Distance Learning update: Pre-Twinkle groups are on hold while regular in-person schedule is not possible. For a new young beginner to start during this time, it is imperative that a parent learns to play first and “be the eyes/ears/hands” of the distance teacher who cannot approach for close contact.

(Jersey City only)

To capitalize on children’s capacity for learning via their environment, beginners up to age 6 generally start in the Pre-Twinkle program, an introduction to Suzuki for young beginners and their parents.  Because it takes a high level of fine motor control for a young child, or anyone, to be able to “make music” on a violin, cello, or piano, our Pre-Twinkle approach combines elements of early childhood music and general music literacy.  Children are encouraged to start the musicianship journey by using their natural instruments (bodies and voices) first.

Pre-Twinkle Core Group

  • Parents undertake a brief study of Suzuki philosophy and its practical applications
  • Parents learn to play Twinkle
  • Children begin listening to a professional recording of Book 1 pieces
  • Social interactions, gross motor skills and fine motor skills activities, foundations for rhythm and pitch, etc. are explored in a group setting
  • Listening, singing, and moving are emphasized as basic tools for experiencing and making music while more complex physical skills are still developing
  • Mixed age/level environment ensures immediate exposure to local community of young players – new children more readily comply with and enjoy success with learning steps

Timid children in particular need this time to see from the sidelines that it is safe and fun.  Consistent attendance and a positive, encouraging attitude will generally motivate them to participate.

Pre-Twinkle vs. other early childhood music classes

Traditionally, a child may be considered not ready for typical private lessons for various reasons: age, the quality (or absence) of prior musical experiences, willingness and ability to listen and follow directions, etc.  Many early childhood music programs are suitable for helping them become ready.  The advantage of Pre-Twinkle is to begin building the musical relationship with the specific instrument teacher, as well as to connect into a community of families.

Violin Master Class

Effective weekly instruction should cover only as much material as can be reinforced at home. Since the learning curve for initial physical skills, especially for violin, can be rather steep, a master class format can allow for more appropriate for pacing until the child reaches a certain level and mastery of physical (and social) skills.

Another concern is the risk when handing a real violin to a child who is eager to experiment with it in detrimental ways. By participating in Pre-Twinkle, a child will have many opportunities to see older children handling their violins and are likely to follow after them.


For instruments played while seated, such as the piano, a first step for a young child may be to remain on the bench or chair! The next steps are to show body balance and then to follow directions while staying on the bench or chair. A young child will first benefit from time in the Pre-Twinkle large group, then the parent and child may opt to share an individual lesson where most of the time is used for the parent at first and the child’s time increases as developmentally appropriate.