Would you like to expand your child’s musical knowledge and give him or her the opportunity to learn a musical instrument at a young age? The Suzuki Strings violin program can cultivate your child’s interest in the violin, music and the performing arts.
Studies have shown that children immersed in arts education tend to succeed academically as compared to those who may not have the opportunity to take some form of performing or visual art classes. Students at Desert Shadows Elementary School are reaping the rewards of having a specialized music program as part of their curriculum. “Students in the Suzuki Strings program benefit academically in so many ways, including increased fine motor skills that help with writing and other tasks, reading skills, verbal skills and vocabulary, improved concentration, muscle memory, improved posture, coordination, self-discipline, lower stress levels, confidence, collaboration skills, sense of community and feeling of accomplishment,” said Laura Syjud, Suzuki Violin Specialist at Desert Shadows Elementary.
The Suzuki Violin method was created by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki when he noticed how easily children learn their native language, even if the language is very difficult. Dr. Suzuki began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called this method the mother-tongue approach. The ideas of parent responsibility, loving encouragement and constant repetition are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach.
At Desert Shadows Elementary, every student is able to participate in Suzuki Strings and learn to play the violin. Preschool and Kindergarten students receive instruction once a week, while students in 1st-3rd grades receive instruction twice a week and 4th-6th graders receive daily instruction. The school has 350 violins in varying sizes from 1/32 to 4/4 (full size) for students in preschool through 3rd grade to use. Students in the 4th-6th grade program supply their own instruments.
With encouragement from parents, students can take what they have learned in the classroom to practice at home, even without a violin. Students can practice at home by clapping, stomping or “polishing” their arm (with their hand) to the rhythms learned in class. Mrs. Syjud suggests using an egg carton (dozen) will make a great violin to practice posture and position, and a stick and a toilet paper roll will make a great learning tool to practice bowing. Parents can purchase Suzuki Violin, Volume 1 CD, so that their child can listen to music daily. While some parents may choose to rent a violin for home use, it is not necessary for success in the class; however, it will help nurture a love for the instrument and can help with progression.
“The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the students enjoy playing the violin because they are being successful. The Suzuki Method of teaching violin really makes learning fun and helps the students produce good sound from the start of learning. My students love coming to class and I see it in their smiles even when I see them outside of class. This is why I do what I do, not to produce future professional musicians but to help foster the love of music into children,” said Mrs. Syjud.
The support of the parents, teacher, staff and administration at the school and district level have made this program a success. “They are an amazing group of people who are doing all they can to learn along with the children and support the program,” added Mrs. Syjud.
Learn more about the Suzuki Strings Program offered at Desert Shadows Elementary.