New Parent FAQ

Distance Learning update: Starting a program requiring development of complex physical skills during a pandemic is an immensely tricky project that can nevertheless be rewarding if all support structures are in place. For a child beginner or developing player, it is imperative that a parent be available to “be the eyes/ears/hands” of the distance teacher who cannot approach for close contact. When the weather is suitable, we will be able to meet outdoors/distanced/masked, but there is currently no timeline for resuming regular in-person classes. In the meantime, we are keeping these distance learning goals in mind:

  • Maintain personal connection and music community among students/families
  • Support varying needs regarding “curriculum” learning and social or “maintenance” playing
  • Promote developing students’ independent learning skills as appropriate for age/level
  • Use technology creatively in absence of the typical physical interactions

How old does my child need to be? / Is my child too old?

We accept students starting from age 3 (programs vary), and no one is too old!

What is the Suzuki method? / I’ve heard this or that about the Suzuki method.

Suzuki is known for the young age at which children can learn to play musical instruments “by ear” (the way they learn their native language) but is also a teaching philosophy that extends to other areas of child development. We call ourselves “Suzuki teachers” in our application of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s principles of music education and nurturing the whole child while also making use of training and experience in “other” methods.

For older children and adults, a “Suzuki approach” comes down to this: identifying a student’s current ability and future potential, then taking the journey step by step, with consistency of expectations and encouragement.

What is the lesson schedule? / Can lessons take place in our home?

Students come to our locations in Jersey City and Warren. This allows for back-to-back scheduling, access to necessary teaching supplies and equipment, and helping children to establish physical and psychological boundaries between lesson time and other time. See also – Spring 2023 Schedule

Are students taught privately or in a group? (violin)

Jersey City: Most young beginners start in a group or master class where learning begins by their seeing other children playing and learning. Through observation and gradual participation, they become aware of expectations and build up concentration ability. Students are added to the individual lesson schedule when developmentally ready while also continuing in an appropriate group level.

Warren: Individual lessons are the norm although all Jersey City programs are open to Warren students who wish to make the drive.

Young students do not necessarily develop skills more quickly or more effectively by starting directly with private lessons. The reduction in lesson fees by starting with a group is not insubstantial, and we encourage putting this “savings” towards towards acquiring a quality instrument.

What are the rates?

Tuition is a program fee per term, based on the child’s class placement, and includes all assigned lessons, group classes, and most events. A group class observation visit and in-person consultation are required to determine placement although space may or may not be immediately available in your suitable level. Group participation or observation and orientation process will be required to remain on the waiting list.

Are there trial classes?

Class visit and consultation allows for the family to meet us personally, watch children learn and interact, and get a glimpse into our music community. Because a transformative experience cannot take place in only one session, the purpose of multiple visits is to help with whether or not to consider extended study. Further, the Pre-Twinkle group program serves as an introductory period before committing to a schedule of individual lessons. Shinichi Suzuki says, “It is no good to try a little and quit before anything happens” (Talent Education for Young Children).

I’m not sure if my child truly wants this?

Some children are strongly self-motivated while others are simply eager to please others. Since children have many life decisions made for them (such is the life of a child), it is ultimately the parent who must choose, or not, to pursue music education. Nevertheless, if it is chosen, we will then work together to “instill [in the child] the desire to learn”.

Next steps:

  • Submit inquiry form and/or have an initial phone discussion
  • Schedule and attend observation(s) to determine class placement
  • Enroll in the current class session or submit deposit for the next availability and continue to attend observations