Mary McCarthy is one of the foremost Suzuki teachers in Europe. She is director of National Suzuki Piano Teacher Training Courses in four different countries: Ireland, Scotland, Latvia and Spain. She is also Principal Piano Tutor, BA in Scottish Music, at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire, Glasgow and has been since its inception in 1996.
Mary was the first Suzuki piano teacher in Scotland in 1987 and was awarded a scholarship by the British Suzuki Institute in 1990 to study with Dr Shinichi Suzuki in Matsumoto, Japan. She continues to enjoy life as a Suzuki teacher in Edinburgh. Many of the families who started out with her in 1987 are now very good friends and still support the Suzuki community in Scotland and beyond.
Suzuki teaching is more a philosophy than a technique, designed to draw out every child’s (or adult’s) inherent talent and to free them musically. Exploring the instrument is more important than obeying the instructions of formal notation and pupils are encouraged to rid themselves of performance anxiety – sessions are open and often observed by parents and other students.
Read a testimonial from Joseph Peach, one of Mary’s students
In 2018 Mary took part in a remarkable series of events during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at The Pianodrome, a purpose built 100 seat amphitheatre made entirely from upcycled pianos. Mary conducted sessions with six people at a time. Many had never played the piano before and she introduced them first of all to the proper posture (‘Piano playing gets you into Pilates,’ she says) and to playing on the pentatonic scale, more popularly known as the black keys. Auld Lang Syne is only one of many pieces played entirely on the black keys. Many of the people who came were enchanted by the discovery.
Mary’s remarkable gifts as a Suzuki teacher have led to many international honours:
- Between 2008 and 2013 she was invited to be part of the teacher training faculty in Lima, Peru, for the Latin American Suzuki Festival each January.
- In October 2016 she was invited to be part of the teaching faculty at the State of Washington Suzuki Festival.