The Toledo Symphony Orchestra is forming a School of Music that will offer musical instruction grounded in the Suzuki method.
Developed by Japanese educator Shinichi Suzuki, the Suzuki method is based on the theory that all students can develop their abilities in music if they learn through a “mother tongue” approach, comparable to the means by which young children learn their first language.
The method prioritizes parental involvement, imitation, repetition, listening, and learning in individual and group settings.
Students as young as 2 years of age can begin Suzuki instruction.
“The Suzuki method may seem mysterious at first, but it’s a great way to get closer to music in a comfortable, social setting,” says TSSM instructor, Cheryl Trace, an 18-year veteran of the Toledo Symphony and well-known Suzuki educator. “It’s all about making small victories, which build confidence. And, small victories add up—it can be so amazingly transformative.”
Students will develop instrumental skills in collaboration with skilled Toledo Symphony musicians with graduate level degrees, all certified as Suzuki instructors. Through their course of study, they will develop such skills as discipline, focus, and attention to detail, which can also enhance their future academic studies. Suzuki study has also been shown to strengthen relationships between the student and their parents, peers, and teachers.
Each student who joins the stringed instrument program will receive private instruction, group lessons where students learn in conjunction with their peers, and enrichment activities including music theory and appreciation, eurhythmics, special guests, and multiple performance opportunities.
The TSSM also offers Suzuki piano instruction, group instruction for recorder students, and chamber music coaching for intermediate and advanced string students. Lessons are offered at the symphony's Education Center, 1838 Parkwood Ave. in Toledo as well as the Bowling Green State University Creative Art Center.
“The TSSM is different,” Trace said, “because this isn’t just about dropping your child off for a weekly lesson. There is an element of family here and shared learning. And, with the orchestra and the full curriculum behind it, this is much more than a weekly one-on-one, it’s an opportunity for a lifetime of growth through music.”
Weekly tuition varies from $24 to $50, depending on the length of private lesson requested. A typical beginning student, with a 30-minute private lesson would pay $30 per week. A nominal registration fee is charged annually.