Who is this Stephen Bondy anyway?
Well, this is what I look like, but that doesn't tell you very much does it?
The Short Story / Qualifications
About the Suzuki Method, I'll say this: I love it. I think it is brilliant. This is not unwarranted praise or hyperbole. During my tenure as a private teacher before working with the Suzuki Method, I had never enjoyed success with children. I treated them like small adults. They are not small adults, they are totally different and need to learn in a very different way. In the traditional lesson format, I found myself teaching the same material for four weeks in a row, and then moving on to the next item of business. The student had not mastered the material, but both the student and I were bored by that point! In the Suzuki method, with the parent there to guide the student at home, I teach the material one time and it gets reinforced every day at home. Next lesson, I check the work from the previous week, and I find that the work is done, and we can move on secure in the knowledge the student is prepared! (Some things take more than a week to prepare, but I never have to repeat myself like before!) Everyone wins in this paradigm. The progress is continual and evident to everyone involved.
The Long Story / Bio
I was born and raised in Canada, the youngest of five children. The rest of my siblings played instruments in high school, and I decided for once I would not follow in their footsteps. Ironically, when it came time to choose a program of study in university, I chose to go into music, as I started playing guitar at sixteen and loved it! I attended Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario and had a fantastic time. During my undergraduate degree there I began teaching private guitar lessons at a local store and I knew that I loved teaching, and would do it for the rest of my life. Most students were there to learn rock and roll or other pop styles. While I am versed in those styles, I enjoy them and can play them, that is not where my interests lie. I am a classical guitarist and I wanted to be able to teach classical guitar exclusively.
After graduating from Wilfrid Laurier, I spent three years in Waterloo; teaching about forty to fifty private students a week, getting over some tendonitis I had incurred in my last year of my undergraduate study, and trying desperately to improve my playing. I was reading all the information I could on how to raise my level of guitar playing. I was a fine player at the time, but, I knew I could play better and with greater ease. At that time I ran across a book by Ricardo Iznaola called On Practising. I learned volumes from this book, and it was only twenty-four pages long! I decided I wanted to study with a person who was so consice and insightful. I looked into his program at the University of Denver, spoke with people who had met and studied with him and I decided to audition for the program.
I was very fortunate to be accepted and be granted a teaching assistantship which made studying in Denver a financial possibility. While in Denver, I learned volumes (and unlearned volumes as well!) about how to play the guitar. I was shown how little effort playing the guitar entailed. My teacher helped demystify the technical mechanisms involved in playing the guitar so now it is common sense to me. Studying under a world renowned teacher taught me not only about the guitar, but also about how to teach. It was a fantastic learning experience, and one from which I still draw today.
After graduating with my Masters of Music in Guitar Performance from D.U. in 1999, I spent about a year playing electric guitar on a cruise ship (have to pay back those student loans somehow!) in a ten-piece show band. I then returned to Denver to marry a woman I had met during my tenure in Denver, and now here I am! I have a step-son and a daughter and I love living in Denver.
As far as my Suzuki career is concerned, I took my first training (books 1A and 1B) from David Madsen at the Chicago Suzuki Institute in 2001, and then books 2 and 3 with David Madsen again the following year. In 2003 I did book 5 training with one of the programs co-founders, Bill Kossler. I plan to continue to take teacher training as long as I can, as there are always more things one can learn about teaching.
If you would like to contact me for just about any reason, please go to the contact page.