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Suzuki Talent Education of Appalachia celebrates 65th year in Kingsport

February 9th, 2012 1:20 pm by Staff Report

Suzuki Talent Education of Appalachia celebrates 65th year in Kingsport

The local Suzuki program has approximately 55 students, ranging in age from three to 71.

Kingsport’s Suzuki Talent Education of Appalachia (STEA) will celebrate the program’s 65th year in Kingsport this fall.


Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki developed this method of learning to play music based on his belief that music is best learned using the "mother-tongue approach." He applied the concept of learning to talk to musical instruction and developed a method that promotes learning to play an instrument as early as age three. Parent involvement, loving encouragement and constant repetition are key components of learning to play the Suzuki way.


The local Suzuki program has approximately 55 students, ranging in age from three to 71. Every other Monday evening, students are invited to join "group" play, where they form a circle and play together. Shubha Chatra and her two sons, Nikhil and Nihal, are all three students at STEA. Shubha started taking lessons after she saw how quickly her sons learned and how much enjoyment they received from playing the violin.


"Playing has become a stress buster for me," Shubha said. "When I play, it really helps lift my mood."


The Suzuki method focuses on teaching the student to "hear" the music first before learning to read music.


"This is a neat method of teaching music," explained instructor Catherine McGlasson. "You listen to the music first before ever starting to play and it helps train your ears to hear the notes."


The Parent/Student/Teacher pyramid is also essential to Suzuki instruction.


"Parents play an integral part of the instruction. They are encouraged to attend class and work with their child at home," McGlasson said.


The Kingsport Suzuki program is housed in the Renaissance Center and has four teachers providing instruction in violin, viola and piano. Teachers include McGlasson, Jane MacMorran, Rachael Emery and Jeri Paolini, all of whom have master’s degrees in music and have been trained in the Suzuki Method of musical instruction. Emery is the latest addition and grew up taking violin lessons in the Kingsport Suzuki program. After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin, Emery was invited to join the program as a teacher.


STEA is a non-profit organization, dedicated to teaching and promoting the Suzuki method. Space is available for new students. For more information, call 423-246-1367 or visit the website at http://www.steamusic.org/.

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