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Making music the Suzuki way

Community School of the Arts teaches 130 kids the art of violin

On Monday evenings the second floor of the Parish Life Building at Myers Park Methodist Church transforms into a concert hall corridor.

Classrooms morph into mini music studios bursting with youthful energy as the Community School of the Arts Suzuki violin program gets under way. In one classroom, a student is learning a concerto. Next door you can hear the quickness of an Irish folk song.

Community School of the Arts offers Suzuki instruction based on the repertoire and teaching philosophy of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. The 130 students, some as young as age 3 1/2, are taught in 18-week private and group sessions.

Parents or caregivers are required to be present during the lessons because they’ll serve as home teachers.

Liam Robinson, 11, chose the violin after seeing a performance by the Charlotte Symphony. “I saw the violins and liked the sound. I couldn’t sing so I asked my mom…if I could take violin lessons,” said Liam, who started at age 4.

While he doesn’t know where his violin career will lead, Liam adds, “I write music and I formed a string quartet.”

Suzuki Program Coordinator Laurel Talley says “you see kids who can blow you away with their ability.”

At evening’s end a single classroom fills with over 40 students and their instructors. The students proudly play through the lesson they’ve just learned as parents sit on one side of the room.

The finale is a Suzuki staple: a variation on “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

Parents applaud and smile, and proud students take a bow.

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