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Muskingum College confers graduate degrees at 12th commencement service, with address by Suzuki Method pioneer John D. Kendall


MAY 15, 2004 - Muskingum College held its 12th graduate commencement service on Saturday, May 15 at 10:00 a.m. in the Recreation Center on the campus. Both master of arts degrees in education and master of arts degrees in teaching were conferred.

The commencement address was presented by John D. Kendall, an internationally recognized teacher of stringed instruments who was the first American teacher to travel to Japan to learn the Suzuki method of music instruction. He was a member of the Muskingum College faculty from 1946-1963.

Muskingum College President Anne C. Steele welcomed the assembled faculty, students and friends and said, "Those of you receiving degrees today will change the lives of thousands of students and your impact will be deep. For that, we owe you a great debt.."

Kendall's address centered on a theme of the importance of leadership and values in challenging times. He told the graduates, "Each generation must study and restudy its values, and you have done just that. Each generation, too, has its rendezvous with destiny, and we must develop the leadership and values to lead us to a better life."

Kendall earned his bachelor's degree in music from Oberlin College in 1939 and his master of arts at Columbia Teachers College in 1946. He joined the Muskingum College faculty in 1946 and served as a professor, as Chairman of the Arts Division, and conductor of the college's orchestra.

During his years at Muskingum, he studied at the Julliard School of Music and at Indiana University. He left Muskingum to become professor and director of the string development program at Southern Illinois University.

Kendall's interest in the Suzuki method of string instruction began in 1958 when he attended a meeting of the Ohio String Teacher's Association at Oberlin College. He then traveled to Japan to learn how to teach the Suzuki method. While continuing to teach at Muskingum, he published the Listen and Play series that served as the basic instruction books for Suzuki students.

In the early 1960s, he introduced the Suzuki method in the United States, with the help of Clifford Cook. Through more than 500 lecture-demonstrations and teacher-training workshops, he popularized the Suzuki method and helped revitalize string pedagogy in the United States.

In 1973, he authored The Suzuki Violin Method in Music Education, which quickly became the most authoritative source in the field. During his career, more than 130 students have earned graduate degrees, and continue to spread his influence. Today, he maintains a private teaching studio in his home in Tacoma Park, Maryland.

In recognition of his achievements, the college conferred upon Kendall an honorary doctor of public service degree, which was presented by President Steele and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. George Sims.