SuzNews Vol. 10.4 | April 3, 2020
Our Suzuki community offers an encouraging atmosphere to 
nurture every child's full potential and love for music .
News from your National Capital Suzuki School of Music
A Message from our Board of Directors
*first published in Tuesday March 31st school email

Hello SuzukiMusic friends,

I hope this message finds you and your family home, happy, and healthy.  As we all find ways to deal with daily updates, emails like this one, and a whole range of feelings, I’ve been struck more than ever by both the capacity of music to calm, and by the power of togetherness—even in isolation. We are so blessed to find both here in our incredible musical community.

Earlier this week, the SuzukiMusic Board of Directors met online to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown on that community.

Individual Lessons
We are pleased to report that all teachers have moved to offering private lessons via video conference. Thank you to each of them for their eagerness to adapt and to accommodate. And thank you to each of you for your patience as we continue to iron out any issues. We are thankful that our children are comforted by the routine of these online lessons and the familiarity of their teacher’s friendly face.

At a time when so many artists and performers are feeling the pinch of closed venues and cancelled gigs, it is even more important than ever for society to support them. To that end, it’s wonderful that our teachers are still able to teach our students and to earn at least a portion of their expected income.

Group Classes & Enrichment
It will come as no surprise that we will not be able to meet in-person for the remainder of our group classes; schools are still closed. Facing this reality and, under the guidance of our Artistic Director Keite Gularte, our group class and enrichment teachers are excitedly planning alternative group class activities for the coming weeks. More information will come soon, but be ready to play and to learn in some exciting new ways. In preparation for this, it is important that all families pay close attention to SuzukiMusic emails and connect to our social media accounts ( Facebook Instagram , and  YouTube ). I really encourage you to embrace this adapted plan by getting your children to participate actively in the activities that will be presented. I’m sure they can all use the diversion!

VIVA and Kiwanis
As a school, we typically look forward to celebrating the musical year with our annual VIVA Suzuki performance. Unfortunately, this year’s event is cancelled. The Kiwanis Music Festival has also cancelled all ensemble classes for this year.

Moving Forward
We have not yet made any decisions on the format of end-of-year recitals or the possibility of running our summer program. If we are, in fact, able to offer Summer Camp, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a return to normalcy than by attending a week of musical fun with friends! More on that in the coming weeks.

Volunteer Hours Commitment
Thank you to those who have fulfilled their volunteer commitment by helping with Saturday classes and the many other events we’ve enjoyed this year. All remaining volunteer requirements have been waived for this school year. If you would like to donate your volunteer cheque to help with the school’s operations in this difficult time, please contact  Liko  to let her know. You will, of course, get a tax receipt for this donation. Thank you to those of you who are able to do this. If you are not in this position, you don’t need to do anything; your cheque will be returned to you.

Can We Help?
If anyone is facing particular hardships and could use a hand, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We will do whatever we can to help make sure the SuzukiMusic family remains strong and gets through this together.

On behalf of the Board and the Faculty, we'd like to thank you once more for your patience and participation. We send out a special message of gratitude to any parents working in Essential services.

We look forward to making music with you again. Soon.

Take care,

Graydon Miles
President of the Board
National Capital Suzuki School of Music

SuzukiMusic Olympics 2020
This year's school theme is working together in the Olympic Spirit.

Although our world has changed since we initiated this theme and the 2020 Olympics has been postponed to 2021 we would like to wrap up our Olympic theme with a challenge you can do at home.

Introducing the 52 days of Practice Challenge!

From Saturday April 4 to Friday May 29th (54 days) we challenge you to practice 52 days. Fifty-two is the number of modern day Olympics that our world has celebrated.

In addition to practicing 52 days we have a 10 question trivia sheet for you to fill out.

If you practice all 52 days and fill out your trivia sheet you will receive a certificate. Simply email Susan at when you are done and she will send it to you.

AND if you bring your completed practice sheet and trivia sheet to the first group class of our 2020-2021 school year you can

a) pick up a free bag of gummies or a rice krispie square at our snack table and
b) have your name entered into a draw for a 20$ Indigo Gift Card.

Happy practicing!

Download the practice chart and trivia sheet here:

Family and Friends Cabin Fever Edition
One of our favourite events of the school year is the Family and Friends Concert. This special concert was supposed to take place this coming Sunday April 5th. Sadly we cannot get together as a community to share this musical event this year.

Instead, we are planning an online concert video.

Grab members of your family and decide on a piece to play together.
Record it and email Susan at to let her know you are ready to share your recording.
Susan will give you a dropbox link for you to upload your video to.
Susan will then compile all the recordings into one concert video.

This video will be shared with our community via unlisted Youtube video link. We will be sharing the link through our weekly email and the link will NOT be posted on our social media platforms. No student or family names will be shared throughout the concert video.

If you were planning on doing a performance with friends who are not living with you you have some options:
  1. Meet on Zoom or FaceTime and have a parent record you as you each alternate lines of the piece you planned to play together.
  2. If you or your parent has the technical skill, you can each record your part separately and merge the parts. This would take skill and planning and would be an interesting challenge for older students.
  3. See if someone in your family can play your friend's part.
  4. Submit separate solos of your parts and we will put them back to back on the video.
  5. Save your piece for next year's live, in person, Family and Friends concert.

Deadline for Video submission: Friday April 17th.
Video link will be shared on Friday April 24th.
Music Lessons Continue
We are proud of our SuzukiMusic community for making the switch to Online Lessons during this unique and unsettling time. We hope your children are motivated by and comforted by their weekly connection with their teacher.
Sneak Peek - Updated Branding
Over the past few years the Board has been working with volunteers to update our branding and our website. James Hale joined our Board in January of 2018 when he was working for MacMillan Publishing. He and a team from MacMillan worked Pro-Bono to update our Branding and begin the work of a new website. Unfortunately due to restructuring at MacMillan that November the team could no longer work on our project for us. Over the first half of 2019 some of the members of the initial team continued to do work on the re-branding and handed over the files to us last Fall. At that time a talented and knowledgeable SuzukiMusic parent, Graham Ashford, migrated the new look onto a test website for us. Now Susan Wooltorton is populating that website with the information we need and Graham continues to work on the design. Our goal is to be able to unveil the new website in time for our May SuzNews and to have T-shirts and other merchandise with our fresh new logo ready for families to purchase in the Fall of 2020.
Because we will not be able to gather as a community for the foreseeable future our VivaSuzuki fundraising is cancelled for this year.

Some of you have come forward with requests to donate to our school. We are fortunate to have such a caring SuzukiMusic community and your offers mean so much.

If you have already gathered pledges and/or would like to donate to our music school during this challenging time you can do so using this PayPal link or by sending an e-transfer to
You do not need to have a PayPal account to use the link to donate.
If you decide to use the e-transfer method please alert Liko to this by emailing .

All donations are eligible for a charitable donation receipt.

We thank you for continued support of our music school and we understand that many families are significantly impacted financially by the Covid pandemic and that giving is not an option at this time.

Upcoming Events
Family and Friends Concert Cabin Fever Edition
Submissions due Friday April 17th
Concert Video link release Friday April 24th.

Solo Recitals

For updated details,
Parent Education Corner
Practicalities of Online Lessons, for Students and Parents
By Claire Allen

See full article here: Full Article

With online lessons becoming a reality for so many people, here are some practical considerations to help you make the transition. I've included separate lists for students and parents -- of equipment you'll need, how to arrange your lesson space, what non-musical and musical items to have on hand, and how to change your mindset to make it all work. With a little preparation, you can create a lesson space that helps you feel connected and allows you to keep making good progress.

What Students Need For Taking Online Lessons
  1. A designated learning space (usually where they ordinarily practice), as distraction-free as possible and where the rest of the household knows not to bother them or make extra noise while the lesson is happening. (Within reason). They should be able to see the teacher on the screen and their music at the same time, without extra contortions of the body needed.
  2. A reliable device, such as a computer with a camera, tablet, or smart phone. I encourage students to use a bigger screen than their phone, if one is available. The more clearly they can see the teacher, the better!
  3. A power source for that device, or for the device to be fully charged when the lesson starts.
  4. Somewhere to set the device.
  5. Access to the video calling platform(s) that their teacher is using.
  6. Audio. Headphones might be helpful to block out distractions at home (be sure to practice playing with them on before your teacher calls), or a speaker with better quality sound can enhance the experience.
  7. Practice. This goes for in-person lessons too. If you haven’t practiced or prepared for the lesson, then a video lesson of “Play it again. No, again. Again” isn’t going to be fun for anyone. Check and doublecheck the assignment sheet, and make sure you have worked on everything your teacher is expecting to hear.
  8. All their music materials within arms’ reach.
  10. A metronome (it works much better for the student to have the metronome on their side, rather than the teacher)
  11. The notebook or blank practice chart 
  12. A back-up plan. What will you do if your device fails or the internet goes out during the lesson? My best recommendation is to video yourself playing the rest of your lesson assignments, then email it to your teacher with any questions you had. The point of a music lesson is to get information from your teacher so you can learn, so while having them speak that information to you might be your preference, you can still receive the benefit of your teacher’s expertise.

What Parents Can Do to Prepare Themselves and their Children For Online Lessons
  1. Mindset. Cultivate a mindset of curiosity and exploration - let them know this is going to help them learn and be an exciting new adventure! If they have heard doubts or negativity from the parent in advance of the lesson, they will be much less likely to cooperate and their minds will be closed going in.
  2. Preparation. Read your teacher’s directions for online lessons really carefully and prepare everything in advance. Test your lesson area set up with all devices, audio, internet connections, etc.
  3. Practice. This goes for in-person lessons too. If your child hasn’t practiced or prepared for the lesson, then a video lesson of “Play it again. No, again. Again” isn’t going to be fun for anyone. Check and doublecheck the assignment sheet, and make sure your child has practiced everything on it.
  4. Learn to tune your child’s instrument or help them tune it themselves. There’s a great guide on that helps beginner parents demystify the tuning process. Watch this well in advance of your first online lesson and be prepared to start the tuning process before your lesson time.
  5. Decide with your child who is taking notes and marking the music during the lesson, and how it will be done. Print out any assignment sheets the teacher has sent for you to use. Send PDFs or photos of previous assignments to the teacher before the lesson for them to see.
  6. Teach your child how to operate the metronome (or be prepared to operate it themselves).
  7. Prepare a back-up plan in case the technology fails on one end or another. Please don’t email your teacher demanding a make-up online lesson or push for them to go over their time with you (making them late for another student) if your device fails. The point of your child’s lesson is for them to get information from their teacher about their learning. Can you video the rest of their lesson and upload it unlisted to YouTube so your teacher can watch it later? Do you have burning questions about practice that didn’t get answered? Those can probably be done via email. Have back-up plans ready, and be ready to be flexible. 
  8. Openness to learning in new ways. The primary function of a music lesson is to communicate information! That information can still be communicated in multiple ways via video calls, written instructions, and pre-recorded videos. Be open to this new process, support your teacher (know that they are terrified of losing their income if you quit because you hate online lessons), and encourage your children to be focused and engaged. After the lesson, ask them what they learned and have them tell you all about it (even if you were there) to help their memories grow stronger. (This is a great thing to do after regular lessons, too!)

Claire Allen
Teaching Artist at Mason Community Arts Academy in Fairfax, Virginia. Learn more on my website at .

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