Following the philosophy of the world renowned pedagogue and humanitarian Shin’ichi Suzuki, the faculty at the Western Springs School of Talent Education and the Naperville Suzuki School have been enriching the lives of children through the study of music for forty-four years. We strive to function as an anti-racist organization, both as a community of people and as an institution, through our practices inside and outside of the classroom.
The Western Springs School of Talent Education and the Naperville Suzuki School enjoy a reputation for excellence that is well-known throughout the world. Our schools offer instruction in violin, viola, and cello. Our teaching follows the philosophy and principles of the world renowned pedagogue, Shinichi Suzuki. The Suzuki approach deals with much more than teaching a child how to play an instrument. It seeks to develop the whole child, to help unfold his natural potential to learn and become a good and happy person.
Our faculty is comprised of highly trained professional musicians who have selected Suzuki teaching as their chosen profession. All faculty have a bachelor’s degree in music performance or music education and are extensively trained in the Suzuki method. Many of our faculty hold the master of music performance degree with emphasis in Suzuki pedagogy.
In addition to teaching young children, the school is also a national training center for teachers who wish to learn how to teach the Suzuki method. Our faculty includes three of the country’s leading teacher trainers. Teachers travel from as far away as Europe and South America to study and observe lessons at our schools.
The school supports three performance ensembles. Cellisimo is comprised of the most advanced Cello students from our program. Under the direction of Director Sally Gross, Cellisimo was recently chosen to perform for the National Conference of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Our intermediate violin ensemble is called Allegro!!! They perform a completely unique multimedia presentation consisting of live music, choreography, costumes, lighting and video visual effects. The Allegro show has performed for thousands, delighting audiences throughout the United States, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. The Chicago Consort is a touring group of 30 of the most advanced students from the school. The Chicago Consort has performed all across the United states, Canada, Europe and China.
The school also offers many appropriate performance opportunities during the school year for all students from the newest beginner to most virtuoso performers. The Solo recitals take place each semester and large group concerts occur in the fall and spring.
All of our students have two lessons a week. A private lesson allows each child to progress at his or her own pace. The group class offers the opportunity to review the skills learned in the private lesson while adding the important ensemble skills necessary to perform with others. The group class also adds the social aspect of making music with other children.
When children start their lessons at an early age, a parent participates by attending lessons, taking notes and practicing with the child at home. We teach the children to play by ear at first, allowing the student to focus on posture, tone, intonation and musicality. The important skill of reading music is added to the curriculum after the basic skills of playing the instrument are mastered. Many of the students who graduate from our program do choose to go into music and they have gone on to study at the major conservatories in this country. But that is not the primary goal. What we hope to achieve with our music instruction is the ability to do something extremely well.
Music is an art form. If the students bring that art form to a very high level, it will affect everything else they do. Parents tell us all the time that since their child has learned to struggle with difficult tasks in music instruction, that carries over into their school work and all of their other life activities. Children who grow up in an environment that is rich in music will be able to develop musical skills. What we hope to achieve in our music instruction is to instill in all children a love of music and to develop a beautiful heart.The purpose of Suzuki training is not to produce great artists, but to help every child find the joy that comes through music making. Through the Suzuki growing process, children thrive in a total environment of support; they develop confidence and positive self esteem, determination to try difficult things, self-discipline and concentration, as well as a lasting enjoyment of music, and the sensitivity and skill for making music.