The Suzuki method of teaching was introduced by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, Pedagogue, Violinist and Educator from Matsamoto, Japan in the mid twentieth century. Dr. Suzuki believed “Every Child Can”. As a skilled violinist but a beginner at the German language who struggled to learn it, Suzuki noticed that children pick up their native language quickly, whereas adults consider even dialects “difficult” to learn which are spoken with ease by children at age five or six. He reasoned that if children have the skill to acquire their native language, they have the necessary ability to become proficient on a musical instrument. (Wikipedia)
Suzuki students learn aurally or “by ear” meaning that they learn the music by listening to the recordings of each piece. They do not start learning how to read music until later in their tutelage. Children can start as early as 4-5 years old based on this concept. Fractional violins are available to accommodate even the smallest child. We encourage parents to rent the violins and enroll in a rent to own program with the fractional violins until they reach the age and size of owning a full size. This is typically by 8th grade.
Teachers have to pass a critiqued, paneled based, Audition requirement to even enter into the Suzuki of the Associations Suzuki level certification program. Once that has been passed, teachers are permitted to begin their educational journey by learning each Suzuki Book one by one in a classroom atmosphere with attendance of 7-10 days, 8 hours a day study, and observation requirements for each book instructed by certified Suzuki Teacher Trainers. Teachers become members of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and are now included in societies nationally as well as internationally. It is important to work with a teacher that has done the work of studying and passing each book so that you know your student is receiving the best possible instruction of the Suzuki repertoire.
Students attend weekly private lessons and group lessons. They are expected to “play by ear” their pieces and not read music while in the lesson. Music Reading is instructed once the student reaches mid Book One with the I Can Read, book by Joanne Martin, written specifically for Suzuki Students. Parents are expected to attend, listen, and take notes each week at the private and group lessons. The parent becomes the “home teacher” with the student and also helps with overseeing practice time and assisting at home. Students need to have a Bluetooth speaker along with the recordings on their devices. An alternative is to listen to the CD’s on a cd player. Once the student turns 12 years old, the parent no longer needs to attend the sessions unless requested. The student is now responsible for each lesson learning and homework.
Each student is encouraged to participate in annual recitals to showcase each semester’s hard work. We have a December recital, Winter workshop/recital with Master Suzuki teacher, Charles Krigbaum, and Spring Recital in June.
Parents are required to commit to two in person observations of my program before enrollment. One private and one group lesson observation are encouraged. A parent and student need to attend, and this allows time to ask questions at the lesson and see what a typical week looks like in the program.
Group classes are scheduled on Thursday afternoons in the Riot Act space on the 3rd floor of the Center for the Arts. Students are placed in a group based upon their level of playing. Groups consist of 3-8 students/class.
Zoom lessons are offered upon request. In person participation is preferred as long as allowed by Teton County and the State of Wyoming. Zoom is offered when a student is ill, stays home from school, or has flu or cold symptoms.