Upcoming Events
Suzuki Cello Workshop - 2019 - begins today! February 23, 2019 10:00 am Saturday & Sunday, February 23 & 24
Suzuki Cello Workshop - 2019 - Day 2! February 24, 2019 12:30 pm Saturday & Sunday, January 23 & 24 Evanston East Campus

Teacher Spotlight on Avi Friedlander, cello

Teacher Spotlight on Avi Friedlander

Director of the Barston Suzuki Center and cello instructor

Interview by Erin Cano, violin

Avi joined MIC in the fall of 2017

What led you to become a Suzuki teacher?

I was teaching at a local college, and one of my jobs was to teach beginners in the community division. I had never worked with beginners, so I started buying every book I could find on the subject. I came home one evening and complained about this to my wife. Her response was, “Well, why don’t you go get Suzuki training.” I was not raised as a Suzuki student, so I didn't know you could get trained to be a Suzuki teacher in a summer.  I went to the Pittsburgh Suzuki Institute that summer and took Book 1 training with Pam Devenport. I immediately fell in love with the method (and Pam’s teaching), called my university, and quit my job.  I then decided that I wanted to be a Suzuki teacher for the rest of my life.  I’m thankful for my wife’s advice and for Pam’s inspiration.


Which of your teachers inspired you the most? What aspects of their teaching have you integrated into your own style?

That is a very difficult question. I have had so many teachers through my life. I would say that every teacher has given me something in my teaching.  Anthony Elliott showed me how you can be an effective teacher while nurturing your students. Tanya Carey gave me a map of teaching and laid out everything there is on the cello. Gilda Barston showed me how to teach the child from where they are and how to have multiple ways to teach the same child. Rick Mooney gave me a practical approach to teaching. Irene Sharp showed me how to make playing the cello simple. Pam Devenport showed me how to use energy and communication skills in teaching. Steve Geber taught me tone, and Hans Jensen showed me how to work hard to attain a goal.


What is your favorite Suzuki piece to teach?

I don’t think I have one piece that I like more than others, because they all have their special attributes. I can say that Allegro Appassionato is the piece that got me really excited when I was a kid and one that I really look forward to teaching.


You’re the parent of a Suzuki child. What insights have you developed as both a Suzuki parent and teacher?

Patience, patience, patience, and more patience. Did I mention patience? 


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

When I am not teaching, I am spending time with my family, performing, and playing ice hockey.  I grew up a competitive ice hockey player and strive to continue to play at a high level. I am constantly working to grow as a teacher and musician, and I do a lot of studying with teachers around the world in different styles of music ranging from jazz to classical.  I am also writing a series of books on introducing alternative styles of playing classical instruments for the Suzuki student. 

Teacher Spotlight on Yumy Kim, Suzuki Piano
Teacher Spotlight: Yumy Kim, Suzuki piano

"The Suzuki Method offers wonderful tools and ideas to ‘tailor’ piano education true to the age and needs of each student in a playful, encouraging, and loving way."