What is the right age to begin violin lessons?

You are rarely too young and never to old to start learning a musical instrument. Our students typically start as beginners between the ages of 4-8, but we have accepted students both younger and older than that with great success.

How do I know if my child is ready to begin lessons?

The Suzuki approach to teaching is especially suited to the young beginner. People are generally amazed at how much our very young students can accomplish and surprised that children so young can focus long enough to learn how to play a musical instrument well. Our activities during the lesson time are varied and interesting enough, often using games and always lots of praise, so the young students stay engaged. You can tell if your child is ready by assessing their ability to focus on an activity at home or at school and also on their willingness to meet and be with other children and adults, keeping in mind you will always be at their side to support them. But one of the best ways we can tell, is if you come to observe some lessons and we can have an opportunity to meet you and your child.

Can I observe lessons first before signing up?

Yes, in fact we highly recommend that you observe a lesson on your own, and arrange to have a one-on-one discussion with the private teacher. Then, it's a great idea to bring your child to observe both the private and group lessons, along with concerts or recitals. That really gets them excited! You can arrange to observe lessons any time by contacting us.

Is there a better time of year to begin lessons?

While we hope to start our new students in September, Dr. Suzuki's take on that is "lets get started now before it gets any later". We accept students at any time and integrate them into our full program as soon as it is possible.

I don't have a music background. Is this going to be a problem for my child?

No, not at all. You will be assisted a great deal by your teacher on how to be an effective "home teacher" for your child. The most important thing, is that you ask a lot of questions, especially if you are not sure you understand the concepts or instructions, at the lessons. Keep in close communication with your teacher and you will do fine. Take really good notes and practice regularly and in no time you will be comfortable with your new role. Parents are welcome to take a portion of their child's lesson in order to learn how to play the violin themselves.

Why do you recommend starting music lessons with the violin?

There are many benefits to learning a stringed instrument, such as developing a good ear for music, a very important skill which can be transferred to any other instrument in the future. As well, your child will learn an amazing ability to focus, great hand-eye coordination and develop a wonderful sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. But on the practical side of things, it's great to be a string player because you can play the violin as a solo instrument but you can have even more fun playing with others in any combination of instruments. The violin is easy to manage, is easily transportable (many cases even have backpack straps!) and they require very little maintenance. In learning the violin, while it is mainly suited to classical music, you can also play many other styles of music such as fiddle, jazz and even some pop music.

I have read about the Suzuki approach but I am wondering when students begin to read music?

One of the greatest myths is that Suzuki students don't read music. However, the truth is that our students do develop excellent reading skills, when they are ready. Factors that determine readiness to read are: age, repertoire level, mastery of good posture and development of ear training skills. We feel that our students benefit in the long run by delaying reading until they are ready, especially since they are usually very young when they begin violin lessons. It has been our experience that when children begin to show proficiency at reading in their language skills, it is a good time to work on note reading in music as well. Since many of our students play in the youth orchestras in our community, we want to ensure that they become good readers so they are comfortable in this setting.