Read what students, teachers, and parents are saying about The School For Strings:
My children and I started our journey at The School for Strings in the Start-Up Program over ten years ago when my oldest was only 4 years old. Students were taught by dedicated, passionate and patient teachers who went beyond just teaching to play an instrument but also shared their love of music. The Start-up Program was a great way to introduce my children to playing the violin, to appreciate music and to be part of the wonderful and very supportive SFS community. We have since transitioned into the regular SFS program, now a second home to our family. However, the great friendships that my children formed during the Start-up program and the amazing musical education that they experienced during these early years is something that will always be present with them as they continue their musical journey well after they have graduated from SFS.
Finding The School for Strings (SFS) was pure serendipity. The Start-Up Program was a perfect introduction for my five year old to his first instrument and to Suzuki education. Even though I studied classical piano as a child, I learned much more at SFS as an adult. There is a sense of community at the School that you feel deeplyIt is heartwarming to be part of a larger music family, watching the children grow musically over the years and seeing graduates come back to visit their old teachers and friends!
Our family has been part of the School for Strings for over 10 years since my son was 4 years old. The first 2 years were the most challenging in my parenting life! I had to learn the violin as an adult beginner and motivate a 4-year-old to practice with me. I had to delve deep to find the patience and understanding to work with him and not quit before we had even gotten to “Twinkle Theme”. Now that my son is a teenager and further along in his musical studies, I understand better how the music education at SfS has guided and supported his growth. Private lessons has been more than just learning how to play a piece on the violin. My son is challenged to listen deeply below the surface of the melodies to find hidden gems within the structure of the music, and to find what moves the human spirit. Chamber coachings is where my children find develop friendships and learn many social skills which will help them become socially aware adults. There is a lot of work involved in playing an instrument, but the teachers at SfS go beyond that by encouraging and inspiring my children to find the magic that turns notes into music. The music education at SfS is meant for children, but I have learned so much about music through attending classes as a parent. We listen to music together at home and share what we hear in the music. Music isn’t just what the kids do at SfS, what we have all learned has truly enriched our family life.
Coming to The School for Strings has been one of the most rewarding formative experiences for my children. For my family, SFS is all about the people. The teachers are some of the most patient, caring, and dedicated musicians we have ever met, and they continue to inspire our children with their artistry and help our children develop confidence in their own abilities. Through private lessons, theory, group classes, orchestra, and chamber music, children learn to work well with others and develop a sense of discipline that they can apply to anything they endeavor. What makes SFS special is that there is a real sense of community. The children grow up together, become great friends, and play chamber music on their free time together. It’s a truly magical place.
Taking the teaching seminar program at the School for Strings was probably the best decision I've made. One of my favorite aspects of the long-term course was that I could follow students over a longer period of time, both students I observed and those I taught. Having seasoned teachers and other colleagues there during my Start Up lessons and group classes to give advice over a longer period of time was priceless. The feedback helped me look at situations in different ways to truly help my students.
The incredible experience and professionalism of the teachers is an inspiration every week. The approach is ingenious because The School for Strings combines great love and understanding of children and their learning styles with a serious strategy for complete musical training. I made a great choice bringing my daughter to study at SFS.
--Mary Gray, Former Associate Dean of the Juilliard School of Music
One of the best decisions that I have ever made was to enroll in the Suzuki Teacher Training program at the School for Strings. Having been brought up on the Suzuki method, I thought that I knew what teaching the Suzuki way was all about. Linda Case taught me that there is much more to Suzuki than a method. She Linda Case is a fountain of knowledge in all things related to Suzuki and to the violin and violin playing. Having gone through two years of training with Linda Case has made me into a much more knowledgeable, compassionate educator and a more confident musician.
--Silvia P Grendze
I completed books 1-8 with Pam Devenport at the School for Strings.Taking this course was a life-changing experience for me as a teacher in so many ways. One of the most profound changes in my teaching was learning to set a much higher standard for my students - not only in their ability, technique, and understanding, but specifically in their sound production. Pam's hunger for good tone is contagious. I found myself paying closer attention to my students' sound quality and gained the skills to help them play with, identify, and crave good tone.
Anyone who is serious about becoming a Suzuki piano teacher should study at the School for Strings. The training there is amazing. The curriculum is comprehensive, which is what you’d expect in a two-year program. What distinguishes SFS from other Suzuki programs is the unique set of techniques and procedures developed there by Sheila Keats. The program is specific and detailed; the outcomes are demonstrably positive. It includes all the basic skills needed to teach individual lessons and group classes. It even includes how to train parents. One of the most valuable aspects of the program is the extensive supervised teaching. This is something you won’t get from summer institutes. The entire faculty at SFS is exemplary; they form an unusually collegial and supportive team. I look back on my two years at SFS with fondness and gratitude.
I loved the course with Pamela Devenport. She is very detail oriented, fun and at the same time, demanding. The tips on how to bring keep a child's attention and how to keep kids children focused was extremely helpful. The specific finger exercises she recommended still blow the minds of my students.
Receiving my Suzuki teacher training at SFS has been an invaluable and life changing experience. Being able to work weekly with both the faculty and students so closely has created a strong base to build my teaching career. Having a nurturing, patient, and supportive Teacher Trainer like Marina Obukovsky helped mold me as a teacher and influenced my life in such a positive manner. I am forever grateful for having Marina as a teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend, and I aspire to emulate her passion and commitment to our profession in my own life. SFS will always have a special place in my heart.
If you have any interest in teaching cello, whether you've already been teaching for years or you're just starting out, I highly recommend the Teacher Trainer Seminar at School for Strings with Pam Devenport. Her detailed and organized approach to pedagogy and how she breaks down the learning process for every new piece has not only changed how I teach, but how I practice for my own playing. Attending the 2-year long-course allowed for me to absorb all the information with time to try it out on my own students and come back and ask questions the next week. In the second year, not only did I continue to observe other teachers at the school, but we were each given a private student and shared a group class. The specific feedback and questions from Pam helped me in the moment for sure, but it has also helped to guide me with questions and techniques to continue to reflect and grow long past completing the course. Can't recommend this enough!
As one of the current violin and viola instructors at Bloomingdale Music School in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, I have to say that the Suzuki Teacher Training course with Linda Case has been an asset to my pedagogical methodology. In true fulfillment of Suzuki’s legacy, Mrs. Case’s approach to the formative steps of teaching technique is informed by her excellent musicianship, always with the eventual goal of playing Mozart violin concerti and beyond beautifully in mind. Aside from musicianship, Mrs. Case cultivates and encourages problem solving and critical thinking skills, undoubtedly benefiting the teacher trainee and any future students they encounter.
The seminar program at the School for Strings] provides a thorough exploration of cello pedagogy through the lens of the Suzuki [philosophy] with an incredible teacher, Pam Devenport, with whom one receives a holistic and engaging process of training. I learned so much about the process of teaching and the Suzuki [philosophy] as well as understanding and developing a more compassionate relationship with others and myself. The seminar is intense and worth all the time and effort!
The Suzuki Teacher Training course at School for Strings, NYC, with Linda Case is a life changing experience. Linda Case is an extraordinarily gifted teacher, pedagogue and mentor who inspires, and nurtures the whole person. Her teachings include a comprehensive outline for the technical and musical issues for each piece within the Suzuki violin repertoire as well as incorporate extensive supplemental music, pedagogical methods and approaches, body and mind work. Linda’s concept of teaching encourages creativity to inspire the musical spark within each student. She challenged everyone to be a better teacher, as well as helped me to discover more ease and expressiveness in my own playing. Linda creates an environment in the class that nurtures a supportive and inspiring community of shared knowledge. I am deeply grateful for the experience.
--Dr. Lisa Tipton