January: Renew your Listening Habits!

January: Renew your Listening Habits!

Dr. Suzuki says to start with 6 hours a day…


How are those listening habits going? Are you listening *every day*? Have you figured out HOW your family prefers to listen–spotify? amazon music? itunes? On your child’s device? Your own phone? etc….

If you have fallen off of the Suzuki family listening habit wagon, you’re not alone–it happens to the best of us. But not for long! And we ALWAYS regroup and improve!

Here are 4 things to consider when trying to up your listening game.

  • It is *your* responsibility as the parent of a music student to make the listening happen. Don’t leave it up to the child. Whether your child is a 5-year-old beginner or a 14-year-old learning major violin concertos…turn on the music in the house! It only needs to be in the background and it needs to be on regularly so it becomes a part of their day.


  • Do you hear the music they are studying or are about to study? Make sure *you* hear these pieces as well. It will be enjoyable for you as a music parent to be able to recognize your child’s pieces and to hear whether they are improving and sounding like the recording…or not.  Don’t use headphones for your child for this particular listening. This listening should be done through a Bluetooth speaker of decent quality. Here is the one we use in my house.  We have two–one upstairs and one downstairs.


  • Speaking of technology….HOW do you listen? If we believe that music is a language (and we do!), then we must acknowledge that it needs to be heard and constantly present in our child’s environment regularly in order to be absorbed by their ears and therefore contribute to their learning process. While I have feelings about how the International Suzuki Association chooses to distribute (or rather, NOT distribute) the official recordings (newly recorded by the AMAZING Hilary Hahn!!), we can find ways to make this easy in our modern-day life.
           Here are a few ways:


  • Finding these links and downloading is only the first step in the process of setting up a successful (read: regular and frequent) listening practice for our child. The next step is connecting these downloads to a device that will play to a Bluetooth speaker. In our house, we have Spotify on every device. Anyone can connect their device (a parent’s phone, a sitter’s phone, a child’s iPad or other device) to the upstairs or downstairs Bluetooth speaker and get listening going this way. I come down in the morning and turn it on first thing when the kids come into the kitchen.
Happy Listening!
Give the Gift of Music

Give the Gift of Music


Climate change…

Experience gift…


…many great reasons to give the gift of music lessons this season!


At OPSA, our specialty is beginning children on their musical journey around the age of 5 or 6 years old. If you have a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or other loved one around this age, consider offering music lessons with OPSA as a gift this year. We have a fantastic music program that starts children out in both a private violin lesson as well as a group lesson. The ability and opportunity to make music with friends is truly the gift of a lifetime. Attending concerts where you can see all of the skills that your little one has developed through music will be such a thrill! With our Equitable Tuition Program, music lessons are accessible to all. Contact us today to inquire about our combined program of private lessons and group classes and to learn about class schedules. Now, enjoy this video of some of our current students performing in our annual benefit concert from December of 2019.

Acapella App Fun

Acapella App Fun

What do your OPSA teachers do when they can’t perform with others during a pandemic??

They create their own music… with themselves!

Enjoy this recent fun that Meg Lanfear (OPSA founder, director, and violin teacher) had with the App Acapella.

SAA: Parents as Partners Online

SAA: Parents as Partners Online

Need support for practicing with your child? Yes, please!

Ever wonder…how can we….?

…make practice more fun? …more positive? …more productive?

Every year, the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) hosts an online event called Parents as Partners. This is a video conference, essentially, that allows you access to some of the most creative minds in the Suzuki Community. Teachers, parents, and even some Suzuki teens participate in this online video event that provides ideas, support, and future fuel for your continued successful Suzuki journey.

Each Monday for 10 weeks, at least five short videos will be aired with accompanying audio only format, and transcripts as well. Once posted, all talks will be available online through December 15, 2020. Check out the Suzuki Association’s website for more information. 

Tip: On the page linked above, there is a GREAT video by my colleague, Suzuki violin and viola teacher, Sarah Bylander Montzka and it includes so many fun practice tips! Enjoy!


Oak Park String Academy at Unity Temple December 14, 2019

Oak Park String Academy at Unity Temple December 14, 2019

OP String Academy Advanced Violinists to perform this Saturday, December 14, 7p at Unity Temple.

Unity Temple Restoration Foundation presents its 2019-20 Chamber Music Series with artistic directors MingHuan Xu and Winston Choi. All performances are at 875 Lake Street, Oak Park.  This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Oak Park Area Arts Council, and the Alphawood Foundation.

As part of this new concert series, students of OPSA will join forces with Chicago Consort of Western Springs for a beautiful holiday concert. Come and hear them this Saturday at 7p at the beautifully restored Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple in Oak Park. Tickets and more about this concert series at: https://www.utrf.org/event/holiday-concert/

Tickets for this concert are $30 for general admission or $25 for members. Season passes for all 6 shows are available for $105 or $90 for members. Or buy the Unity Chamber Music Series AND Henry Fogel Presents at the 19th Century Club combined season pass (10 shows) for $200 or $175 for members!


OPSA at unity temple

Chicago Consort in Western Springs