Welcome! We are glad you are interested in joining your child with what hopefully will be a lifelong journey with music. We are sure your child (and you!) will be greatly enriched by the advantages music education has on the development of the brain, intellect, discipline, and character. We are also very excited to share our love of great music with you!
So you would like your child to learn a stringed instrument? Here are the first steps you should take:
- Read about the about the Suzuki Method to familiarize yourself with the basic concepts.
- Purchase the Suzuki Violin or Cello book 1 with CD. Listen to the CD with your child to become familiar with the music. Listening can be done in the car, during mealtimes or playtime, anytime!
- Contact one of our teachers to arrange a time to meet and learn more about our program and what lessons will be like. See the “Teachers” page and use our contact form.
- Observe a lesson or group class in our program to see what it’s all about. (Contact one of the teachers to arrange a time).
- Learn more about the Suzuki Method by reading articles on the Suzuki Association website, or books on our “Resources” page.
- Play classical music at home. Check out KUSC (91.5 FM), iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, etc. This is the “language” your child will be learning; it is crucial to expose them to it.
- Be prepared to invest time, energy, love, and maybe a few tears–and reap the rich rewards of a lifetime of music!
“Music is about communication, creativity and cooperation. By studying music in school, students have the opportunity to build on these skills, enrich their lives and experience the world from a new perspective.” President Bill Clinton
“Music is exciting. It is thrilling to be with a group of people creating the same piece of music. You are part of a great, powerful, vibrant entity. Music is important. It says things your heart can’t say any other way, and in a language everyone speaks.” Dan Rather — CBS News
What age should I start my child on violin or cello?
Part of the Suzuki philosophy is an early start. Just as children start speaking their native language at an early age, they can start developing the skills needed to play music then, too. The average age for a beginner string student is 3-5. Students are required to be potty trained, but lessons can begin as early as 3. (Students younger than 4 are encouraged to take an early childhood music education class first, such as Kindermusic or Music Together.)
How much time will it take?
Private lessons start at 30 minutes per week (45 minutes for shared/group beginner lessons). As the student progresses, lesson time increases to 45 minutes, then 1 hour. Additionally, group classes are another 30-45 minutes per week. Daily home practice time with the parent should mirror the lesson time, at least in the early stages. When the student becomes more advanced, they may choose to practice more than an hour daily, but by that time they will have developed the skills needed to practice on their own.
How much is it going to cost?
Private lesson fees are set by the individual teacher, but you can plan to invest about $150-200 per month for tuition.
Where do I find an instrument?
First, consult your teacher for proper sizing and recommendations. Visit our Resources page for a list of recommended sources. Rentals usually cost about $30/month, purchases can go from several hundred to several thousand dollars. (Keep in mind that instruments need to be kept in good shape for successful study, so that violin you found in Grandma’s basement or the great deal on eBay might cost you more to restore than just renting a good-quality instrument!)
What if my child is not musically talented? Is he going to be a genius? How long will it take before we can play a song?
The answer to most of those questions really is: it doesn’t matter! Learning music is a journey, not a destination. The joy is in the process, every step of the way. Dr. Suzuki’s main philosophy was that talent is developed, not born. A loving, encouraging musical environment, shaped by the parent and teacher, serves to develop that talent. Every instrument takes time to learn, and in particular, stringed instruments take perhaps a longer time to develop basic techniques needed to make a beautiful tone. Therefore, we take all the time we need to ensure a good setup on the instrument, to solidify the technique needed to play beautifully at every level. It may take a few months before we even get to start “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” But the fun games and activities we use to teach those skills make the time go by surprisingly quickly!