Certain pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are designated as Graduation Levels. When students have studied beyond the piece for each level, they may graduate – that is, they prepare a polished performance of the set piece. They then receive a written report on their playing, and are presented with a Graduation Certificate.
The beautiful certificates, edged in gold, come from Japan and are screen printed from a painting done by Dr Suzuki himself.
Graduation is not an examination, and every child succeeds. Teachers present students only when they are certain that the performances are secure and musical and that the student is studying well beyond that particular level. To graduate is to achieve recognition for having reached a certain milestone in the ongoing process of musical education.
Graduation is not compulsory, however to graduate at any level beyond Level 1, a student must have graduated at all previous levels. More than one level may be presented on one occasion.
In Japan, all graduation performances are recorded. Currently in Victoria there is some degree of flexibility. Cello, flute, guitar and recorder graduations may be recorded or presented in a live performance on certain given dates. Pianists generally present a live performance, with two possible dates each year, although recordings can also be submitted. Violin, viola and guitar graduations are presented as a recording.
Qualified teachers listen to graduations, and write positive and helpful reports. These reports are sent initially to teachers who pass them on to their students.
For information about Suzuki graduation please refer to this information sheet: What is Suzuki Graduation?