Some of our most frequently asked questions:
- For First-Year Students – First-year students applying for admission to the School must be at least 3 years old by July 1st before the September start time, but no older than 5. No previous musical training is required. Admission is dependent upon a combination of factors encompassing both parent and child. Parents should come to a full understanding of the responsibilities and commitments involved in this form of musical education. In potential students, evidence of ability to follow simple instructions given at the interview and being toilet-trained are key factors that are observed.
- To ensure full understanding of responsibilities, parents are required to attend an Orientation Meeting. At this meeting, parents listen to attend a presentation given by the School’s directors, purchase materials to read in order to learn more about the Suzuki approach, and sign up for a family interview. In the presentation portion of the meeting, the director discusses the Suzuki philosophy, psychology, and educational approach, and describe the importance of the role parents play in the child’s progress, development and success.
- The materials purchased at the Orientation Meeting include: the School’s own Orientation Literature Kit, Dr. Suzuki’s autobiography, Nurtured by Love, Constance and William Starr’s, To Learn with Love, and Louise Behrend’s, The Suzuki Approach. These materials become parents’ guides during the first few years of study. If parents decide not to register their children, they may return the materials for a full refund.
- The time period between the Orientation Meeting and the Family Interview that follows gives parents the chance to absorb and discuss the ideas outlined at the meeting, to read the materials, and to come to the School with their children to observe lessons and classes. At the Family Interview, the director will meet the children, determine their preference, if any, for one of the three instruments that the School offers for study, and observe the interaction between parents and children. Ability to focus, listen to instruction, and toilet training are key elements to acceptance.
- Success in Suzuki study depends upon the active and enthusiastic participation of the parent, and better yet, the entire family!–indeed the entire family. The parent attends every lesson with the child and functions at home as a surrogate teacher, supervising the child’s daily practice. The child’s accomplishments rest upon a cooperative triangle formed by the teacher, the child and the attending parent.
- In addition to attending lessons and participating in home practice, Parents’ Classes are an essential component of the program. In these classes, parents learn to play the instrument in order to become more comfortable with the idea of helping their children. This process keeps the parents a step ahead of the children and enables them to better assist serve as surrogate teachers at home practice sessions. It also helps them anticipate any problems they might encounter during their children’s first year of study. Techniques for successfully fostering and sustaining practice routine are introduced and discussed throughout the sessions.
- The School requires that parents attend the Parents’ Classes and all of their children’s lessons. Lessons must be either audio-taped or video- taped with the recordings serving as a guide to home practicing. It is important that the parent who works with the child at home is the one who attends the lessons and the Parents’ Classes.
- The School also encourages parents to get involved in the life of the School by actively participating in The School for Strings’ Family Association.
- It is important that the parent who is working with the child at home is the one who attends the lessons and the Parents’ Classes.
- The School for Strings accepts transfer students into its Suzuki Program and Advanced Program. Students are considered for transfer if they have already begun instrumental study.
- Parents of transfer students are required to attend an Orientation Meeting. At this meeting, parents listen to a presentation by the School’s directors, purchase materials to read, and sign up for a family interview. In the presentation portion of the meeting, the directors discusses the Suzuki philosophy, psychology, and educational approach, and describe the importance of the role parents play in the child’s progress, development and success.
- Transfer students will be asked to attend a combination interview/audition where they should come prepared to play a polished piece representing their ability on the instrument. The audition helps the School place transfer students in appropriate level classes.
Every student at The School for Strings is required to perform in a solo recital twice a year. Recitals substitute for examinations and give students the opportunity to demonstrate their progress. They also give the faculty a chance to assess the results of their teaching. During conferences following recitals, the faculty and the administration discuss each student individually.
In addition to standing as an evaluation tool for students and faculty, performing in public is essential to the overall development of the young musician. Recitals help children learn how to prepare and polish pieces. The children gain confidence and self-knowledge from these experiences.
String Festivals and Piano Workshops
The School for Strings presents two Festivals a year for all violin and cello students. Festival programs include group performances and occasionally feature solo, chamber music and orchestra performances. Participation in Festivals is mandatory.
Orchestra and Chamber Music Concerts
The School for Strings presents one Orchestra Concert a year at which each of the School’s three orchestras performs. Chamber music recitals, like the solo recitals, are held twice a year. They are followed by conferences between the chamber music faculty and the administration, at which the performances are discussed and evaluated.
Not-for-profit Corporation, Non-Discriminatory Organization
The School for Strings, Inc. has been a tax-exempt, not-for-profit corporation since 1977. The School for Strings admits students of any race, color, gender, and national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School and the School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender and national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid and loan program, and/or any other school-administered programs.
The School expects regular attendance from both the children and the parents. In case of an emergency, when a parent can not attend a given lesson, the School urges that the child be sent with a substitute who will take notes and tape the lesson so that the parent can maintain continuity of practicing at home. If a child’s absence is unavoidable because of illness or a family emergency, parents are requested to notify the office as soon as possible, explaining that the child will be absent and giving the reason for the absence. Insufficient practicing, or absences for birthday parties or other social occasions, are not considered valid by the School. As students progress through the materials they are automatically assigned additional classes including chamber ensembles and orchestra which will require attendance on Saturdays. Teenagers in the Advanced Program meet for their chamber ensembles and orchestra classes on Friday nights. All of the same information pertaining to attendances and absences mentioned above apply for the Friday night and Saturday programs.
Lesson and Class Make-up Policy
Teachers are required to make up lessons and classes that they miss. Teachers are not required to make up lessons missed by the students. However, if a student is absent from the lesson for a valid reason, the School requests that the teacher make every effort to make up the missed lesson, but cannot guarantee that such a lesson will be made up.
The School presents two series of solo recital performances, two chamber music recitals, two Festivals for string players and one Orchestra Concert per year. Participation in these events is part of the educational program and is mandatory.
The School maintains an open-door policy. Applicants to The School for Strings are encouraged to visit the School during its most active days. Parents and students at the School should expect to see visitors at classes and lessons as this is part of the School’s curriculum for both beginning level students and teachers-in-training. Exposure to good music, and to the sight and sound of the instruments the children are studying, is basic to the Suzuki approach. Children who have waiting time between lessons and classes are urged to visit other lessons or classes being given during that time. Children are also invited to visit the School on days other than those when they are assigned to their own lessons and classes, and to participate in the group-playing classes held on those days.
Financial Aid: Eligibility for financial aid is based on both financial need and a proof of commitment to the program on the part of the student and the family. Financial aid applicants are required to submit a completed financial application and letter of recommendation from their teacher. Because of these requirements, financial aid is only available to students who have successfully completed the first year of study.
Payment of Tuition: In all the programs offered at The School for Strings the tuition and fees are charged in September at registration. In the Suzuki Program, first-year students must pay the entire year’s charges at registration. Returning students may arrange, if necessary, to make their payments in two installments without a surcharge, or up to six installments with a bookkeeping fee of 5% of tuition. Payment of the year’s charges must be completed by April 1. If the installment payment is not received on time the School will charge a late payment fee. Instruction may be withheld until the installment is paid. In the Start-Up Program tuition may be paid weekly. Families, however, assume the obligation to pay the entire year’s tuition by the end of the School year. If families do not keep up with the weekly payment schedule, the School will charge a late payment fee. Members of the Teacher-Training Program may arrange to make their payments in two installments without a surcharge, or up to six installments with a bookkeeping fee of 5% tuition.
Refunds and Withdrawals: Students register in the fall for the full year of instruction. If within the first three weeks of the school year a family encounters an emergency which requires withdrawing the child from the School, the School will make a tuition refund on a pro-rated basis. AFTER THE THIRD WEEK OF THE SCHOOL YEAR, THERE CAN BE NO TUITION REFUNDS.