Frequently Asked Questions

How will musical study benefit my child?

  • develops a love of music
  • provides a musical community for making friends
  • maximizes your child’s musical potential
  • nurtures the whole child
  • improves brain development
  • enhances fine motor skills
  • develops a “musical ear”
  • fosters close parent/child relationship
  • improves understanding of mathematical concepts
  • teaches concentration and good work habits
  • prepares your child for a musical career
  • develops ensemble skills
  • positive outlet for self-expression
  • builds self-esteem

What does the Suzuki Talent Education Program (STEP) program offer?

  • weekly private lessons
  • semi-monthly group classes
  • parent enrichment classes
  • solo and group performance opportunities
  • orchestra, chamber music, theory
  • additional learning through observation
  • flexible approach customized to each child
  • exceptional teaching by highly-trained faculty

How much does it cost?

  • Private lessons: about $80-120/month for beginners (varies by teacher)
  • Group classes: $190-360 per child (depending on class length) for 18 classes from September to June
  • Program membership: $245 annually per family

Please see the STEP Teachers’ Studio Policy¬†for more information about paying for private lessons.

What is the Suzuki Method?

Dr. Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998), Japanese musician and educator, founded the Suzuki Method in the 1930s. It began in North America in the 1960’s, and is known worldwide today. The main principle of the Suzuki Method of musical instruction is: Just as children learn to speak their native tongue, they will learn how to play a musical instrument.

Dr. Suzuki observed that children hear the sounds and rhythms of their native language from birth, and parents always encourage and celebrate their children’s efforts at learning to speak. There is no doubt that they will succeed. In this natural process, all children experience delight and joy in acquiring their “mother tongue.” Likewise, the Suzuki Talent Education Program of St. John’s applies the Suzuki Method by creating an environment, both at lessons and at home, which stimulates the child’s desire to learn to play the violin, viola or cello.

What does the Suzuki method require of me as a parent?

STEP is a community of families committed to nurturing the Suzuki way of life. Parents do not need a musical background. You will be expected to:

  • Attend your child’s private and group lessons
  • Play the recordings daily of pieces to be learned.
  • Guide your child’s daily practice sessions at home.
  • Support your child as she or he learns a new skill.

You, the parent, are required to attend all lessons and groups and take notes. You will also learn the basis of how to play the instrument. The teacher teaches you, step-by-step, to be the home teacher and how to guide your child easily at home.

How do we begin?

  1. Contact STEP to discuss program details.
  2. Observe several group and/or private lessons.
  3. Register your child
  4. Attend parent training sessions scheduled in September and possibly January

To start in the fall, it is best to contact us in the spring, but you can call us anytime.

At what age should a child begin?

The earlier the better! Children of preschool age have an insatiable desire to learn. Learning an instrument at such a young age will have a positive impact on their development for years to come. You can start developing your child’s musical potential by surrounding him/her with a musical environment. Music becomes a natural part of children’s lives when they are exposed to fine music at concerts, on television, on the radio, or on recordings. Older children, too, can benefit from this teaching method, no matter what their previous experience.

What does the program include?

Approximately 30 weeks of 30-minute private lessons (as the children become more advanced, the lesson times may increase), 18 group classes, a Christmas and a Spring Concert, and four solo recitals. All Suzuki students of the same instrument learn the same repertoire in the same order.

Private and Group Lessons?

At STEP all violin and cello students receive both private and group classes. Private lessons are held at various locations and times throughout the St. John’s metro area. Group classes bring together students at the same level of learning, regardless of age. They play music together, work on key points in the pieces that they are all learning, play musical games, play solos for each other, make friends and have fun! The length of both kinds of lesson (30-60 minutes) varies according to the level of the student.

More about Group Classes

When are lessons scheduled?

Private lessons are scheduled at a mutually convenient time for both the parent and the teacher during weekdays or weekends. Group classes take place approximately twice a month on Saturday mornings.

Where are the lessons held?

Private lessons are held at the teacher’s home studio. Group classes are held at the MUN School of Music. Solo recitals are held in local churches or halls and may change depending on availability.

Where do I find an instrument?

The teachers will size your child in the early fall and will guide you in the right direction to obtain an instrument. There are a few violas and small cellos for rent through STEP. The cost is $10/monthly for a viola (free if used in STEP orchestra) and $25/monthly for a cello. Violins of many sizes can be rented through music stores, including Rodney de Vries Violins, 35 Monkstown Road.

How can I find out more about STEP?

Please send an e-mail to the address below; we will be happy to return your email and talk with you further.