The Music of Hope in Burundi – Suzuki Style!

From Executive Director, Julie Marner

bfi-nov-newsletter-suzuki-2I first met Aime in 2010 while visiting the orphanage he lived in, My Father’s House.  We sang to each other that day and a musical friendship was born.  In 2011, Aime and I spent time learning piano chords together on his portable synthesizer and in 2013, I recall singing and performing together for street kids and orphans.  Importantly too, Aime became a volunteer English teacher for BFI over that time.

Upon return in 2013, I shared his story with local musician friend and Suzuki Teacher, Susanna Han. Susanna became inspired by Aime and thought perhaps we could introduce the violin to Burundi using the Suzuki Method.  So in 2014, my suitcase, which always included computers, and cell phones for students in need, also included violin CD’s, music theory books and chop sticks. (Yes, chop sticks because they help develop finger dexterity even in the absence of violins.)  I showed Aime a Ted Talk featuring violinist Ji-Hae Park and he was mesmerized by the sound.  When I asked if he’d like to learn how to play it he replied with a resounding, “Yes!”

Action item for all!  Violins needed!

We are in need of 2 half size violins and one ¾ size violin.  Please contact Susanna Han at follymarna@aol.com.

Aime began violin classes in Burundi by corresponding with Susanna Han of Suzuki Heritage Center and beginning classes through Skype. She created lesson plans and Aime met with ten students Weekly. The students listened to recordings, learned theory and read from Shinichi Suzuki’s book nurtured by Love.  Aime gave reports to Susanna about the progress of each student.

While events in-country may affect regular patterns of teaching, many students have come forward and Aime continues to share his time and teaching the Suzuki method to young Burundian girls and boys.

“Once art to me was something far off, unfathomable and unattainable. But I discovered that the real essence of art was not something high up and far off.  It was right inside my ordinary daily self. The very way one greets people and expresses oneself is art.”

“If a musician wants to become a fine artist, he must first become a finer person.  If he does this, his worth will appear.  It will appear in everything he does, even in what he writes.”

Our life is worth living only if we love one another and comfort one another.  I searched for the meaning of art in music, and it was through music that I found my work and my purpose in life.” – SHINICHI SUZUKI

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