Starting with Suzuki

A guide for new parents who are Starting with Suzuki – Enrolling your child in violin, viola, or cello with STEP

First Steps

How to Register: To join our Suzuki community, please complete a New Family Registration form for your child & submit your non-refundable Family Registration fee ($50 for 1 child, $80 for 2+) by e-transfer to STEP at with the password “suzuki.”

STEP will email you an invoice and schedule for the upcoming season. Your private lesson fees are separate from your STEP fees and arranged directly with your private teacher. We will send you an invoice for your STEP fees which will include:

  1. $400 group class fee per child
  2. $200 parent orientation fee (one-time only)

Families will also need to get the Suzuki Method recordings for your chosen instrument, if not already owned, available here:


Next Steps

Private Teacher: Some families have already found their desired Suzuki teacher. If you do not already have a private teacher arranged, we’ll see that on your registration form and our Artistic Director will connect you to one of our wonderful Suzuki teachers.

Observations: While starting private lessons and before participating in group classes, you and your child will observe other teachers and students in these environments. Your private teacher will invite you to observe 3 private lessons. You’ll also observe your child’s group class until your private teacher gives the green light for your child to actively participate.

Instrument: No need to rush out and acquire an instrument right away! Your private teacher will help size your child for an appropriate instrument. It’s important to get the right size, and to start off with good habits and knowledge about care and handling. Your private teacher will guide you to the right instrument: STEP has a small collection of beginner-sized instruments available to rent at $25/month, and Rodney de Vries Violins is our local luthier with many more options. Parents, too, take part in learning the basics for a few months and should acquire an instrument for themselves. Again, your private teacher will guide you, but renting from Rodney de Vries or Long & McQuade, or checking on Kijiji, should do the trick.

Parent Orientation: This is a one-time, required course for the parent who will be attending lessons and classes with your child. Together, you and your child attend their instrumental group class (Pre-Twinkle or Book 1) on Saturday mornings. Then while your child takes Music & Movement or Musicianship, you’ll take Parent Orientation at the same time.

What’s Included:

  • 18 weeks of classes, Saturday mornings, 9:30-10:00am
  • Materials
    • Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki
    • Helping Parents Practice by Ed Sprunger

Parent Orientation introduces you to the Suzuki method and philosophy: empowering you as the parent to have an active role in your child’s musical development and preparing you to act as the at-home teacher. The course is taught by master Suzuki teacher, Christina Smith, and includes a combination of seminar, video, and practical hands-on learning with instruments. Once you’ve completed Parent Orientation now, you’ll always be welcome to attend later offerings for free, as a refresher as your child progresses!

Your Child’s Schedule: Your child will most likely be scheduled for a 30-minute private lessons during the week. Private lessons are all scheduled by the private teacher.

All of STEP’s group classes take place on Saturday mornings at Memorial University’s School of Music. Beginner level students take a 30-minute instrumental group class and a 30-minute musicianship class. Brand new students will be assigned to Pre-Twinkle (violin or cello) and Music & Movement. Slightly older students may start in a Twinkle/Book 1 class and Musicianship. The instrumental group class will participate in the semester-end group concerts. Depending on the progress of your child’s private lessons, they may be able to also participate on a solo recital!

First Meeting: STEP will be hosting New Family Orientation on Saturday, September 7th from 10:00am-12:00pm at Memorial University’s School of Music.  It’s a great chance to come meet STEP’s Artistic Director, Valerie Hewson, and go on a tour of the building. Reading materials will be distributed and there’ll be plenty of opportunity to ask questions.  One of our senior students will be there to greet you in lobby marked for Suncor Energy Hall.

Here to Help: We are here to help! It can feel overwhelming getting started with the high volume of information coming to you. We understand – and please feel free to contact our General Manager, Lynette Stoyles, at or by calling (709) 237-5026 anytime to ask questions and find answers. We’ll also connect you with another parent who’s recently gone through the very same process, as another support along the way. STEP provides a nurturing community not just for students, but for the entire family.