The Talent Education method of music instruction is based on the premise that musical ability is not an inborn talent, but an ability that can be developed. The late Japanese educator Dr. Shinichi Suzuki noticed the ease with which young children learn to speak their native languages. He believed educators could use this "mother tongue method" of listening, imitating, and repeating sounds to nurture a high level of musicality in young students. Students age three and older are invited to apply for admission into the Suzuki Program at the Music Academy.
Instruction utilizing the Suzuki philosophy creates a partnership between the teacher, parent and child. This "Suzuki triangle" is the cornerstone of a successful Suzuki experience. The parent/guardian attends all lessons and group classes with the child, learns the fundamentals of playing the instrument and becomes the "home teacher" by assisting with daily practice sessions using notes taken during the lesson.
Just as children are taught to read words after their ability to speak has been well established, Suzuki students develop basic competence on their instruments before they are taught to read music. Through sequential learning, students focus on the development of good posture, consistently beautiful tone, accurate intonation and musical phrasing.
Although reading readiness activities begin as soon as lessons begin, students demonstrating adequate facility on the instrument begin reading music at approximately age 6–7.
Because Suzuki students all learn the same pieces in the same order, it is common to have "play-ins" where large groups play together. The Suzuki program at the Academy holds at least two play-ins each year. There are also opportunities to travel to St. Louis, Carbondale, Dexter, Edwardsville and other sites throughout the region to play with and meet other Suzuki students.
In order to unify and strengthen our Suzuki program, the Academy has adopted the following requirements:
Lesson length for beginners is at the discretion of the assigned teacher. Some academy Suzuki teachers prefer a 30-minute lesson from the start. Others prefer 15-minute lessons taken with one or more "lesson partners" studying the same repertoire. By the end of Volume 1, students generally take a 30-minute private lesson. Once Volume 4 is reached, students generally progress to a 45 or 60-minute lesson.
All classes meet on Mondays - Cultural Arts Center 155 (Fall Semester) River Campus Center 120 (Spring Semester)
Each full semester enrollment also includes a weekly Musicianship Class for Suzuki students in 1st grade and above. Our progressive and comprehensive curriculum reinforces the basic skills needed for music study including theory, ear-training, sight singing, and the exploration of various composers and styles of music. During the spring semester, students will use the skills learned to compose their own music for possible performance on a spring recital. Classes are taught in a fun atmosphere that encourages students to use their creative abilities. Please refer to the Group Classes section for placement dates and more information.