Category Archives: For Parents

Fall ’18 Group Class Updates & Information

Many thanks to everyone who came out and joined us for our annual Play-In & Ice Cream social to help kick off the school year.  It was a lot of fun to see and hear you all back in one place again after summer.  There’s something really special about a large group of stringed instruments playing together, as you can hear at Suzuki Institutes, Workshops, and group performances – I really recommend experiencing it as often as you can!  To those who weren’t able to make it this time, we missed you and we hope you’ll be able to join us for the next one!

Starting next Tuesday, August 28, fall group classes will begin in earnest at Good Shepherd Church (1166 S Mason).  The schedule is the same as in past years:

  • 5:30-6:00 p.m. – A Majors (Pre-Twinkle – Andantino)
  • 6:10-6:40 p.m. – G Majors (Etude – Bach Bourree)
  • 6:50-7:20 p.m. – Viola Choir (layered violas of all levels)
  • 7:20-8:05 p.m. – Circle of 5ths (Book 4+)
  • 8:05-8:50 p.m. – Performance Ensemble (supplemental/non-Suzuki Book 4+)

HOWEVER, many of you have graduated to new class levels!  If you have moved into the second half of Book 1, we would love to have you join us in G Majors.  If you’ve completed Book 3 and are making your way into Book 4, we would love to have you get your feet wet in Circle of 5ths AND keep coming to G Majors.  If you’re solidly in Book 4, 5, 6 or above, we’d love to have you in Performance Ensemble, as well.  Please refer to the sheet below to find your assigned group(s) for this semester, and let your teacher know if you have any questions.  We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday evenings!

FA19 Group Class Rosters

Halloween Performance & Party

Every fall, we look forward to our Halloween Group Class Performance and the Party that follows.  Here’s what you need to know for this year’s installment:

Who: Any and all of Mr. Brad and Ms. Kirby’s students.
What: An informal performance of selected Suzuki repertoire and other supplemental pieces, followed by snacks and games.
Where: the Parish Hall at Good Shepherd Church, 1166 S. Mason Rd., Town & Country, MO 63131.
When: Tuesday, October 24, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
How: Wear a costume, invite your friends and family, and sign up to help set up, tear down, or bring treats.

Here is the repertoire list that we will be focusing on in group classes for the next few weeks to prepare for the performance:

Sadness, B. Tours
Fugue in Two Parts, C. Dancla
Coleraine (Irish Jig)

Chicken on a Fencepost Variations (A, C, E)
Paw Paw Patch
Old Brass Wagon

Seitz 2:III
Gavotte in g minor (w/ violas)
Old Joe Clark
Witches’ Dance

Handel Bourree (w/ duet)
Chorus from
Judas Maccabaeus (w/ duet)
French Folk Song (w/ duet)

Violins & Violas
Etude (w/ viola duet)
Rhody Variations
Song of the Wind
Twinkle Theme & Variations (A, C, Theme)


Food for Thought: Learning from Dorothy DeLay

Dorothy Dolay is someone who I try to emulate in my teaching, but her philosophy and approach towards teaching is also very relevant in the way we approach teaching and learning in all walks of life – including parenting.

At our parent night this past Tuesday, we discussed holding high expectations that are clearly communicated and consistently reinforced.  The question then becomes: how are we going to pursue achieving those expectations?  Will we yell, scream, demand, and offer ultimatums?  I’ve had music teachers who’ve done that.  My playing a lot under them, but it’s taken me decades to overcome the negative emotional impact of those lessons.  Or will we lead, support, challenge, and strengthen?  Later in life, I’ve had experiences with teachers every bit as excellent but much more nurturing in their approach.  And guess what?  I’ve learned even more, and grown far more in self-confidence and character in the process.

So, check out this article from the perspective of Itzhak Perlman on his teacher Dorothy Delay.  It’s definitely food for thought.


Musical Enrichment Opportunities

At our parent night on Tuesday, January 10, I had a chance to talk with many of you about opportunities for learning and performing in the St. Louis area beyond.  Thank you so much to all of you who came out!   I wanted to take an opportunity to provide everyone with a summary of the opportunities that we talked about that night, and links to get more information and sign up for anything you might be interested in doing.

Local Performing Opportunities

14055166_1670582056593834_9032303787196204223_nOpportunities to perform in front of an audience are such an important and irreplaceable part of developing as a musician.  Throughout the semester and over the summer, parents in our program will be coordinating performing opportunities at Mari De Villa and Parc Provence.  If you would be interested in signing up to play, please email me at or and we can help you get set up!

Local Workshops and Camps

11041080_1058269327520367_4531080362292048940_n.jpgMusic workshops and camps give students a wonderful opportunity to engage in a fun, intensive learning experience and walk away with new ideas, new ability, renewed energy, and a lot of excitement.

On March 4-5, Southern Illinois University’s Suzuki Program will be hosting their bi-annual Suzuki Workshop.  Faculty assembled from across the Midwest will come to work with students here in the St. Louis area.  Registration is now open!  Don’t wait to sign up!

And on June 5-9, students from our program and several others in the St. Louis area will be gathering for the Sprunger Violin Camp in Kirkwood, MO.  The camp will meet each morning that week, and students will work on theory, rhythm, technique, repertoire, and performance with wonderful teachers in a fun environment.  Right in our neck of the woods, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of!

Summer Suzuki Institutes

This summer, Kirby and I will be participating in three Suzuki Institutes across the U.S. – The Colorado Suzuki Institute, the Chicago Suzuki Institute, and the American Suzuki Institute.  We encourage you to join us for a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience.


The Colorado Suzuki Institute runs two sessions – June 12-17 and 19-24 – of which you can participate in one or both!  The Institute is located in the beautiful resort at Beaver Creek, CO and features some of the best Suzuki teachers from around the country as well as limitless activities for students and families alike!

The Chicago Suzuki Institute runs from July 2-7.  Located on Chicago’s North Shore, this relatively new and quickly-growing Institute affords students access to exceptional Suzuki teachers, private lessons, group classes, chamber rehearsals, and orchestras.  A quick drive or train ride takes you right to downtown Chicago where you can enjoy all of the cities sights.

The American Suzuki Institute also runs two sessions – July 16-22 and 23-29.  You can take part in one or both.  The Institute is located on the college campus of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, near the Wisconsin Dells and tons of amazing outdoors activities and opportunities.

The earlier you register for any of these Institutes, the lower your registration costs will be and the greater your chances will be to receive a scholarship.  Please feel free to let Kirby or me know about any questions you may have.  We’ve had more and more students joining us at Institutes each summer, and we would love to have that tradition continue this year!

Halloween Recital & Talent Show

Tuesday, October 25 – 6:00 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd!


We want to make this year’s Halloween Recital a whole family event by inviting EVERYONE IN YOUR FAMILY to participate in some way.  We know you all are super talented, we see it every week in lessons!  That’s why we are going to showcase what our group classes have been working on with a few selections from the repertoire list below.  

We also want to see any special talents we might not know about yet – students, siblings and even parents are encouraged to participate.  Feel free to show some dance moves, singing, martial arts, alternative ways of playing instruments, unicycle riding, or whatever you can think of!  Please sign up in the studio or by e-mailing Brad or Kirby a brief description of what you will be doing and the names of everyone participating by October 16.  

If you are worried because your formal attire is at the dry cleaners, worry no more!  Costumes for all are encouraged for this event – adults and kids!  (We recommend practicing in your costume before arriving at the church and making any modifications necessary to maintain proper posture.)

If you are asking yourself how else you can help, please consider signing up to bring treats for a reception following the event!  A Parent Volunteer sheet is now posted in the studio!

Repertoire List:

Peanut Butter Sandwich
Train Song
Twinkles (D Major)
Lightly Row
Halloween Rhody
May Song
Witches Dance
Gavotte by Becker (book 3)
Seitz 5: I
Perpetual Motion (book 4)
Gavotte by Bach (book 5)
Orange Blossom Special

Pop Goes the Weasel
Lightly Row (A Major)
O Come Little Children
Bohemian Folk Song
Gavotte by Becker (book 3)
Seitz 2 III
Orange Blossom Special

Why Group Class?

12115489_1510382669280441_8726356053183715068_nThis past Tuesday marked the 8th of 15 group class meetings for the fall semester of the ’16-’17 school year.  It’s hard to believe how fast the weeks are flying by!  If you’ve been regularly attending group classes – thank you!  We know how hard it can be to make the time to come on a weekday evening.  If you haven’t been coming thus far – start now! Group classes provide a unique and invaluable complement to weekly private lessons.  Here are just a few of the ways that groups benefit your child:

  1. The progress they are making in home practice and private lessons gets to be seen by their peers.  It feels good when your hard work gets noticed, and group classes provide the perfect environment for progress to be noticed and praised.
  2. Likewise, they get to see their peers’ progress.  This is a two-way street.  It’s important for children to learn to be able to identify and praise hard work and developed ability in others.  Simultaneously, seeing others making progress can really motivate children to work hard and see their own progress themselves.
  3. They get stretched beyond their comfort zone.  Home practice is absolutely necessary.  But at home, we can all get in the habit of doing what is comfortable and easy, because things that are comfortable and easy make us feel good.  They make us feel safe.  In group class, we all get stretched a little bit beyond what we’re comfortable with, but in a safe environment.  And there some real growth can happen!
  4. They develop friendships.  Making music together is a uniquely powerful bonding experience, and one that all children deserve the opportunity to enjoy.  When we practice together, we are able to produce something that is “greater than the sum of its parts” in the music we produce.  And in doing that, we produce memories that can last a lifetime.
  5. They learn to play in an ensemble.  Although we can all aspire to, the reality is that most students won’t go on to be the next Itzhak Perlman or Hilary Hahn.  Most us us will do far more playing in groups of various kinds than giving solo recitals.  Therefore, it is important that we all develop the kind of awareness and skills required to actually play well in a group.

So, if you’ve been thinking about coming to group classes, but haven’t committed to doing so yet this school year, it’s never too late to begin!  Come join us on Tuesday nights.  Classes meet from 5:30-8:50 p.m. for all levels of advancement.  Ask your teacher for more information!

Join us at the Colorado Suzuki Institute!

Hello Everyone!Family Hiking Beaver Creek

Kirby and I are excited to announce that we will be returning to the Colorado Suzuki Institute June 12-24, 2017.  The Institute is located in beautiful Beaver Creek, Colorado.  It’s a wonderful place to be during the heat of summer!

More importantly, the Institute is an amazing opportunity to get away from the busyness of life and engage in exceptional musical learning opportunities and quality, restful time with family.  We have more and more students joining us at Institutes each year.  We’d love to have you join us this year!

Sessions run June 12-17 and June 19-24.  You can attend one or the other, or both!  More details will be following throughout the year.