Rockford College Music Academy plans Japan trip

The core philosophy of the Rockford College Music Academy is based on the teachings of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and the work of the Suzuki Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. While the Academy’s traditional students are taught with different methodology, its core philosophy remains the same. Suzuki teaches that “all children have ability” and that children develop a “beautiful heart” through the discipline of studying music. As Dr. Suzuki says, “I doubt that there is another road to peace.”

In June 2006, the Academy’s “road to peace” will take it to Japan to discover more about the philosophy, the man, and the country the inspire the Academy’s work.

While a priceless opportunity for the Academy to learn, it is also a chance for its members to serve as musical ambassadors to another culture. International travel leads to international understanding. As the 20th anniversary of the Rockford College Music Academy is celebrated, Academy members will look forward to this opportunity to follow the road to peace.

The trip is planned for June 7-16, 2006. Music Academy families and faculty, Rockford College alumni and members of the Music Academy Advisory Board and any interested community members are encouraged to travel with the Academy.

Twelve to 15 advanced performing students are expected to attend with an appropriate number of chaperones. It is anticipated that less advanced students and their parents may wish to travel as well, and the Academy would seek to include informal performance opportunities for them. A total group of about 30 (or more) individuals is expected, including Rockford College officials Dr. Paul Pribbenow, president, and Monique Aduddell, Alumni Relations director.

Cost estimates are $3,500 to $3,700 per person, based on twin occupancy and 30 travelers. Performing students will have their trip subsidized through various fund-raising events. Students other than those in the advanced performing group will have informal opportunities to perform and certainly are encouraged to travel, though they would pay full-fare.

The trip to Japan will allow the Academy to do the following:

Promote educational, artistic, and cultural exchange between Rockford College and Japan’s Kobe College, the Music Academy and the Suzuki Talent Education Institute.

Reconnect with some 50 to 60 Rockford College alumni living in Japan and especially in the Kobe region. Kobe College is Rockford College’s sister college and was founded by two Rockford College alumnae.

Experience Japanese culture, both modern and traditional.

Share extensive knowledge of the community school of the arts philosophy and movement with our colleagues at Kobe College.

Provide an incredible learning and performing opportunity for students, one that is hoped to recreate every four years so students can aspire to international or national travel at least once during their years at Music Academy.

Like Rockford College alumna and Nobel Peace Prize winter Jane Addams, the Academy believes the arts are an integral aspect of a healthy and humane world.


In the famous traditional Japanese gardens of the Kyoto/Nara areas, the Academy hopes to replicate the recent joys of a performance at Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford. At Anderson, young musicians performed in several locations while the audience strolled through the gardens. The Academy hopes to learn more about Japanese gardens and traditional Japanese culture in Kyoto, a city steeped in history, architecture, gardens, and museums. Nara lays claim to the title of the nation’s spiritual center, as Buddhism was first practiced in Japan in this city; ancient temples date back to 607 A.D.


Teachers and students from all over the world travel to Matsumoto to learn about Suzuki Talent Education. Matsumoto is at the foothills of the Japanese Alps and in a district of Hot Springs. It is surrounded by natural beauty and filled with pure mountain air. It is a culturally vibrant city, home of the superb Matsumoto Castle.

Kobe College/Nishinomiya

At the request of Kobe College administrators, the Academy is looking forward to sharing American knowledge of the community school of the arts movement with colleagues in Japan. Kobe College administrators have expressed the desire to expand upon the conservatory training they currently offer at the College. Rockford College students will perform for Kobe College students and administrators and will also perform at an alumni gathering. Kobe students will treat Rockford College students with traditional Japanese ceremonies.

More info: contact Marti Frantz, director of the Rockford College Music Academy, at (815) 226-4168 or e-mail

From the Oct. 5-11, 2005, issue

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