April Teacher Spotlight: Dr. Durbin

Dr. Timothy (Terry) Durbin is currently the director of the Suzuki String Program at the University of Louisville. He holds a DMA in orchestral conducting from Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles, California, a Masters in violin performance from the University of Illinois, and an undergraduate degree in violin performance from the University of Alabama. He is also a registered teacher trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Dr. Durbin is one of the most sought-after clinicians and conductors throughout the world. Everywhere he goes he brings joy and inspiration. Throughout his career he has taught at thousands of workshops and institutes, has recorded two CDs, has been appointed principal conductor of the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra, and has directed the South Dakota and Montana All State Orchestras. He is the holder of the American Suzuki Institute Suzuki Chair Award for 2013. Additionally, he is an accomplished composer and notable arranger. Dr. Durbin is an expert in his field and we love whenever he visits us in Cincinnati!

What city do you currently teach in?

I am the director of the Suzuki String Program and run the university Suzuki pedagogy program at the University of Louisville. I also travel extensively throughout the world doing Suzuki workshops.

What instruments do you play/ teach?

Violin is more than enough to keep me occupied.

How did your career in music get started?

I was always sensitive to music. I cried to music when I was 3 years old. My mom asked why and I said it was “so beautiful”. It was a recording of Scheherezade. When I was 10, a teacher came by and played a violin and I said that is what I heard on the recording and I wanted to play that for the rest of my life.

What’s your favorite song to play?

Whatever I am currently playing is my favorite song. The joy of creating music in real time and the sensations it creates in my mind and body are just totally absorbing for me and just to play is like a miracle to me.

What other hobbies besides music do you have?

I mess with computers some and like doing that as a hobby.

What has been your favorite moment as a teacher?

Whenever I get a student to say, “that’s so cool!” Then I know they have made a real connection to the music and are having a positive personal relationship with music that is stimulating and absorptive.

What do you find to be the best motivator for students?

FUN! FUN! FUN! If they like it and get something out of it, they will want to do it more and seek it out more often. Fun is not a dirty word, and we don’t have to be serious and concentrate. The arts are to enrich our lives and bring us joy and meaning.

What are your future goals as a musician and teacher?

To teach and hopefully inspire young people for as long as I can.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Enjoy the process. Take your time and enjoy the journey. Seek to grow deeper with your study rather than worry about how advanced you are or how fast you are progressing.

Fun fact?

My wife and I live on 140 acres, have 30 chickens, 17 goats, 7 dogs, 3 cats and a peacock!

Courtney Kappa