Suzuki String Academy

Welcome to Washington Conservatory Suzuki String Academy

~ Jennifer Cluggish, Suzuki Violin Coordinator


~ Drew Owen, Suzuki Cello Faculty

The mission of the Washington Conservatory Suzuki Academy is to foster joyful young violinists, violists, and cellists, and nurture a high level of musical excellence in children beginning at age 4, founded on the Suzuki Talent Education tenets:

The Washington Conservatory Suzuki Academy provides the highest quality Suzuki instruction by expert faculty including:

What is the Suzuki Method?

More than fifty years ago, Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki (1898- 1998) developed a philosophy of teaching music to young children based on the principles of language. He noticed that all children learned to speak their native tongue through consistent, nurturing exposure and by listening and repeating. He applied these same principles to teaching violin and called his approach the Mother-Tongue Method.

Dr. Suzuki believed that all children have musical talent and every child can succeed when given the best possible environment - where the parent/guardian and teacher work closely together, giving the student loving encouragement.

The Suzuki method offers the parent/guardian and child a unique opportunity to develop their relationship and share the joy of music together.

About The Washington Conservatory Suzuki Academy

Whole Person Learning

Our Suzuki faculty members are dedicated to not only teaching the violin, viola, and cello but also developing the whole child. They believe in instilling confidence, love of learning, goal-setting, problem solving, critical thinking, perseverance, team work, memorization abilities, concentration, coordination, and appreciation of others – the nurturing of the whole person through music.

Early Start

The early years are crucial for developing mental processes, muscle coordination and a musical ear. Formal Suzuki training may begin as early as 4 years of age. Children under 4 may begin in our Conservatory Kids classes to prepare them for playing a string instrument.

Active Parent/Guardian Involvement

The success of the Suzuki Method depends upon the active participation of both the parent/guardian and student.

In the Suzuki Method the parent, teacher and child create the "Suzuki Triangle." Each participant in the triangle is equally important and responsible for the learning process in a safe and productive environment. Therefore, being a successful Suzuki parent/guardian does not depend on any previous knowledge of music - the parent/guardian is taught step by step how to help the child at home.

The Parent/Guardian

Musical Listening

Children learn words by imitating, after repeatedly hearing the word spoken. Daily listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire helps students to learn music quickly.

Learning with Other Children

In addition to individual lessons, children participate in group lessons and performances. In group classes students learn quickly, are inspired by each other, and are a part of a community.

Note Reading

Children learn to read after learning to talk. In the same way, in the Suzuki Method children develop basic playing ability before they learn how to read music on their instrument. Note reading without the instrument starts right away at the beginning level. Students also begin note reading after their first year and continue to build greater proficiency in note reading through participation in small chamber ensembles and group classes.

Suzuki Individual Lessons

Individual lessons for student and parent/guardian are held every week at Washington Conservatory at Glen Echo Park and Westmoreland Church. Scheduling of individual lessons is coordinated by the Washington Conservatory Registrar (301-320-2770), depending on teacher and family availability.

Suzuki Group Lessons

Group lessons provide a joyful opportunity to learn and play with others making music motivating and fun! Group lessons teach us:

Group lessons also provide a supportive forum for parents/guardians to meet and exchange ideas with other Suzuki families.

Suzuki Group Class Schedule

Group lessons are divided into levels and meet weekly on Monday afternoons at WCM at Glen Echo Park.

Weekly 50-min group lessons for students at the beginning levels is divided into the following sections:

Suzuki Academy Tuition

Tuition (2018-19):

Time commitment

Compare Suzuki Instruction and Traditional Instruction

            Suzuki at WCM for young musicians Traditional at WCM for young musicians
            May begin age 4 - before basic reading skills May begin age 5 – after basic reading skills
            Learns to play instrument before learning note-reading Learns note-reading from beginning
            Motivation through group classes and playing together No group class required
            Parent/Guardian attends weekly individual and group lessons Parent/Guardian is encouraged to attend weekly individual lessons
            Parent/Guardian practices daily w/child Parent/Guardian is encouraged to oversee and encourage practice
            Child grows in nurturing musical environment Child may experience independence and self-motivation
            Fun Suzuki Performances and Events Optional student recital opportunities
            Uses Suzuki repertoire & Supplemental pieces Often integrates Suzuki materials with other repertoire

Helpful Hints:

Bringing younger siblings to individual lessons and group class is wonderful early exposure for children as long as they are not disruptive. Child-care arrangements should be made for siblings that may be a distraction from the learning process.

Click here to contact us for Suzuki String Academy Click here to contact us for traditional lessons

Suggested Reading

Get Started

Prospective families interested in Suzuki Academy will be contacted by a Coordinator to set up two observations of the program before getting started. During this time, parents/guardians will receive additional information, see how the program works, and have a chance to ask questions before making the Suzuki commitment.

Click here to contact us for Suzuki String Academy

Class & Lesson Descriptions & Registration

Suzuki String Academy - Beginning Violin, Viola & Cello (Ages 4+ years) | contact us
Weekly One-on-One Individual Lesson (TBD) plus Group Class (Violin: Mondays, early evening; Cello: Tuesdays, early evenings)
Teacher: Jennifer Cluggish, M.M., violin
Teacher: Drew Owen, M.M., cello
Come be a part of an exciting new Suzuki String program at the Washington Conservatory of Music at Glen Echo Park! Our Suzuki Academy uses the highly respected and sequential instructional method developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. This method is based on the belief that "every child can" develop musical talent, and the scientifically-verified fact that learning music helps each child reach his or her full potential. This inclusive approach is dedicated to the ideals of nurturing and educating the whole person through music education. The parent or caregiver plays a vital role in the learning process, helps the child practice what is learned, and attends private lessons and group lessons with the child. This exciting program includes weekly private lessons, group classes, solo and group recitals, and outreach events. Call for information, tuition and registration details.

To enroll and schedule class: 301-320-2770
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