Dr. Shinichi Suzuki was a Japanese violinist and humanitarian. Witnessing the destruction of his homeland due to the Second World War, he formed a vision to help nudge the world toward peace through its children. Through music, Dr. Suzuki hoped to build noble hearts in children all around the world.
With this in mind, we produce an event each year that connects our students from Oak Park and the surrounding areas to the larger world they live in. In previous years, our students helped to raise money through their music for the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the Heartland Alliance’s unaccompanied minor program, Hephzibah Children’s Association., and A House in Austin. Videos of past concerts can be viewed here.
OPSA students and faculty will create a moving concert to include violin students of all ages and levels. In previous years, we performed music from Syria, Lebanon, China, Romania, and more. This year, students will present several of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with a full string ensemble and even a holiday sing-along. Students will join to play music together and hopefully make the world just a little more peaceful and beautiful.
The Early Childhood Collaboration will be the recipient of the funds we raise. In past years, OPSA has raised almost $2,000 for our recipient organizations. We hope to do even better this year! You can make a donation right away!
Our esteemed colleague, Laurie Niles, over at Violinist.com has compiled a very helpful list of links to help you find the official Suzuki recordings made by some of the best artists in the world. As a method based on listening, it is IMPERATIVE that you play the Suzuki recordings as often as possible for you and your child. The most successful students are the ones who LISTEN the most!
Join our Summer Small Group Violin/Viola Lessons for Young Musicians!
Is your child currently learning the violin or viola in school and looking to continue improving their skills over the summer?
We have a fantastic opportunity for them! Join our summer small group classes. Classes start next week, June 20th.
Dates: Tuesdays June 20th, June 27, July 11, July 18, July 25, and August 1 (no class July 4th)
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: Oak Park String Academy 350 Harrison St. Oak Park, IL 60304
Instrument: Violin or Viola
Age group: 4th and 5th graders
Cost: $185 per student for the entire session
Students should bring their current size instrument. Please DO NOT size up until after the first class if needed.
This small group lesson program has been designed to provide young musicians with a supportive and interactive environment where they can develop their skills, enhance their musical understanding, and have fun playing their chosen instrument. The sessions will be led by our highly experienced and dedicated music instructors, who are well-versed in working with students at this stage of their musical journey.
Here are some key features and benefits of the program:
Small Group Setting: By participating in a small group, your child will have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from their peers while receiving personalized attention from the instructor.
Skill Development: Our lessons will focus on building a solid foundation in technique, note-reading, musical expression, and ensemble playing.
Engaging Activities: The lessons will incorporate various engaging activities, games, and exercises to make the learning experience enjoyable and enriching.
Performance Opportunities: On the last day of the session, we will organize a small recital for the students to showcase their progress and boost their confidence.
By enrolling your child in our summer classes, you’re providing them with the opportunity to continue their musical journey and build a strong foundation on the violin or viola.
To enroll your child in this program, please complete this registration form and submit the payment of $185 by June 18.
If you have any questions, or concerns, or require further information about the program, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to assist you and provide any clarification you may need.
We look forward to helping your child grow as a musician this summer!
As we approach the summer season, it’s a great time to explore the many concerts and events happening in Chicago and the surrounding areas.
Taking your child to hear live music is an important part of keeping them motivated and inspired, and there are many wonderful festivals and concerts to choose from.
Attending live performances is an excellent way for students to witness the mastery achieved by high-level performers and to gain valuable insights into the technical details they practice daily. Seeing the dedication and attention to detail that the world’s finest musicians put into their performances can inspire young performers to create their own artistic vision and approach.
We encourage you to take advantage of the many wonderful concerts and festivals coming up this summer.
Here are a few that we recommend:
Grant Park Music Festival: This is one of the biggest and most beloved events of the summer, offering free, outdoor classical music concerts all summer long. We recommend checking out Augustin Hadelich, who is the violinist on the most recent Suzuki book 4-6 recordings, on August 11th and 12th. You can find more information about the festival’s lineup here: https://www.grantparkmusicfestival.com/music/2023-season
Thirsty Ears Festival: This 2-day classical music and street food festival takes place on August 12th and 13th in Chicago near Wilson and Ravenswood. You can find more information about the festival here: https://acmusic.org/events/thirsty-ears-festival-2/
Ravinia Music Festival: North America’s oldest summer festival brings local and international artists of all different genres, including classical and jazz concerts. It’s a great place to bring a picnic basket and eat while listening to music. You can find more information about the festival here: https://www.ravinia.org/Information
We hope you and your child enjoy attending these concerts and festivals and have a wonderful summer filled with music!
It’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed with school schedules as the winter months drag on. The goals we made in January might be overlooked. Or, we are simply in need of a bit of motivation.
Here are some tips on how to stay motivated when it comes to the daily work of music.
When students and parents ask how they can learn things faster I always say listen! It’s like getting at least 3 free lessons. Listen to the current piece or the entire book your child is currently learning, every day, at least 2x. This can be active or passive listening. Listening is the easiest thing to do, but sadly the easiest thing to forget to do as well. For more tips on how to make listening easier to do, please see our January 2, 2022 blog entitled January: Renew your listening habits!
Attend a concert
We are so lucky to live in an area that has an abundance of performing arts right at our fingertips. I guarantee that you can find some type of live performance every single day of the year within 25 miles of your home. Did you know that many professional orchestras have free or heavily discounted tickets for students and children? Please ask your private teacher for input on what you could go see this very weekend. Your very own OPSA teachers perform around the Chicago area regularly–go and see/hear/support their ensembles!
Play for loved ones
There is always someone who will happily listen to your child make music. Put on mini concerts often! Grandparents, neighbors, cousins, and friends are all excellent potential audiences and will love to be a part of your journey. This can be simple, like playing 1 song over Zoom to a far-flung loved one, or a more formal event such as a house concert for family and friends. Consider making and sharing your child’s favorite food after the concert!
Start planning to attend a summer institute.
Every summer there are dozens of Suzuki institutes held across the country. You can find one in practically every state and every week. Suzuki institutes are a fantastic way to get some external motivation that can carry you forward for months to come. You can find different types of institutes based on what works for you and your family. Want a rustic camp-like experience? That institute can be found. Would you prefer more of a resort feel? Or maybe you want to expose your family to what it feels like on a college campus? Want to look at mountains as you practice? All of these things are possible. Please check the Suzuki Association of America’s websiteto find a list of institutes, or speak with your private teacher to get more information on what they recommend.
Seek out creative performance opportunities
Can your child bring their violin to school for a talent show or informal concert? Can they contribute to the music at your place of worship? Do you have loved ones in an assisted living community? Ask if you can bring your child to play during their dinner service. There are many ways to get creative about finding other opportunities to perform.
Do a practice challenge
Commit to practicing every day for a certain length of time. Start with 30 days. Often, 30 days can easily turn into 100 days. If this is working for your child, keep going! It’s possible to keep going for a year or many years once you make the commitment. Don’t assume that this will not work for your family! Keep in mind that while we want to have a focused and productive session most of the time, sometimes we only have 10 minutes. That still counts as practicing! The point is to maintain the habit. Don’t aim for perfection–just do something every day.
While we are all dreaming of warmer days it is time to start thinking of summer Suzuki Institutes!
Many families and teachers look forward to Summer Suzuki Institutes every year! Institutes are events held all around the country (one in almost every state!) where teachers, children, and parents get together to learn and play music together. Held for 1-2 weeks throughout the summer, you and your child will attend master classes with highly experienced and skilled teachers, participate in group classes, and get to hear and participate in concerts and other fun activities such as talent shows or improvisation classes. Each institute has its own unique specialty and flair.
As there are many institute options all over the country (and the world!), some families even plan vacations around institutes in order to travel and get to know new places.
Whether this is your first experience or you are going back every to see old friends, summer institutes are a great way to immerse your child in a week of music, learning, and laughter. The connection and motivation provided by attending a week at a Suzuki institute are worth the time required. Memories, as well as new friends, are made sparking new energy to sustain a family’s practice throughout the school year.
Check out the links below for more about institutes in Illinois and surrounding states. Click here for a full list of Suzuki Institutes. Be sure to let your teacher know as they can help offer lots of useful guidance on selecting, preparing for, and thriving at an institute that’s right for your family.