Teacher Spotlight: Daniel Baer, piano


Interview by Erin Cano, violin


Daniel Baer joined MIC in 2017.


What led you to become a Suzuki teacher?

Dr. Christina Tio (a piano teacher at MIC), recommended that I take a Book 1 training session led by Caroline Fraser at the Chicago Suzuki Institute (CSI) during the summer of 2018. In July, I was trained in Books 2 and 3 as well.


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

I’ve had many teachers who have inspired me, but there are four who stand out as the most important: Seymour Bernstein, Douglas Humpherys, Maxine Giannini, and Jerome Lowenthal. Depending on what I’m talking about or working on with a student (or practicing for myself), I hear their voices and have memories of lessons. I see myself as a descendent of their teaching traditions.


What is your favorite Suzuki piece to teach?

There are pieces that I think are particularly useful and might be eager to teach to a student for their technical or musical points, but I’m not sure that I could pick a favorite Suzuki piece to teach or play. It changes with each student.


You’ve performed in many concert halls around the country. What is one of your most memorable performance experiences?

Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City stands out in my memory as a particularly wonderful place to perform. Nice halls have a way of welcoming you into them and onto the stage. I played in a piano quartet at that performance, and being on stage with friends who are extraordinary musicians is an indescribable experience.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy reading, cooking, exercising, and practicing! I always practice as much as possible, to keep my standards high and to demonstrate the seriousness and dedication that pursuing music requires. And of course, I love to perform and play recitals as often as I can.