30 years ago Dr. Suzuki visited Scotland and 2000 people came to St. Andrews’ to see him made an honorary Dr at the esteemed University of St. Andrews. Until then the Suzuki Piano method was not known or delivered in Scotland. Ann Turner who worked to develop the piano community and teaching programme in England but was originally from Scotland helped to organise Dr. Suzuki’s visit. After her scholarship in Japan, Mary began developing the Suzuki method in Scotland, her own son Séamus Spencer was the first Suzuki student in Scotland and youngest son Seán went on to become a Suzuki piano teacher and guitar teacher (the only Suzuki guitar teacher in Scotland.)
Over the years a connection has formed between the Suzuki Community and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Trad music degree course on which Mary teaches. Very few places worldwide have a first study piano degree in Trad music, solo piano. That is directly connected to Suzuki structure because it gives pianists who are Trad musicians a high level keyboard skills.
The event itself included talks from parents Susie and Peter Stevenson, whom picked up Dr Suzuki from the airport 30 years ago! Insights from other teachers and also delivery and discussion from Scottish Conservatoire lecturers on the link of the Traditional Music department there to the Suzuki philosophy and pedagogy (to include Lauren Moir, James Ross, Alistair Patterson, Chris Grey, Professor Joshua Dickson). Students from 30 years ago, along with students actively studying today in Scotland (from age 2!) joined to celebrate, perform and learn together.