Every other week, on Saturday afternoon, you can hear a pin drop as the string students gather in a circle, holding their instruments and bows, waiting for Cecilia to give them the signal that it’s time to bow. They bow together, to each other, to their teacher—as a means of respect and as a signal that the lesson is about to begin. That’s when the silence ends….and the music making, concentration, and laughter begins.
The Suzuki method of studying an instrument is one that is built highly from imitation. Once a week, our string students (Violin, Viola, and Cello) take a private lesson. Every other week, in addition to their private lesson, they gather for a group lesson. All of the ages and levels of children are learning from each other. The children who are playing on open strings get to join in with Cecilia in ensemble playing, echoing her rhythms and notes. The children who are still working on their bow and instrument positions, hold their instruments as instructed, watching, learning, and taking part in the musical games.
The games are everyone’s favorite part of class (including the parents who observe each group class). There’s running around the room, clapping hands, and jumping to different “Twinkle” variations. There’s intense moments of concentration and some giggling during the pass the cup game, and the wide eyes “oh nos!” when the cup is placed on each violin, or the beanbag on the head of each student.
Cecilia started our Suzuki strings program in February of 2011. We now have 6 violin students, 1 viola student, and 1 cello student. Nick Jeffery, who has his doctorate in Viola performance and is trained in Suzuki Violin, is assisting teaching the program. Both Cecilia and Nick are committed to excellence in the teaching of the Suzuki method for Strings, and I am as excited as they are to see the program grow. If you are interested in the strings program at Velocity, contact us so that you can see the wonderful learning that takes place during a Saturday group class. You will be impressed! This summer, Nick and Cecilia will lead a suzuki camp just for string students–there will be masterclasses, lessons, origami, and story telling!
The students practicing their playing position and bow holds:
Practicing holding their bows:
Careful, don’t drop the cup!
Don’t move, or your might drop the cushion!
A moment of concentration before the playing begins….