Does a resume glitch equal musical fraud?

Girl playing violin
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If you are a parent and your kid is taking music lessons, there's a good chance you're at least familiar with the Suzuki method.

Developed in the mid-1900s, it's a system of getting young kids to learn music through repetition and memorization. It's pretty popular, especially with the stringed instrument crowd.

The Suzuki Association of the Americas claims around 8,000 members. It's big business too—one 2012 study estimated that an average school district would spend $187 per student annually educating kids in music.

So news that the founder of the system, Shinichi Suzuki, may have fibbed about his qualifications might break a few E-strings.

According to a report in London's Telegraph, Suzuki's critics have uncovered evidence that he lied about being a ward of Albert Einstein (a big violin fan) and about training with Karl Klingler, one of the major violin teachers in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s. Both of those claims featured prominently in Suzuki's subsequent development and promotion of his own teaching method later in life.

The Telegraph report, which you can read here, isn't a slam dunk. It's based on the work of a single violinist/blogger who claims to have delved deeply into the paperwork surrounding Suzuki's life.

"I think it is one of the biggest frauds in music history," the fiddler/blogger Mark O'Connor told the Telegraph.

Suzuki died in 1998, at the age of 99, so he obviously can't refute the allegations.

And…so what? The method seems to work. Plenty of music teachers swear by it. And regardless of the guy's resume the system seems to get a lot of kids to the point where they can squeak out a tune.

But, lying on a resume is taken as an overall indictment of character. Regardless of how someone may be doing their job critics will seize upon it. Just ask Scott Thompson, the former CEO of Yahoo.

And Suzuki, the method, has its fair share of critics, particularly classical teachers who think students should do a little more sight reading and a little less note memorization.

Will we now see those critics seize on alleged resume impropriety to condemn the whole system? That would be a shame.

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