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Comments from Saito Workshop participants and other students

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Having attended numerous Saito conducting workshops over the years, this is where I learned the freedom to conduct and see music in such a holistic way. Once the gestures are internalized, one then has the technique to apply them to every musical situation. A truly life-changing musical experience. - Dr. Brian Kilian

I had the most amazing time this week at the International Saito Orchestra Conducting Workshop! I learned SO much that I will continue to use everyday in my conducting life. I will also be including Saito techniques in my conducting classes and recommending that my students attend this workshop! I'm so grateful to Wayne Toews Sensei for his high degree of expertise and warm supportive approach to teaching. He is a true Maestro!  - Dr. Dominic Gregorio (Saskatoon, 2013)

Thanks to what I learned with you, I could show all the accelerandos and ralentandos, ritenutos and incalzandos I wanted! And the best, the orchestra could understand them!   Eduardo Torres (Brazil, 2012)

The 2007 workshop is still one of the greatest life changing moments in my career!  - Scott MacLennan (Saskatoon, 2007)

I cannot express enough my gratitude towards you for allowing this life changing experience of mine to happen! Thank you for being such a wonderful conducting mentor to all of us, and, also for making the time and effort to keep this course going. I dare say that all of us had a very intense yet musically (and physically) stimulating experience and I just can't wait to show off my 'new moves' to my choir in the fall!   -- Livia Gho, SOA 2012 workshop

(At the workshop) I can work with music, musicians, and mentors that simply are not possible or available in my current job and daily environment. This is about being more than I am and putting myself into a situation where I am challenged to push my own boundaries and be supported throughout. It is beyond a workshop; it is a musical renewal and revitalization, and an immersion into pure authenticity." -- Taina Lorenz, SOA 2012 workshop

I would like to thank Maestro Wayne Toews for his wonderfull teaching! I had the great experience to study the Saito Conducting Method in Saskatoon for 10 days (October 2011) under his orientation and then to have him four months later in Salvador, Brazil to teach orchestral musicians and my conducting students at NEOJIBA using the same method, for 10 days in February 2012. I can tell that this made a big difference. Conducting is now much easier for my students and for me, and the orchestras of the program respond to the beat because of the Saito Method. This allows music-making with even more fun and discipline. Maestro Wayne Toews is a master of this art and a great teacher! -- Eduardo Torres, Pedagogic Coordinator and Conducting Instructor at NEOJIBA

I visited Wayne for an intensive series of private conducting lessons in December 2011. I first worked with him four years prior. The lessons were videoed and have given me continued reminder of the wonderful lessons. Wayne was able to use a number of different approaches to help me experience the gesture being studied. He taught me by offering different ways of conducting the same music - different gestures which have widened my range of conducting gestures and hence enabling clearer interpretation in performance. At the same time, he taught me to remove unnecessary loops and make each Saito gesture effective and clear. Half of the sessions were with a pianist. The 'live' pianist provided me with immediate feedback.
When going through immigration the officer said "It is a long way to come for conducting lessons." in their usual gruff tone!"  I explained that there was no-one in my part of the world who could teach me the Japanese conducting method in English. What I learned was well worth the effort to travel from Australia. -- Roland Yeung, Music Director Carey Baptist Grammar School and The Grainger Wind Symphony, Melbourne, Australia

I have spent countless hours telling musicians what I want, then hoping they will remember when we perform.  The beauty of the Saito technique is that it gives me the skills to show exactly the form and line of the music.  This equals less talk, more music and greater musicality - Allison Titus (Saskatoon 2011)

“I believe the Saito Technique is a powerful process for learning how to control one’s movements and achieve greater musical control of one’s ensemble. Mr. Toews is clearly a master of the Saito system, and his explanations of the guiding principles behind it are revelatory. — Dr. Robert G. Patterson  (Memphis 2010)

This workshop was a lifechanging experience.  The combination of a clear, concise methodology and sequential pedagogy coupled with a vocabulary of gestures make the Saito method superior.  Mr. Toews is a gifted musician and teacher and the entire experience was incredible.  -- Philip Baldwin (Saskatoon 2009)

Wayne Toews is a brilliant and dynamic pedagogue, who has studied and taught the teachings of Hideo Saito for more than thirty years. - WO Shawna L. Mochnacz

I have to thank you again, a million times, for your work with me this past week. I have improved so much! I'm so excited to share some of the feedback from my players. Last night the U of A summer band played a concert in Red Deer for Music Camp. I conducted one piece: Cajun Folk Songs by Frank Ticheli. I haven't been in front of the group since before I went to Saskatoon. But, I remembered all of the things we had worked on, went to my zen place, and conducted. It rocked! Some of the comments after the show included: "What happened to you at conductor school? You are a different person! I knew exactly what you wanted, where we were and where we were going every time I looked up! I didn't have to think so I was freed up to play. Night and day, night and day!" (from a trombone player who studied in McGill then came here); "This is the best you've ever conducted" (from a trumpet graduate that I conducted in SWE last year), and " yours was the best piece of the night," (from the head conductor! )  Wayne, you have given me a gift! Thanks so much! I can't wait to study with you some more.- - Taina Lorenz Turner

I just put on the Faure Requiem with a choir and an orchestra at the church where I work - the first time I have conducted and organized a project like that. It was a pretty fantastic experience and the Saito technique was there for me every step of the way. It's the best. - Laura Hawley, Saskatoon 2007

Without a doubt, that experience was life-changing for me. In effect it synthesized and summed up all that I had learned over the years, and in addition took me to a new place musically and personally. I was amazed at the team work between the whole lot of you. Each of you brought such a wealth of gifts and skills to the workshop members, and we ALL benefitted. I did not fill out an evaluation at the time, but I've been processing and reliving all that happened that week, not only for me but for the other participants. It really was a process of opening up each individual so that we could get to a place in order to make true progres. Holy, did we fall on our egos, fears, over/underconfidence, and then gradually each of us submitted to the process of rigorous training and discipline required.

Yay. I just loved it. Man, it was a great time. Tough but amazing. You did a great thing for all of us by letting us in on this great secret. Thank you. -- Jen Williams

I learned a lot about clarity in conducting, and this was reflected back to me in the response of the C&E Band upon my return.  I found the band to be more responsive to my direction, and the feedback from band members confirmed that. -- Sgt. J.A. Paas

For those of you who are conducting enthusiasts I have studied with this man at a similar workshop (many years ago). It was the experience of a lifetime!! If you love conducting and want to learn more don't miss this workshop!! -- Barb Hopkin

The course was thorough and well prepared, Wayne's instruction was very clear, and the collaborative pianists were wonderful. Professor Okabe was an added bonus. I would definitely recommend the course to those interested in the Saito method -- Stephen Johnson

Read Kemuel Wong's entry of Sunday, July 30, 2006 on http://www.xanga.com/Burberry86 that begins "OMG....2006 International Saito Conducting Workshop goes down as the most important, memorable, monumental event of my life up to this point. Hands down, from now on life will be different."

Click here to read Jim Tempest's article about the 2006 workshop for the BC Band Association Newsletter.

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Page revised December 8, 2016