The President of Shar Music has something to say about the issues I have with the Suzuki Method. He wants a truce from me, and I would like to offer that now. I feel like my effort into researching the existing pedagogy in order to improve upon my own has concluded. I don't need to espouse my opinions on it anymore. I have done a lot to that end, far too much in fact. Although there isn't anything I want to retract from my Parting Shots blog articles at this time due to no new information substantiating other facts or findings than we have presented, I do apologize for how I have caused such an impassioned response and over-heated debate. It may be worth noting that I did not write the quote that a major newspaper headlined "Biggest Fraud in the History Of Music." However I believe I probably said it off the cuff in a conversation while I was driving in the heavy rain to a gig in the Northeast. It created an internet sensation and here we are. I take responsibility for the comment and wished it was not quoted and used as a headline because it obscured finer points that I wanted to make. I know that we all deserve better than what is happening with friends and colleagues and I fully agree with Charles that there is room for all. Sincerely and with apologies, Mark O'Connor Nov, 5, 2014.

Room for All: Shar Weighs In on Mark O’Connor’s Anti-Suzuki Statements

Written by Charles Avsharian
Published: November 5, 2014 at 8:46 PM [UTC] excerpted


Sometimes a conversation goes too far and crosses the line from spirited discussion to something potentially hurtful and damaging. In my role as CEO of SHAR, I take great pains to focus on appropriate customer and business issues and leave such conversations to others. SHAR has always sought to bring useful and innovative products and services to the attention of our customers. Censorship plays no part in our operation, since we strongly feel that our own music community (“the market”) is best equipped to make its own decisions...

When Mark O’Connor put pen to paper and created his “O’Connor Method”, he put his lifetime of experience in learning and teaching the violin into a beautiful, passionate, and effective series of books with a uniquely American approach. Not content with simply accepting old-fashioned pedagogical violin methods rehashed using American tunes, O’Connor took his method much further. With an emphasis on improvisation, playing and listening together, and gaining an understanding of music that was already revered worldwide yet somehow rejected as not being “serious”, he created something that could not be ignored. As with Suzuki, it is the uniqueness of O’Connor’s method that opens the doors to scores of new players into the mainstream of violin playing, and injecting fresh blood into teaching the violin.

It is the opening of doors that has created opportunities for so many, strengthening violin teaching in the process.

There is no need to restate here what has already been said on the internet and elsewhere. Suffice it to say that the conversation is no longer useful. I have in fact made this point directly to Mr. O’Connor several times since he first began posting on this subject more than a year ago. Unfortunately, my hopes for calling an end to the hostilities have failed.

SHAR’s position is that our community of players, teachers, students, parents, and composers, benefits greatly when doors are opened. When those doors begin to close, whether through neglect, hurtful comments, or institutional stasis, our community suffers.

Freedom of speech is part of our wonderful culture in the free world. However, that does not mean one is protected from how people react to what is said.

Charles Avsharian
CEO Shar Music Company
Shared publicly