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Information for Prospective Families

Our PreTwinkle (Beginner) Information Letter 2015!

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What is the SIUE Suzuki Strings Program? (more links below)

It is a combination of:

  • Faculty Members
  • University Students who are studying for careers in teaching and performance
  • Parents
  • Students age 3 and up

These four groups work together using the philosophy of Shinichi Suzuki as a unifying guideline to create a musical environment for developing students, teachers and parents.

Structure of the Program

The SIUE Suzuki Strings Program includes about 250 students on violin, viola or cello, drawn from a 75-mile radius from SIUE.

Each student receives a weekly individual or private, lesson, held at a convenient time for student, parent and teacher. Included in the tuition are group lessons, which are held on Saturday mornings from 10:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Students are taught by SIUE Suzuki faculty and graduate assistants.

Classes for Beginner Students under the age of 9 start only in the fall, and parents participate in an 8-week orientation class (see Parents Preparatory Class, below). Older students may begin lessons at any time throughout the year, space permitting.

How do I know if my child is ready? The Suzuki Method starts from the premise that any child can learn to play a musical instrument. Because children show a natural curiosity about music and musical instruments, the appropriate question for parents may not be “Is my child ready?” but “Am I ready?”

If parents can commit to regular attendance at lessons and classes, if they can set aside regular daily listening and practice time, if they enjoy spending time with their children, if they take delight in their children’s smallest accomplishments, if they can deal calmly with the backward steps as well as the steps forward, they are probably ready to consider Talent Education for their children. And if parents are ready, then their children will usually be ready too.

Info We Send to Prospective Families

Most lessons are held in Dunham Hall; park in Lot E if you have a parking pass, or Lot B for a pay lot.

Saturday Group classes are held in Founders Hall; park free in Lot A on weekends.

Parents Preparatory Class

Parents of new students, ages 3-8, attend a weekly Parent/ Beginner Class during the Saturday morning 11:30 a.m. group time. This class assists parents in learning to play the violin, as well as tips for practicing and helping students. During the semester, the transition from Parent Class to Student Class is made, depending on the progress of the Parents and Students. By second semester, it is a student class. In their second year of group classes, beginning students start at the 10:15 time.

New students are admitted only during the fall semester if they are under 9 years old. Students transferring from another program and older students may start at any time according to space available.

Attendance at the Parent Class ensures the parent’s success in their role as “home teacher” by giving them first-hand experience with the violin and with teaching points such as position, posture, and tone production. This is a time to build friendships with other parents and create a network of friends who are new to the Suzuki Method.

At the beginning of fall semester, new students and parents will observe private lessons. You will receive a schedule of possible lesson times that you can observe. Your own private lessons will begin shortly after the semester starts, and group classes for parents and students begin in September.

Basic Equipment

Initially, your child will need:

  • a violin, viola, or cello suited to the size of the child. (The teacher will make a recommendation. DO NOT purchase one before checking with your teacher.)
  • fine tuners, rosin, a shoulder pad, tuning fork, CD or MP3 player
  • soft cloth for cleaning the instrument
  • Suzuki Violin, Viola, or Cello School Volume
  • Suzuki Violin, Viola, or Cello School CD recording; and
  • A resource book on Suzuki philosophy

Eventually, your child will need a music stand, violin polish, metronome, a spare set of strings, and a mute.

Here is a list of music stores (local and online) where you can get your supplies.

What’s the difference between a graduate assistant and a faculty instructor? Faculty instructors have master’s degrees and teaching experience. They have specifically studied the Suzuki Method with distinguished teachers, many with Vera McCoy-Sulentic or John Kendall. Graduate students are studying Suzuki Pedagogy with Vera McCoy-Sulentic and are working to earn their master’s degrees at SIUE.

PreTwinkle Song Recordings

Pop Goes the Weasel

E Tune

A Tune

Train Song

Open String Blues

Flower Song

Monkey Song on E

Monkey Song on A

A Major Scale

History and Philosophy

For More information ...

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