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  • Suzuki guitar students
  • Suzuki cello students with teacher

Suzuki Strings at USC

Suzuki Strings at USC offers private and group lessons in the Suzuki method for violin, viola, cello and guitar for children ages three and above.

Learn more about our teachers here.

New Parent Orientation
(for new parents beginning in January 2018)

Parents must have submitted an enrollment form and received a confirmation email about admittance to the program to attend this session. This session is to be attended without children.

Sat., January 13, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
String Project Building, 851 Park Street

Fall 2017 Important Dates

Mon., Aug. 7 - First payment or full payment due
Mon., Aug. 28 -
Private lessons begin
Mon., Sept. 4 -
Labor Day, no private lessons
Fri., Sept. 8 -
Group classes begin
Sat., Sept. 16 -
Visit from Musical Innovations, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., String Project Building
Sat., Sept. 30 -
Okra Strut performance at 10:40 a.m. (details in newsletter)
Mon., Oct. 9 -
Second payment due
Sat., Oct. 21 -
Graduation recitals, 9:30 a.m. Recital Hall
Sat., Oct 28 - Parent Time! 10:00 a.m. with Emily Dixon from Beau Vinci Violins
Sat., Nov. 18 -
Fall Solo Recitals, 9:00 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. (details in newsletter)
Mon., Nov. 20 through Sat., Nov. 25 -
No private lessons or group classes
Mon., Dec. 4 -
Final Fall semester private lesson and group class
Sat., Dec. 2 and Sun., Dec. 3 - Retirement Home performances (details in newsletter)
Sat., Dec. 9 and Sun., Dec. 10 - Retirement home performances (details in newsletter)

Spring 2018 Important Dates

Mon., Jan. 8 - Private Lessons and Group Classes begin for Spring semester 
Fri., March 30 – Sun., April 8 -
Suzuki Strings Spring Break (no group classes or private lessons)
Sat., Apr 28 - Spring concert (for Group Classes), 9:00 a.m. Violins and 11:00 a.m. Violas and Cellos, Johnson Hall (DMSB)


What is the Suzuki Method?

One of the key concepts of the Suzuki Method is the Suzuki Triangle. The teacher and the parent create the foundation of the triangle; they work together to create a positive and successful experience for the child. The respect and commitment between the teacher and parent is vital for the child's success.

A second key component of the Suzuki Method is that the instrument is learned using the "Mother-Tongue" language learning principles. Dr. Suzuki observed that "all Japanese children speak Japanese" merely by being surrounded by the language in their environment. Similarly, by surrounding children with a musical environment and using language learning principle, children can be taught the skills to play an instrument at very young ages.

Some other unique aspects of the Suzuki Method include:

  • Early Beginnings: Language centers are developed in the brain between ages 3-5. These years of development are also crucial for body coordination. 
  • Listening: Just as one learns to speak before one learns to read/write, so to does the Suzuki student learn to play and produce sounds on the instrument before reading music. Listening daily to the recordings is essential for not only learning the tunes, but to also develop a sense of beautiful tone, dynamics, phrasing, and overall musicianship.
  • Parent Involvement: The parent will learn to play the Twinkle variations and be the home teacher. During the private lesson the parent will take notes for home practice assignments. The parent is also our number one cheerleader! 
  • Step-by-Step: Skills are broken down into small segments so that they are easily mastered by the student. Each step is securely learned before moving on; old skills are used as building blocks for new skills.
  • Improvement & Refinement: "Old" or review pieces are continually practiced and played to provide a means of refinement in the child's skills.
  • Encouragement and positive reinforcement fosters confidence and ensures that your child feels successful along the way. Since each child is an individual and treated as such, your child successfully progresses at his or her own pace.
  • Repetition: Skills are mastered through creative repetition, positive encouragement,  and daily practice.
  • Environment: It is important to create a positive, nurturing, and musical environment, both in lessons and at home. Children will flourish if they are provided such surroundings!

The ultimate goal of the Suzuki Method is not to create excellent violinists, but as Dr. Suzuki said to "create beautiful human beings." Children who learn music through the Suzuki Method are not only instilled with the value of dedication and patience, but also acquire confidence and strong self-esteem.

Please note: ALL new beginners, ages 7 and under, begin their studies on a box or foam instrument (violins, violas, cellos only). There are many reasons for this: 
1. Children must learn that their instrument is different from their regular toys – the foam/box is their instrument for the time being.
2. Foam/box instruments help children learn to focus as we spend time in the first  lessons counting, singing and standing/sitting still with the foam instrument.
3. Foam/box instruments help children learn how to take a bow.
4. Foam/box instruments help children learn to move from rest position to play position.
5. Foam/box instruments help children learn how to walk, sit and stand with their instrument without dropping them.
6. Fake bows allow the students to learn the skill of what a good bow hold is without worrying about the complexities of the hair and rosin.

The development of these skills allow for an easier transition onto the real instrument. This process teaches delayed gratification, patience and persistence, which are just a few character traits we hope to help children and parents develop in these beginning stages. We respect that every child will move through the Pre-Twinkle phase with their box instrument/bow at their own pace. We ask that parents allow the student to learn these skills in their own time; be aware that this time in the Pre-Twinkle phase is important for establishing fundamental posture and can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. As Dr. Suzuki said, “Never hurry, never rest.”

Suzuki Strings at USC

Suzuki Strings at USC, directed by Dr. Samara Humbert-Hughes, provides private and group lessons in the Suzuki method for violin, viola, cello, and guitar, to children ages three and above. Brand new beginners are accepted ages three through seven years old.

Suzuki students participate in both a weekly private lesson and a group class. Group classes take place on Monday evenings (intermediate students) and Friday evenings (advanced students) in the School of Music Building (Assembly & College) and on Saturday mornings (beginning to intermediate students) in the String Project Building (Park & College). Private lesson times are scheduled by the parent and teacher throughout the week. Private lessons take place at Greene St. Church, USC School of Music, or the String Project Building. 

Suzuki Strings at USC has two terms that include a weekly private lesson and group class for the students. The fall term is September through December (12-13 weeks) and spring term is January through May (16-17 weeks).

Parents are considered the “home teacher” and are required to attend the weekly private lessons with their children. They are responsible for helping establish their child's daily practice routine and working with them on reinforcing the concepts and exercises assigned by the instructor. During the private lesson, the parent is asked to take notes to ensure they fully understand the assignments. If the parent's questions have not been answered during the lesson, we encourage them to contact the teacher at a later time to address their questions.

Group classes motivate, inspire, and provide students with the opportunity to create music with their peers. Group classes often include students of a variety of ages and skills - much like the Montessori system. Younger students are inspired by older students and older students have the chance to work on their leadership skills and ensemble playing. Group class teachers use a variety of games and activities to review and introduce string skills in each class. 

Interested families are invited to observe our Saturday morning group classes and attend our free concerts.

For questions, email suzukistrings@mozart.sc.edu. Fill out and send in the enrollment applicationn to join us.