Activities and Opportunities
- Suzuki Lesson
The weekly individual lesson is the foundation of the Suzuki program. The lesson may vary in length from 30 minutes to 60 minutes depending on the age and level of the student and the recommendation of the teacher. Students are encouraged to come early and/or stay later to observe other lessons. Lessons are offered both during the school year (31 sessions) and summer (6 - 12 weeks). Individual lesson is part of the Suzuki lesson and Young Beginner's fee package. For more information see The Suzuki Approach.
- Modified Suzuki Lesson
The weekly individual lesson is similar to the Suzuki lesson and is the foundation of the relationship with the Suzuki School. Lesson length varies from 30 to 60 minutes depending on age and level of the student and the recommendation of the teacher. Lessons are offered both during the school year and summer. This type of lesson may be recommended for older students (ages 14 & above or adult students.) Group is optional for this lesson package. Fees will be adjusted to reflect reduction in services and opportunities.
Classes or Group Lessons
- Parent Classes
A class for prospective students' parents is held prior to the start of our regular session each fall and sometimes in the spring. This intense two-three week session is an introduction to the Suzuki approach. At the end of the these sessions, families can decide whether to continue with the Pre-Suzuki Class for their child. This class is available to all first year families and is part of the Young Beginner's Package. For details, click here.
- Pre-Suzuki Class or Young Beginner's Sessions
This class for prospective students (ages 3-6) is held at the beginning of the fall and sometimes spring semester for 4 to 6 weeks. This introduction to the Suzuki approach is held twice a week. By the end of this class, parents can decide to continue with the program. This class is only available as part of the Young Beginner's Fee Package. For details, click here.
- Group Lesson
All students enrolled in the UNI Suzuki School are placed in a group class according to their playing level. Group lessons are held once a week. Group lessons are not offered during the summer. Group lessons are part of the Suzuki & Young Beginner's Fee Package. Students who study with teachers who are not part of our staff may enroll in group only opportunities. Group lesson is part of the Suzuki and Young Beginner's Fee Package. For more information, see The Suzuki Approach.
- Performance Class
This class is for recital performance preparation. The session is led by one of the teachers and includes 3 to 5 students and an accompanist. Each student performs their recital piece with an accompanist. Coaching regarding recital etiquette and rehearsal with the other UNI Suzuki faculty members make this a unique learning atmosphere for our students. Performance classes are held the week prior to recital weekends and take the place of individual and group lessons for that week twice a year. This activity is part of the Suzuki and Young Beginner's Fee Package.
- Reading, Theory and Other Supplemental Classes
Music reading and theory are incorporated into the individual and group lessons. Theory Time series is the curriculum used. Students in grades 3 and above are tested each March to assess their progress. Certificates are awarded for those obtaining the highest scores in grade equivalent test or for those who show the greatest progress. As teacher availability and space allow, these special opportunities are offered to students beyond a particular level. An extra fee may be charged for participation.
- Parent sessions and meetings
A parent discussion group is usually held each semester and focuses on a particular aspect of the program. All parents are invited to attend these sessions to share with each other their experiences with the Suzuki method. These sessions are available to any family enrolled in the Suzuki School as part of the Suzuki or Young Beginner's Fee Package.
Social or Fund Raising Events
- Fall Event
An annual social event is held at the beginning of each year for students and their families. Details are announced at fall registration.
- Fund Raising Events
Numerous fund raising events are held each year by the UNI Suzuki Association and include Talent Sale, business coupon cards or books, basket raffles, and Pass the Hat at recitals and the spring concert. Proceeds are used to support the school's activities and educational materials acquisitions.
End of the year celebration
This event celebrates the accomplishments of all of our students and is held following the Honor's Recital in May.
- Student Recitals
UNI Suzuki School sponsors two solo recitals each year. Students with their teacher are asked to select a recital piece from the book prior to their current piece. Using a review piece for performance ensures a more relaxed and confident performance. The recital experience also gives the students experience in sharing their musical accomplishments and strengthens self-confidence and poise. A reception prepared by the parents usually follows for performers, parents, and other guests. Participation is part of the Suzuki & modified Suzuki lesson package but not group only students.
- Winter Holiday Play-In
A popular event in our program is the December Holiday Play-In. All students gather and present an informal group ensemble program. This program is festive in nature, and especially enjoyed by the children. Special holiday treats are served by the parents following the program.
- Area Performances and Public Appearances
Throughout the year, there are a number of formal and informal performance opportunities offered to the students in the Suzuki program. We are often invited to play for nursing homes, class demonstrations, festivals, and at a variety of different community service group functions. As the teachers accept these invitations, parents are encouraged to allow their child to participate as time warrants. Sign-up sheets for volunteer performers are posted on the school bulletin board with time, location, planned repertoire, and other details. Although these programs are wonderful public relations opportunities for the Suzuki program, they are especially valuable for the children's musical experience and much appreciated by our many audiences.
- Annual Spring Concert
The annual spring concert is the most important educational and motivational event of the year. In our method, which places so much emphasis on developing ability through careful review and polishing of skills already learned, preparing for this concert provides incentive for the review process. In performing pieces learned in previous years, students and parents are reminded of how much progress has been made and can have a greater appreciation for the musical growth of the student.
Performing in a formal setting before a large audience, demonstrating responsiveness to direction and exhibiting good stage presence are additional benefits of participating in this event. The pre-twinkler who may also be able to take a bow in such a situation is already demonstrating the ability to focus and respond, and this concert is an important learning step.
The motivational benefits are great; the concert is a culmination of the work done in lessons and group lessons throughout the year. While there is no pressure to "hurry and learn something for the concert," all students know we expect their very best efforts, and are rewarded by being part of a quality performance. The sound of the massed players is an inspiration to the students, teachers and audience.
The other aspect of the annual concert is that of outreach. As part of the International Suzuki movement, we have a message...that children have marvelous potential, and that each generation is the result of the environment established from birth. How wonderful if every new parent could understand the Suzuki philosophy of education, whether or not it is applied to music! Our public performance is intended to start people thinking about what children can do. This performance is part of the Suzuki package and Young Beginner's Fee Package.
Suzuki School Faculty Recital
This recital is held in late February and features members of the Suzuki School staff.
This recital is held in late May and features students selected during Honors Auditions.
The UNI Suzuki School sponsors a special performance group of advanced violin students called "Fiddlesticks." Membership in this group is by audition of particular repertoire. The group is often invited to perform at various events throughout the year and rehearses on a regular basis to prepare for these performances. There is no fee for participation in this group.
This group is open to any student (grades 9 - 12) who qualifies during the audition process. The orchestra is directed by John Chiles. Rehearsals are held on Fridays (5:00 -7 :00) at Russell Hall. The orchestra performs two concerts annually. There is a fee for participation in this orchestra.
This group is open to any string student (grades 6 - 8)who qualifies during the audition process. The orchestra is directed by our long time NIJO director, Tom Schilke. Rehearsals are held on Fridays (5:00 -7:00) at Russell Hall. The orchestra performs annually at a spring concert and for schools and other sites on their annual spring tour. There is a fee for participation in this orchestra.
- Beginner Chamber Music
This group is a beginning level orchestra conducted by our instructor, Ute Brandenburg. This small chamber orchestra for string students in grades 2 - 4 rehearses once a week for 6 weeks. Membership is limited to students enrolled in the Suzuki School who have their teacher's recommendation. Music reading experience (such as I Can Read Music series) and playing at a minimum of Suzuki book level 2 is preferred. There is a fee for participation in this orchestra.
Contests, Auditions, Awards & Recognitions
- Honors Audiitons
The Honors Auditions are designed to monitor our students' progress, ensure consistency and excellence through our program, and facilitate student learning. Each participant receives detailed written feedback from our faculty adjudicators. Those earning the highest ratings for the day are invited to perform at the Honors Recital in May.
- 100 Days
Practice incentive to encourage consistency and continuity by practicing 100 days in a row. Awards are given for those who achieve this. Held at the staff's discretion.
- Review Contest
Contest to promote the review component of the Suzuki philosophy. Spelling bee type competition for students in book 3 and above. Held at the staff's discretion.
- Theory Testing
Theory Time series is the basis for the school's theory curriculum. All students in grades 3 and above are tested in early March. Awards are given for the highest scores on testing at appropriate grade levels and for the most improved score from the previous year. Awards are announced at the spring concert.
- Helena Mullen Volunteer Recognition Award
Helena Mullen served as the UNI Suzui Association treasurer for many years. The award was established in 1997 upon her retirement from the board. Each year an individual or family is recognized for their outstanding volunteer efforts on behalf of the teachers, students and their families. A permanent award is housed in the Suzuki office and the recipient receives a star pin designed by former Suzuki mom, Annette Andres.
- Jan Moore Senior Gift
In 2003, an annual senior class gift for the school was established to honor Jan Moore's many years of service to the UNI suzuki Association as board president, treasurer and chair of numerous committees. Each year an addition to the school library is made to honor our graduating class.
Students graduating from high school are recognized at the spring concert.
- Founder's Award
Awarded annually to a viola student who has shown meritorius progress and is selected by the viola faculty. Named in honor of the school's founder, Martha Holvik and established in 2006 the award is given as a financial award toward the student's instructional fees.
Workshops and Institutes
Participation in workshops and Suzuki institutes has proven to be a useful educational and motivational experience for many students and their families. Information is available in our Suzuki library about Suzuki institutes held across the U.S. each summer. Fees vary by event.
Locally our program invites clinicians to UNI Suzuki School sponsored workshops. As these special events occur, information will be posted and teachers will discuss with you the possibility for attending with your child. As time and schedules permit, take advantage of these musical experiences early on in the program. Fees vary by event.