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Teaching Guitar Leads to a World of Travel

David Madsen graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in guitar performance. 

“In college I thought my playing would let me see the world,” David said. “Turns out it was my teaching.” 

David, for 39 years the guitar lesson instructor at Loomis Chaffee, retired from the school this year. An internationally recognized expert in the Suzuki method of guitar training, David has conducted courses in countries such as Italy, Singapore, Argentina, Peru, and all over North America. Yet his little corner of the world has included Windsor, Conn., and for that he is grateful. 

“I just love the diversity of the students here,” he said. “I’ve met some incredible kids over the years.”  

The Suzuki method is named after Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki who, according to the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), “realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother-tongue approach.” 

Some of the features of this approach, according to the SAA, include starting the child early, parental involvement, a nurturing and positive learning involvement, and highly trained instructors.  

“When the triangle — the parent, the student, the teacher — is working well, it is pretty amazing,” David said. 

David witnessed this synergy years ago with his daughter Emily. She was about 4 at the time, and he and his wife asked her if she wanted to learn the violin. He said he knew Suzuki was about teaching young kids, “but I knew nothing about the method. I was watching her go through the process of these little steps that build musical excellence in both technique and musicianship. It was about the same time that the training in the guitar method in Suzuki got started.” 

He hopped on board, training with renowned Suzuki experts.  

David founded the Hartt School of Music Suzuki guitar program in 1990 and is a former member of the board of directors of the SAA.  In 2000 he became the third registered teacher trainer with the SAA. 

Today his daughter is the principal chair of the first violin section of the Anchorage Civic Orchestra and is the assistant concertmaster in the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra.  





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