PETER KOMLOSTo study ways and means of teaching very young children to play the violin by the Suzuki method - Japan, USA, Canada
Peter was born in Java and grew up in New Zealand. He was taught by his father until he entered the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide. After finishing his studies he joined the South Australian Symphony Orchestra as a violinist. He married to Maxine, a fellow violinist, they had two children. They both played in orchestras in Tasmania, Germany and England.
Max Angus, noted Tasmanian painter and friend commented that “Peter was a kind and tolerant man who was devoted to music and prepared to work at it. He was a dynamic force in the flourishing days of the Richmond Centre for Arts. Peter was a rare combination of forcefulness, integrity and humility towards his work as a musician’
Peter was not just a talented musician but he was also a creative and talented photographer.
Peter spent six weeks in Japan studying with professor Suzuki of Tokyo, learning about the professor’s new method of teaching the violin to very young children. He also visited the Eastman School of Music in New York and in Montreal, Canada undertook field work related to the Suzuki method of teaching.
The Suzuki method uses several key ingredients. One of these is, parent involvement. The parent attends the weekly lessons and supervises the daily practice. An approach of love and praise from teacher and parent is utilized. Each step, however small, is encouraged and praised. Suzuki often said each lesson is very good except for one point which needs improving. Daily listening to recordings of the music being studied is encouraged. When the student knows the sounds of the notes to be studied, learning is much easier. Continually reviewing and improving music already studied is another key ingredient. In contrast to most traditional methods, Suzuki students learn their pieces thoroughly. This means that their confidence in their own ability is built up to a high level. All music is learned by memory. Suzuki makes it clear to the student that it is not possible to fail. Students are never graded, especially they are never given the label, “Failure”.
FELLOWSHIP CONCLUSIONS & OUTCOMES
On his return to Tasmania he set up a Suzuki School which was flourishing at the time of his sudden death in 1976. His wife Maxine, then moved back to Adelaide to be closer to family and continued Peter’s passion for this new method of teaching there. Maxine worked for over 25 years in the SA Suzuki School, sadly she passed away in 2004 from a brain tumour.