Unit Two Teacher Training Complete!

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Yesterday was the completion of my first teacher training class! I had an amazing time doing the research for Unit Two and organizing my thoughts about this challenging level. Our class was a mix of highly educated and experienced teachers! We had a lot to share, including two major blizzards. I'm humbled by this experience. I don't aspire to be one of the mentors that I learned from, those legendary mothers of Suzuki piano in the United States. On the contrary, I come only armed with a great, great love of this method, the mother tongue approach, and a deep commitment to further its quality and usefulness in my community. Thanks class! Where love is deep, much can be accomplished. 

Spring Chamber Music Festival

This weekend 22 students had the opportunity to play in trios with Conor and Adrianna in our semiannual Chamber Music Festival. Each student had a rehearsal of his or her pieces with the string accompaniments and then we had an informal performance at the conclusion of each session. I'm amazed and inspired by watching the children smile and communicate about the music with the clinicians. Conor and Adrianna made the children comfortable, while also encouraging them to dig deeper into rhythm, phrasing and dynamic contrasts. This is a remarkable event and I'm so proud of each and every student who had the courage to get up there and share. Some pieces were polished and some were more fresh, but everyone took home new insight and experience. These kids are growing up with ensemble experience that is priceless. Congratulations to everyone and thank you Conor and Adrianna for your patience and expertise. Can't wait for our summer Red Pines Institutes! 

Summer Stories

This summer was the busiest ever at the Kotrba Piano Studio. I've never had more committed families. Kids were playing in recitals, going to institutes around the country and at home, graduating from book levels and just putting a bunch of time in. Here is a bit of a journal style entry!

Our studio recital was at Sundin Hall on June 3rd. What a lovely event!

The first ever Red Pines Chamber Music Festival, with Conor, Adrianna and myself as faculty, included 12 students (Ella, Úna, Ford, Walt, Kate, Amy, Elleora, Sam, Carly, Mary, Eshaan and Justin) and was a great success! We had classes and lunch and alumni recitals and ice cream. Good kids, good memories. 

Matthew and Ella were featured in the Colorado Suzuki Institute Solo Honors Recital. Congrats to them on representing Minnesota and the Kotrba Piano Studio so proudly! 

Preston, Ella, Úna, Kyrié and Walt attended the MacPhail Suzuki Institue. We had a great week! 

Calvin had his first week at the Young Artist World Piano Festival, fondly nicknamed Wirth-o-rama, at Bethel Univeristy. He was selected to play a masterclass with Horacio Nuguid. A highlight was the two hour solo piano rectial of Ann Schein. Calvin also played a sophomore recital at our house in May, to celebrate a year of study with Dr. Wirth. 

Walt, Kyrié, Moses, Haven and Eshaan celebrated their Book 1 Graduations with recitals. See the pictures below. Sorry there is no picture of Walt's recital. Ford, Matthew and Úna each performed his or her own Book 2A recital, each one very different and special. Úna invited Mary to play on her recital and Mary played highlights from Book 5. 

In May, Peter celebrated gradaution from Book 3! What an exciting time is in store for him--in Book 4 there are so many choices of wonderful repertoire. 

At the end of the summer, we celebrated with music at the Little Pines Lodge, the Kotrba cabin. Each student played her piece and then jumped in the lake. We had great weather and great fun. We had 35 folks there and 25 spent the night and enjoyed peach and chocolate chip pancakes in the morning, before heading back to Eagan. 

I really can't believe how busy we were but something really special kept me going this summer--at all these events, the children all came out and supported each other. Thank you to all the families who showed up over and over to listen to your friends and cheer them on to the next level! It's really remarkable. I'm so thankful for these wonderful families and community they create. 

Congrats to everyone and thank you for an awesome summer! 


Spring Highlights

Congratulations to Britta who performed her Book Three recital at my house! I'm so proud of Britta and her beautiful playing. Book 4 here we come! 

Last weekend Sondra Tamman was here from New York to give the Suzuki Piano Teachers Guild some teacher training and to give masterclasses to our students. We had two full days of music and fellowship and learning at my house. I was especially tickled when Beatrice got to play the Schumann A Minor Concerto on Doris's piano with her mom accompanying her on the Kawai. I also got to follow along in Doris's score, it was very special to see her notes in the score. Britta and Mary were selected to play master classes from our studio. Mary played the Daquin Cuckoo and Britta played Spiritoso. At the last minute there were openings and Calvin and Úna were able to get ideas from Sondra as well. Sondra worked with Dorothy Taubman for thirty years and specializes in helping students play musically with ease. Everyone took away inspiration and ideas. 

Today I got the news that Ella and Matthew have been selected by audition to play at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek, for the Colorado Suzuki Institute Honors Recitals. Congrats to both of them for working hard to make beautiful vidoes to turn in. You can see their playing on my YouTube chanel. 

April News

Group Lessons are this Friday, April 21! Thank you for letting me know if you will not be there. 

There are no lessons next week, April 24-28.

This weekend, April 22-23, the SPTG is having an all weekend workshop with Sondra Tamamm, a Taubman teacher from New York, in our studio. Mary and Britta will be playing masterclasses with her. 

Calvin is playing drumset and piano in the Eastview Bravo show. This is a glee-like student show featuring the vocal department, the jazz ensemble and dancers. There are eight shows, and the talent is remarkable! Shows are from April 20-28 at Eastview Highschool. 

The summer lesson sign-up is in the studio. I'm delighted with all the students who are participating in the Red Pines Chamber Music Festival and other institutes this summer. These are wonderful investments in music and memories. 

The last group lesson is May 19. 

Our studio recital is June 3 at Sundin Hall at 1:00.  

Recital at the Cabin is August 12! 

Congratulations Ella!

Sweet music, sweet memories! 

Ella performed her Suzuki Piano Book One Recital this weekend. She played at her house for her family and friends on Friday night, followed by burgers and cheesy potatoes and cupcakes. She played for family and studio friends on Sunday afternoon at my house! She played with so much love and had beautiful echos and such a sweet tone. Congrats Ella! 

Congratulations to Elizabeth!

Beautiful girl, beautiful music! 

Beautiful girl, beautiful music! 

Elizabeth performed her Suzuki Piano Book Two A Recital this weekend at my house. Here is her program. . . 

Twenty-Four Little Pieces, Op. 39 ................................. D. Kabalevsky (1904-1987)

Cradle Song

A Little Scherzo

Quick March

The Clown


Écossaise............................................................................... J.N. Hummel (1778-1837)


The Happy Farmer, Op. 68, No. 10.................................. R. Schumann (1810-1856)


Minuet in G Major, from Klavier Suite in g minor............................ J.S. Bach (1685-1750)


Minuet in G Major,  from J. S. Bach’s Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach.......... Anonymous


Minuet in G Minor, from Klavier Suite in g minor................................................. J.S. Bach

Congratulations, Elizabeth! I love how you play with such beautiful tone and from your heart! I look forward to helping you with Book Two B! 

Beautiful cake! 

Beautiful cake! 

Chamber Music Festival Spring 2017

This weekend was our chamber music festival. Friday evening and Saturday were filled with piano, violin and cello trios. Congrats to all the piano kids who listened so carefully, and thank you to Conor and Adrianna O'Brien our clinicians. This is always one of my favorite events of the year, I love seeing the kid's ear open up and make adjustments. Playing together with other musicians is truly one of life's joys! 


Britta with the string accompaniment by C. McMichael. Chamber Music Festival February 2017.

Congratulations Elleora Upon Your Book One Graduation

Elleora recently performed her Suzuki Piano Book One Graduation. She played very beautifully. One neat thing is that her mother, Karyn, was also a Suzuki Piano Student. Karyn found the exact piano shaped cake mold that her own mother used for her Book One Graduation Recital. That's some pretty special history. The music was beautiful, the cake was beautiful. Congratulations, Elleora! I'm proud of you.