Elementary students in grades 1-4 have the opportunity to study the violin, viola. or cello. Continuing this year, any incoming 4th grader may sign up to play string bass!
This is a pull-out program during the school day. Lessons are 30 minutes per week on a rotational schedule.
There will be “lesson observation weeks” throughout the year giving parents the chance to step in and observe lessons throughout the year.
In addition to the small group weekly lessons, students also attend a large group lesson, referred to as Morning Strings. This class takes place before school in each building three times a month.
The Suzuki Philosophy
- Every child can...at his/her own pace.
- The parent is involved in the learning process. The mother or father attends all lessons with the child and supervises the practice at home.
- Emphasis is placed on listening to performances and recordings of the music being learned.
- Music is memorized naturally through this method.
- Posture and basic technique is developed before introducing note reading.
- Students constantly review previously learned pieces in order to reinforce basic skills and technique to achieve mastery. Previously learned pieces are also used to help learn new techniques/new pieces.
- The Suzuki repertoire is organized in such a way that each piece prepares the student for future pieces.
- The music books are arranged so each new piece learned teaches a new step or technique.
- Sequential Learning - the method is broken down into several small steps which build upon each other.
- Group classes meet regularly to reinforce already learned pieces/techniques.
- The Suzuki philosophy consists of a community of students and parents who cooperate together and support the progress of all students in the program.
- Suzuki focuses on developing good character. Dr. Suzuki said, "Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If a child hears fine music from the day of his/her birth and learns to play it, he/she develops sensitivity, discipline, and endurance. He/she gets a beautiful heart."
- Each child is nutured by the teacher and parent(s) to progess in a loving and supportive environment. (The Suzuki Triangle)
The Suzuki Triangle
The Suzuki Method is built around the premise that parents are the best educators of their children. This is proven every day when we hear young children who speak their native language with an extremely high level of expertise.
ROLE OF THE TEACHER
- To be an example and role model for the child and parent
- The parent learns from the teacher how to teach music to the child
- The child learns how the instrument should sound and what good posture should look/feel like
- The teacher exemplifies the positive Suzuki philosophy and teaches the parent how to practice with the child
ROLE OF THE PARENT
- The parent observes and takes notes during the lesson in order to help the child practice at home
- The parent learns how to hold the instrument, how to produce sound, how to produce good tone, how to change pitch, how to practice, and how to get sufficient repetitions to build skills
- They learn how to create a practice schedule and how to make listening a regular part of the child's day
- The parent continually models the home practice after the lesson and imitates the teaching methods
ROLE OF THE STUDENT
- The student needs to understand the parent looks to the teacher for instruction regarding the instrument and
all of the skills listed above
- He/she needs to understand the teacher is relying on the parent to help the student master the assignment at home
All members of the triangle need to understand themselves as part of a whole, all working together.
Communication between members always needs to be open, honest, and forthright.
About Dr. Suzuki
Dr. Shinichi Suzuki was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1898. Suzuki was surrounded by the sound of violins at his father’s violin making factory. Born into a large family, Suzuki spent his childhood not learning how to play the violin, but working at the factory putting violins together. A family mentor, who ran the local talent education school, encouraged Suzuki to study Western culture. It wasn’t until the age of 17, though, that he finally taught himself how to play the violin after becoming inspired by a recording of a famous violinist, Mischa Elman.
Suzuki had always loved children and became very interested in teaching them. He thought children could learn music just as they learned to speak—starting when they were very young and hearing music all around them. He believed all children have the talent to learn if they are taught well by loving parents and teachers. These were very unusual ideas at that time. If children did play an instrument, they started learning when they were ten or eleven. Also, most people thought musical talent was a special thing only a few people had.
For many years, Dr. Suzuki continued to work on his teaching method. He chose music that would help children learn to play (in a skill-building, sequential order). He even wrote some pieces himself (like the Twinkle Variations, Allegro, Perpetual Motion, and Etude). Teachers from many countries came to Japan to learn about his method of teaching, and Dr. Suzuki and his students traveled to play in other countries. Over the years, more and more teachers and parents became interested in Suzuki's ideas and began to teach children with his method. Now there are thousands of children around the world who have learned to play instruments through the Suzuki Method.
Through his teaching, Dr. Suzuki showed teachers and parents everywhere what children could do. He also believed that hearing and playing great music helped children become good people with beautiful, peaceful hearts. Dr. Suzuki hoped these children would help bring peace and understanding to the world.
Suzuki Association of the Americas
Shar Music Southwest Strings
Quinlan and Fabish
Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra
Evanston Symphony Orchestra
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Lyric Opera of Chicago
W.H. Lee Annex (in Wilmette)