Robin is my daughter’s Suzuki guitar teacher and has been her teacher for several years. Robin has deeply immersed herself in the philosophy, spending time and money in getting her certification and in learning the method so she can pass it on to her students. My daughter has become increasingly proficient under her tutelage. Moreover, inspired by her teacher, she has developed a deep love for her instrument and musicianship and is considering pursuing a career in music performance.

– Danielle Harris

I learned to play guitar by chords when I was 11 and played on church worship teams for years. My skill level never increased beyond reading and playing chords because every program I tried so I could learn to read and play notes on my guitar bombarded me with so much information I couldn’t make sense of any of it and I got easily overwhelmed and always ended up quitting in complete discouragement.

A few years ago I suffered a crush injury to my right middle finger and had a fingertip amputation. With great difficulty I learned how to use my hand again, except for guitar playing. I couldn’t bear the feeling of the strings on my finger. I talked to Robin Smith-Jackson, who teaches Suzuki guitar, and she encouraged me to try learning classical guitar. My decision to do so has been a revelation and has produced growth in many areas of my life.

I like Suzuki because it treats the guitar like a serious instrument. It always bothered me that I didn’t understand my guitar, even though I played it all the time. Suzuki teaches music mastery in small, easily understood increments so you never feel overwhelmed. I use what I’ve learned in my guitar classes with any new skill I need to learn now: Go slow, master tiny bites, don’t move on until mastery. Robin taught me how to separate my emotional anxiety, my judgments about my performance, from my instrument. She helped me see how it’s all about memory and not at all about my personal value and she helped me overcome my disability. I wanted to quit often because of pain and frustration with my missing fingertip, but she encouraged me that I could get past all of it and she was right – I have worked through it and learned to play with the disability instead of fighting against it.

I think a lot of people understand the Suzuki method as great for children, but believe adults need an adult course. This isn’t true at all – after trying so many different programs I’m convinced Suzuki is the only method worth investing any time or money in.

– Erin Hargrove

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