Sensei said “Every Child” (even if he needs an arm.)

When Dr. Suzuki said “Every Child”  he meant it.

He didn’t mean:

Well …”If they don’t have any learning disabilities. or  If he has good vision.  or If she can hear normally. or If she has fingers.  or If he has both arms.”

While I was in Japan one of the students who impressed me most was a teenage girl who played the violin on her right shoulder because she was missing fingers on her left hand.  It was not a problem for her to hold a bow with this hand while she played Beethoven’s Spring Sonata for a recital.

More than 15 years later I am teaching violin at a non-profit in Santa Ana which serves special needs and underserved children.  My classes at the Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center are inclusive of children who are sometimes facing challenges.  But up to this point none of them were missing any limbs.

When one of my newest students approached me about studying the violin without a right forearm I couldn’t bring myself to say no.  The fact that he was missing part of his arm was not the biggest obstacle I expected to be challenged with.  I kept him in the PreTwinkle Violin class and started working with him.  I thought,  If we can put a man on the moon surely there is a way we can give this child full access to a musical instrument like the violin.    I was willing to collaborate with any technician would be willing to assist me in adapting any prosthesis he was already using for this problem.

Well, it wasn’t that simple.  Expect to make a few mistakes before you find the right device for a child who is growing.

It was up to me to find some way that we could make the violin accessible to this child.  So I rolled up my sleeves and went online searching everywhere I could think of.  And then I started asking everyone, including my sister the Special Ed teacher.  I had to work fast because this student moved through all his PreTwinkle work faster than any other student in the program.  I found myself scrolling through the entire FB page of the E-Nable community who are known for creating affordable hands for children with 3D printers.

Finally, I found a technologist I already knew personally as a musician right here in OC.  Embarrassed for not thinking of him sooner, I asked Gene if he could help us create a bow arm for my OCCTAC violin student so this child could hold a bow with his left hand instead of his right hand.   His immediate response,  I quote,

“We’re on it!”

Gene Wie not only mobilized a student team from one of his high school classes of techie students who are inspired to create solutions for children like my violin student, he is assisting me with the problems of reverse engineering a violin so my OCCTAC Suzuki Violin student can play it on his left shoulder comfortably.

To learn more about this ongoing project go the link for:

LimbArt

Source: limbART – Gene Wie

 

 

Send A Musical Holiday Greeting To Your Friends And Put A Violin in the Hands of A Child

Suzuki Violin Students playing in front of a Christmas Card

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Our Sister Suzuki Program in Santa Ana at www.occtac.org needs our help to obtain enough small violins for all of the youngest children in the SASS Program who are ready to start playing Twinkle.   We have decided to use our musical gifts during the Holidays to help them put more 1/32, 1/16, 1/10 & 1/8 size violins in the hands of under served children.

Child trying a violin

SASS student with a 1/32 size violin

Violin Students from Talent Education Center and Santa Ana Suzuki Strings are collaborating together on a community service project that brings Holiday Music  to you or your family and friends during the Holiday Season.   For a donation of $25-$30 towards the www.occtac.org SASS Violin Fund you can send a personalized “Live Holiday Musical Greeting”  of your choice via phone, video or Skype in December 2011.

Please share the link below with groups or organizations you think might find a use for such greetings.   I am sure grand parents and other friends and family members would love to receive such a unique and personal greeting.   If you own a business you might want to send a musical holiday greeting performed by our talented young Suzuki violinist to customers, clients or special employees.   Or thank a special volunteer in your organization.

Do you have a hard to impress person on your Holiday shopping list?   This is a Holiday Greeting that will keep them talking about you all week.   You can get started by going to the link below on the OCCTAC.org site.    Choose a Holiday Carol on our request list which you like and fill in the rest of the form.    A Musical team from SASS and TEC will perform the musical greeting for your recipient, live and in person if possible.

Link to Live Musical Hoiday Greetings Request page

Live Musical Holiday Greetings Request page

Send A Musical Holiday Greeting To Your Friends And Help Our Violin Program.



If you liked that wait till you hear all of the SASS children play Jingle Bells for the OCCTAC Holiday Celebration, Dec. 18th.

Please help us share.

Please use the social media you have access to, to help us get the word out while people are making their shopping list and checking them twice.    Share our Seasonal Event on Facebook

With 10-12 donations we can put a small violin in the hands of an under served child in the Santa Ana Suzuki Strings program at www.occtac.org in 2012.

We can’t wait to recieve a request from you and surprise someone you care about.

 

On behalf of our Young Volunteers, Thank you for making a contribution to the SASS Violin Fund at OCCTAC.  We want to wish you a wonderful Holiday Season.

Ms. Cynthia

Director of Talent Education Center: Suzuki Violin, Irvine

and Santa Ana Suzuki Strings at www.OCCTAC.org in Santa Ana, CA

http://sasuzukistrings.wordpress.com

Suzuki Violin Students performing at OCCTAC

Link to SASS YouTube

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SASS and TEC students invited to perform for more Fall Events in Orange County

Just as their video with Mayor Kang and the City Council meeting was being made other organizations in Orange County were making plans to invite Suzuki Violin Students from TEC and SASS to play for their events.

They are planning to have a booth in the Irvine Global Village Festival  on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10:00 to 4:00 in the Kids Village.    But now they have been invited to play for the  Cultural Demonstration Pavilion at 4:00that day for 20 minutes.   This will be located near the Cultural Exhibits in the front of the Park.   Now we can play all of the other Twinkles  and Book One pieces that we didn’t have enough time to play for Mayor Kang.   There will be a sound system so we can play our accompaniments and talk about the Suzuki Method with the audience.    See Calendar Events for details.

This Festival will be lots of Fun for the Whole Family, with Exhibits, Entertainment, International Marketplace, Children’s Activities and International Cuisine.    Admission is Free.    Food tasting tickets will be available for purchase at the event.     See the link above for parking and shuttle information or bike parking.

We also plan to make an appearance for a Hoag Hospital Foundation fundraiser at a private party on Balboa Island in November.  We are going to bring some special guests from SASS to help us.  More details later.

We will also be signing up Violin Students  in Sept. for Suzuki Festival which will occur on November 7th.

Stay tuned.   This is going to be a busy year.

TEC and SASS can be engaged to do community service activities for occasional non profit events.    Please contact Ms. Cynthia at TEC or OCCTAC.

Who stands behind every Volunteer

Featured

Recently I was invited by Dr. Jimenez, the Executive Director of  OCCTAC to attend a banquette called the ‘Spirit of Volunteerism’ held  at the Disney Land Hotel to honor  volunteers in the OC area.    It was sponsored by the OC Register and the Volunteer Center of Orange County, organizations I often drive by on the way to OCCTAC on Fridays to teach the Santa Ana Suzuki Strings.    I got to meet and have lunch at one of many tables with about 7 other volunteers at OCCTAC which Dr. Jimenez wanted to recognize that day.     We were treated to entertainment by dancers from the OC High School of the Arts and a slide show of all of the 250 volunteers who were being honored that day.

The people being recognized had many different kinds of motivations and resources for their desire to volunteer.     Many of them expressed an interest and value they already had in animals, culture or the environment.    Some had gifts financial or spiritual and had  time on their hands to go out into the community and work with other people.    Some like Ms. Cynthia were blessed by a sense of gratitude for opportunities they received in life and felt driven by an obligation to make the world a better place for future generations.

I couldn’t help but wonder who supported these volunteers when they were out there burning the candle at both ends?   Who was there waiting patiently in the wings for them to come home to do family things?   Who believed in them and appreciated the value of the gift that they insisted on pursuing?   Who was willing to share the indulgences that these generous volunteers had for the need to share with strangers in their community that they might not ever meet?

If they could all fit on the back of the certificate,  there would be quite an extensive  list of family, friends and students who put up with this Suzuki teacher and tolerated her audacious and outrageous vision that all of our children have access to the best possible education that music can provide.    I appreciate both the financial and emotional support that all of you have provided over the years.

 

Spirit of Volunteersim Awards, Certificute

Spirit of Volunteerism Awards, Certificate