to thank you for some of the perhaps ancillary topics but ones that I felt were very helpful in demonstrating how much Dr. Suzuki was interested in continuously improving the method. The technology chapter was fantastic. I thought your description of how you used the mother tongue method in your college writing class as well as in teaching yourself Spanish was invaluable in demonstrating that when you truly understand the Dr. Suzuki method your understand that while it has everything to do with the violin, it actually isn’t really about the violin at all. I think you captured that sentiment beautifully in discussing how most westerners would have difficulty understanding how one could train to develop high abilities on the violin – without having the goal of playing the violin as a major goal. I find this to be a common misunderstanding of individuals who practice yoga in the west. … through my practice of the art of yoga, I learn to better understand the art of life. It is my greatest hope that my son will also learn the art of life through his Suzuki violin experience.

Thank you so very much for sharing your experiences and your perspectives of Dr. Suzuki with me. I feel I was drawn to your book for a reason and it certainly showed me that there are amazing teachers in the United States who truly do understand Dr. Suzuki and are carrying forward his wonderful dream of helping humans to develop to their highest potential. …”

– C. Stangl

Here is another letter from a Suzuki parent regarding The Magic of Matsumoto: The Suzuki Method of Education.

“Your book has been an extremely valuable tool to our family. We initially bought your book to understand the Suzuki method and to assist in the instruction of our children with the violin. However, there was more information on what works for behavior and teaching than we had imagined.

Our son was having problems in school and we applied Suzuki’s positive rewards system. In less than a week my son’s teacher phoned me to tell me she saw a difference in his attention and willingness to learn.

We broke down the time interval for tracking his good behavior and learning objectives to one week. Our son gets a reward every Friday for a week of good behavior. (This can be picking out a movie for “fun Friday”, or choosing a place to eat.)

Here is a quote from his last grading period. He has shown progress in all subject areas this grading period. I feel that much of this is due to the improvement in his behavior. It has been evident to other teachers who come into my room as well as to the instructional assistants who work with us. He appears to be more willing to begin assignments and work harder at completing them. He is more enthusiastic during circle discussions and activities. We are thrilled at the complete turnaround and immediate success.

We had tried what we thought was everything. We were frustrated that he was misbehaving in school and getting low grades as early as kindergarten. Your book helped us to turn around the situation before it was too late. The information and methods are so simple and easy that I am now embarrassed that I didn’t think of it myself.

Thank you for providing the tools to open up a new world to our child. He is flourishing and enjoying the rewards of his own success. He also loves taking his violin lessons, and we feel very lucky to have you as our instructor.”

– Liz Devany