Brennan Cumpston

Brennan Cumpston, 11, will learn from two master teachers when then come to Phoenix from Japan next month. The teachers will participate in a concert at Arizona State University on Feb. 12.

Travis Roemhild/AFN

Residents will have a chance to observe - while some will have the honor of learning from - two instructors from Japan who are known worldwide as being the prominent scholars in the Suzuki Piano Method.

An Ahwatukee Foothills piano instructor, who has traveled to Japan to play with and learn from the two, and Arizona Suzuki Association-Phoenix Piano Group will host Keiko Ogiwara and Keiko Kawamura when they come to Phoenix for a workshop and concert next month.

Karen Nalder-Kazarick, of Nalder-Suzuki Piano Studio, will have at least three students in the concert and a total of 10 or more in the workshop with the Japanese instructors.

The Suzuki Piano Method was developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and Dr. Haruko Katoka and, as Nalder-Kazarick said, is known as the "Mother Tongue Method" due to the focus of how students learn and improve.

"A big part of it is learning to listen at a young age," she said. "To play note, note, note is not musical. We want them to be able to listen and learn the sounds that are being played."

The two Japanese instructors were trained in the Suzuki Piano Method from co-founder Katoka before she passed away. They are master teachers at the Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, and also continue the research done by the original founders.

"We were chosen by them and we are honored to have them here and see our group recognized," she said.

Brennan Cumpston, Ahwatukee Foothills resident and Keystone Montessori student, will be one of the students who will have the opportunity to learn from the instructors.

"(The Suzuki Piano Method) makes me stronger as a musician," Cumpston, 11, said. "(To get better) depends on how hard you work and practice."

The concert is free and open to the public. It takes place Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. at Arizona State University's Katzin Concert Hall, 50 E. Gammage Parkway in Tempe. For more information, contact Nalder-Kazarick at (480) 759-1225. To learn more about the Suzuki Method and Arizona Suzuki Association, visit

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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