The Music Settlement's Suzuki program offers private lessons and group classes in violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, and guitar to children aged 4 and older.

The highly respected Suzuki Method of music instruction is built on the philosophy that children can learn to play an instrument in the same way that they learn to speak: by listening, imitation, and repetition, in a nurturing-yet-challenging environment. The Suzuki Method is unique in the fact that it gives both parent and child an opportunity to enjoy learning music together. Through the belief that all children can develop musical ability, Suzuki students learn technical skills via familiar folk songs and progress through more sophisticated music in the course of their study. Suzuki learning fosters cooperation, discipline, and excellence through the joy of making music, and encourages students to progress from early childhood beginners to accomplished young-adult musicians.

Introduction to Suzuki at The Music Settlement

Introduction to Suzuki is a 9 week course (or one week course during The Music Settlement Suzuki summer camp in August) designed to prepare students and parents for instrumental study in The Music Settlement Suzuki program.

Parents will receive support materials (including Dr. Suzuki’s book “Nurtured by Love”), participate in discussion, and gain first-hand knowledge of the Suzuki philosophy.  Students will learn important Suzuki skills – the Suzuki bow, rest position, focus, listening, and the Twinkle Variations.  Additionally, students will have exposure to the instruments offered in our Suzuki program. 

Completion of this course and fulfillment of the observation requirements are required for entry into the Settlement Suzuki program.  Your child may be placed on a wait list, depending on instrument and instructor availability. If you have any questions prior to enrollment, please contact Suzuki Department Head Callista Koh at (216) 421-5806 ext. 181 or via email to

  • Step 1     Call the Registrar at (216) 421-5806 ext. 101 to reserve your place in the next Introduction to Suzuki class.

  • Step 2     Attend the 9 week Introduction to Suzuki Class or Suzuki Camp Intro to Suzuki in August.  (First class is parent only.  All others are with parent(s) and child)!

  • Step 3     Observe two individual lessons with your child, one group class (you will sign up for these at the Intro to Suzuki Class) and one Suzuki Recital.

  • Step 4     Return your Yellow Information form. Your child will either be placed with a teacher, or on the wait list as space allows. 

Components of The Music Settlement Suzuki Program

1.      Private Lessons: These are scheduled with the individual teacher and occur once a week.

The first component of the Suzuki Program at The Music Settlement is private lessons.  These are scheduled with the instrumental instructor and are 30 minutes long.  As the students progress, their private lessons will extend to 45, and eventually, 60 minutes.  Parents are required to attend all lessons with their children.

2.      Group and Theory Classes: These occur on Tuesday evenings. 

All students are placed in a group class, and as they progress, a music theory class.  Group classes provide important reinforcement of material and social interaction.  Music theory classes provide note reading and theoretical skills, which will be combined with their private lesson instruction as students advance.  Parents are required to attend all group and theory classes with their child(ren) unless they are in a Parent Education session (see below) or with the permission of the instructor.

3.      Special Events: Various dates.

Monthly Recitals, Group Class Concerts, Outreach Concerts, Achievement Days, End of Year Final Concert and Family Picnic.

More Information About the Suzuki Approach

Parent Involvement
In the same manner as when a child learns to talk, parents play an integral part in the musical development of their children. They attend lessons with the child and serve as "home teachers" during the week. One parent often learns to play before the child, so that she/he understands what is expected of the child. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable and nurturing learning environment.

Early Beginning
The early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to music should begin at birth; formal training may commence at age three or four; however, it is never too late to begin.

Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Therefore, listening to music every day is important; in particular, listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the child knows them immediately.

Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument. Children learn words or music and store the information rather than discarding it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.

As with language, the child's effort to learn an instrument should be met with sincere praise and encouragement. Each child learns at his/her own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered. Children are also encouraged to support each other's efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.

Learning with Other Children
In addition to private lessons, children participate in regular group lessons and performance in which they learn from and are motivated by each other.

Graded Repertoire
Children do not practice exercises to learn to talk, but use language for its natural purpose of communication and self-expression. Pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are designed to present technical problems to be learned in the context of the music rather than through dry technical exercises.

Delayed Reading
Children learn to read after their ability to talk has been well established. In the same way, children should develop basic technical competence on their instruments before being taught to read music.

How does the Suzuki Method differ from other methods of teaching music to children?

Thoughtful teachers have often used some of the elements listed here, but Suzuki has formulated them in a cohesive approach. Some basic differences are:

  • Suzuki teachers believe that musical ability can be developed in all children.
  • Students begin at young ages.
  • Parents play an active role in the learning process.
  • Children become comfortable with the instrument before learning to read music.
  • Technique is taught in the context of pieces rather than through technical exercises.
  • Pieces are refined through constant review.
  • Students perform frequently, individually and in groups.

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