What age is a good age for young beginners to start? 

Cooperative students as young as 3 years old may enroll if they can take instructions from an adult other than their parent, are potty-trained, and can be respectful of others in a group setting.  Generally speaking 4 - 5 is the ideal time.  

Can older beginners join the school?

Yes!  We welcome all ages and levels.  Adults are welcome!

What if my child starts and then loses interest?

Our school has many strategies for keeping students engaged and interested in learning.  Please discuss this with your child's teacher.  We have found that an enthusiastic and nurturing parent is the best tool in keeping the student interested in the program.  We suggest that the child enroll for a full school year.  There are many different aspects to our program.  Not all children embrace all of them.  Giving the child a year to try everything is most helpful.  Our staff is committed to making this a successful experience for you and your child.

Are there scholarships for financial assistance?

A limited number of financial aid scholarships are available.  Priority will be given to students already enrolled.  Information about types of assistance are available can be found here and applied for by July 15 for the upcoming academic year.

What are the advantages of taking lessons from the Suzuki School?

Collaborative teaching of all of our staff makes this a unique and very rewarding music educational experience.  The varied performance opportunities are also a bonus for the students, giving them goals to work toward throughout the year.

Where are lessons held?

Lessons, group lessons and other classes take place on the University of Northern Iowa campus is Russell Hall.  Some ensembles meet off campus.

How much time should my child devote to practicing?

This varies with age and level.  A very young child may only be able to focus for 5 to 10 minutes a session.  A more advanced high school student may want to practice 60 minutes.  Practicing every day is more valuable than how long. 

What makes the Suzuki approach different than traditional music lessons?

The Suzuki method or Talent Education, is also called the "mother tongue" method.  It is based on the premise that children can learn to play an instrument just as they learned to speak; through repetition, positive reinforcement, and copying the parent or teacher or listening to recordings.  Just as a toddler learns to speak before they learn to read, a young Suzuki student will learn to play the instrument before they learn to read music.  Music reading is added later.  The Suzuki method also relies on two lessons a week; an individual lesson and a group lesson.  The group lesson reinforces technique and repertoire learned in the individual lesson, creates ensemble techniques for playing with others and creates a supportive social network for both the student and their parent(s). 

Does the parent have to attend the lessons?

The parent is the critical third partner of the teacher, student, parent triangle that is part of the Suzuki method.  Parents can be a big asset in helping the child at home between lessons.  Parents should plan to attend the lessons until such time as the student no longer needs the parent's support at home for practicing.

Can the parent learn to play the instrument?

Parents are encouraged to obtain an instrument to learn alongside their child during the first year.  After that many parents continue on in lessons of their own to learn more.  A parent with an instrument for home practice is a great help to the daily routine.

Can I visit some sessions before I decide?

Visitors are welcomed anytime but we recommend contacting our office to get a schedule of the week's activities.  Our regular routine is sometimes interrupted for special events and performance preparations.

I am interested in this opportunity for my child.  How do I sign-up?

Young beginners (violin or viola) start in special class each fall and sometimes a session is offered starting in January.  Fill out the online enrollment form  by August 10 for fall classes and by December 10 for January classes. 

When are lessons held?

Your lesson time is assigned based on the scheduling information you provide on the registration form.  Lessons are offered when the teacher has lesson times available and these times vary from teacher to teacher.  Generally lessons are given in the afternoons and early evenings and sometimes on Saturday mornings or weekday mornings.

My child's group lesson is scheduled at a time that we have a conflict?

Since our school has limited space and teachers, there is only one group per level each week.   From time to time during your Suzuki experience, you may find that attending group is just not possible.  The student would be excused from attending group if an unforeseen conflict arises.

Do I need to purchase an instrument for my child?

Purchasing or renting are instrument options. The Suzuki School has instruments to rent to families at a reasonable rate.  Families with more than one child often purchase instruments right from the beginning since they can pass them down to siblings.  The teacher can be your resource for advice about this.

How do I choose an instrument?

Start with one you think your child might enjoy.  You can change if another sparks his/her interest later.

What is the parent's role?

•Learning the fundamentals of playing the instrument and how to take care of it

•Learning about the Suzuki approach by reading materials and attending parent classes

•Attending lessons and group lessons with your child, taking notes and practicing with your child at home

•Playing the Suzuki recordings at home or in the car regularly

•Helping create a positive, nurturing environment of support, affections, encouragement and understanding.

What if the parent cannot play an instrument or read music?

The teacher can guide the parent through the process.  A parent who doesn't know may have a better understanding of how complicated the process is for their child.

What is the key to success?

The willingness to devote regular time to the project, and to work closely with the teacher (and with other parents) in building nurturing relationships for the sake of the children's growth and development.