The mission of the UNI Suzuki School is to enrich the lives of children through the study of music. Guided by the teachings of Dr. Suzuki, we believe in the potential of all children to learn within the framework of the parent-teacher-child relationship.
History and Philosophy of the UNI Suzuki School
The UNI Suzuki Talent Education Program (UNI STEP) was founded in January of 1976, as a pilot program in string education in the School of Music at the University of Northern Iowa. An introductory course, "The Suzuki Approach to Teaching String Instruments" was developed by Martha Holvik, director of the program. Starting with one small child, a very small violin and a committed parent, the class learned in depth about Shinichi Suzuki's philosophy of teaching small children. The gentle man from Japan believed in the potential for learning inherent in each child. His "method" of training very young children in an atmosphere of love and encouragement, learning the skills of playing an instrument in much the same way as learning a language---by listening and imitation---has captured the attention of musicians, parents, and educators alike. His concepts of developing the whole child, of opening the world to children through music, of discipline in the process of learning, are much more than a specific way of learning how to play an instrument; these concepts are a philosophy of life, contributing to growth in all areas of living for those who participate.
UNI STEP, now know as the UNI Suzuki School, has grown to include over 170 children studying violin, viola, cello, string bass, flute and harp from ages 3 to 18 as well as an adult string program. While Suzuki training for children is primarily a "triangle experience" between parent, teacher and student--participation in group activities enhances the enjoyment of making music with and for others. Our students also share their music in brief concerts for area groups, fall and spring recitals and an annual concert.
The UNI Suzuki School also sponsors the Northern Iowa Junior Orchestra for area middle and junior high school students, The Naturals for younger students, and several chamber ensembles.
As the program has grown, the school's mission is supported by the UNI Suzuki Association, a group of parents and other interested persons who meet monthly with the teachers to assist in the planning of our endeavors. They, and many other parents, have helped the entire program reach out for the worthwhile goals of which Suzuki has spoken--"to bring love, joy, peace, and sensitivity to all things beautiful and artistic into the lives of all children."