FAQ

  • An Individual Lesson – The Individual Lesson is attended by both the student and the parent. At first, most of the time will be devoted to instrumental instruction for the parent. Gradually, as the child matures, gains in physical strength and coordination, and develops greater concentration and a longer attention span, he or she will absorb more and more of the lesson time. Ultimately, the parent relinquishes all but a few minutes at the end of the lesson. This time is saved for consultation with the teacher on practice suggestions and goals for the at-home work.
  • A Group Playing Class (violin and cello only) – The Group Playing Class prepares the children, at first on pre-instruments, both physically and musically for playing the instrument. Only when all the children in the group have, on the advice of their private teachers, moved on to real instruments, do they begin playing together. The class reinforces the work done in the private lesson and provides incentive and stimulus important for very young children.
  • 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.
  • A Musicianship Class – The Musicianship Class provides general music instruction and an introduction to the rudiments of note reading.
  • The Parents’ Class – In Parents’ Classes parents learn to play the instrument of their child’s choice, delve deeper into Suzuki philosophy and discuss home practice tactics.
  • An Individual Lesson – The Individual Lesson is attended by both the student and the parent. At first, most of the time will be devoted to instrumental instruction for the parent. Gradually, as the child matures, gains in physical strength and coordination, and develops greater concentration and a longer attention span, he or she will absorb more and more of the lesson time. Ultimately, the parent relinquishes all but a few minutes at the end of the lesson. This time is saved for consultation with the teacher on practice suggestions and goals for the at-home work.
  • A Group Playing Class – The Group Playing Class prepares the children, at first on pre-instruments, both physically and musically for playing the instrument. Only when all the children in the group have, on the advice of their private teachers, moved on to real instruments, do they begin playing together. The class reinforces the work done in the private lesson and provides incentive and stimulus important for very young children.
  • A Musicianship Class – The Musicianship Class provides general music instruction and an introduction to the rudiments of note reading.
  • The Parents’ Class
  • Success in Suzuki study depends upon the active and enthusiastic participation of the parent, and better yet, 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.

First-year piano students have a three-part program in which the group-playing class and the musicianship class are combined.

For the first six weeks of the school year the children do not attend their regularly scheduled lessons and classes. The parents take all of their children’s lessons and classes as well as Parents’ Classes in order to gain as much expertise as possible on the instrument and to become more comfortable with the idea of being a surrogate teacher at home practice sessions. The children, meanwhile, come to the School for assigned observation of other children’s lessons and classes, to prepare them for their own soon-to-begin study. After the six week period the children start their own instrumental instruction and the parents continue in the Parents’ Class for the remainder of the school year.

The Early Level weekly program consists of:

  • An Individual Lesson
  • A Group Playing Lesson
  • A Theory Class

In the Group Playing Class children observe the progress of their peers which enables them to look up to the more advanced students, and aspire to move through the materials.

The Theory Class provides traditional theory instruction where music reading techniques are continued and more advanced theoretical concepts are introduced.

The Intermediate Level weekly program consists of:

  • An Individual Lesson
  • A Group Playing Class
  • A Theory Class

Orchestra and Piano Ensembles at The School for Strings are the natural extension of the group- playing class experience. When violinists and cellists reach the appropriate level, they are assigned, as a required activity, to the String Ensemble, the School’s elementary orchestra. Pianists are assigned to four-hand ensembles where two students work together sharing the keyboard and playing piano four-hands.

The Upper Intermediate Level weekly program consists of:

  • An Individual Lesson
  • A Group Playing Class
  • A Theory Class
  • An Orchestra Class (string students)
  • A Chamber Music Class

Chamber music is an important component of The School for Strings’ program. Students bond musically with their peers as they explore the great literature of the chamber music repertoire, one of the richest in classical music. The social aspect of chamber music plays a key role in maintaining the student’s interest in music studies through the pre-teen and teenage years. As members of a strong musical community SFS students do not feel the isolation often associated with the study of serious music.

  • The Advanced Program separates teenage students from the younger students with the goal of creating a more appropriate social environment and a more coherent educational experience for this age group.
  • Students spend Friday afternoons and evenings in lessons, theory/composition classes, chamber music ensembles, and orchestra. They also enjoy breaking for dinner together, socializing and impromptu sight-reading of chamber music.
  • Students who reach their thirteenth birthday and the appropriate instrumental level are automatically assigned to the Advanced Program. Qualified students from outside the School may audition to participate in chamber music, orchestra and advanced theory classes in this program.
  • 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.

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