The Colburn Strings Department offers violin, cello, and guitar instruction in the Suzuki method, as well as traditional instruction in violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, and harp. With both instructional approaches, our preeminent faculty members provide exceptional guidance tailored to the individual needs of each student.
Suzuki Method Instruction
Private Traditional Instruction
Cello Choir I and II
Violin Sight Reading and Musicianship I and II
String Workshops I and II for Violin, Viola, and Cello
Violin Sonatas for Advanced Students
The Suzuki method, founded by Japanese violinist Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, rests on the philosophy that every child is born with musical ability that can be nurtured and developed to a high level. This teaching method involves parent participation both in lessons and daily practices at home, and requires a major commitment of time. Children ages four through six may begin study when they display a readiness to accept instruction. For frequently asked questions about the Suzuki Strings Program for violin and cello, visit this page.
The Suzuki Guitar Program is directed by Dr. Connie Sheu, a classical guitarist with over 10 years of experience teaching Suzuki guitar. A weekly private lesson ensures that students are progressing at their own pace and has targeted practice goals at home. In addition to lessons, group instruction provides weekly opportunities to develop ensemble skills and reinforce proper technique on the instrument.
Suzuki guitar is open to students ages five and older. Interested students should submit an inquiry form.
Private lessons are 30, 45, or 60 minutes, depending on what the instructor determines. These sessions enable teachers to develop individualized lesson plans based on a student’s needs.
If you’re interested in enrolling in private lessons, please fill out our online inquiry form.
Through repertoire that ranges from classical, jazz, and pop, guitar students from age 6-adult develop the three essential techniques for a comprehensive mastery of the guitar: strumming, arpeggiation, and single-line.
With over 45 years of teaching experience, guitar faculty member Kenton Youngstrom has compiled a unique collection of pieces that develops technical fluency using three forms of music notation: standard, tablature and chord symbols. In addition, students in group guitar classes learn about improvisation, practical music theory and get inside knowledge about how to play in various ensembles. The classes progress from Guitar I, II, III, IV and culminate with Guitar Ensemble.
Taught by Carey Beth Hockett, these classes are specially designed for online delivery. Classes are limited to 8 students who must have a good internet connection, a smart phone or tablet and earbuds or headphones, and a working printer.
The content will include:
The groups will be divided by age and level. All students must have the approval of their private lesson teachers to enroll. An audition to assess playing and reading levels may be required.
Interested students should submit an inquiry form.
Weekly on Wednesdays, 6–6:40 pm
3rd grade; must be eight years old by September 1, 2020
Students should have experience playing in the lower positions and the ability to read simple rhythms in first position in the keys of C, G, and C major.
Recommended Level of Playing Scherzo, C. Webster (Suzuki Vol. 3) and ability to read simple rhythms in first position
Weekly on Tuesdays, 6–6:50 pm
Minimum Age Requirements
6th grade; must be 11 years old by September 1, 2020
Students need to have experience playing from 1st through 7th positions and the ability to read dotted rhythms and compound time.
Recommended Level of Playing
W.H. Squire, Danse Rustique
Two sections divided by age, level, and experience
Designed for Community School Suzuki violinists, this course will give an introduction into the early stages of sight reading, violin theory, and musicianship as well a general overview of the basics of orchestral skills (learning proper violin posture when seated with a music stand and how to read and mark a music score). There will be several small group projects in addition to basic composition exercises. Due to the online nature of the course, this class will highlight the strengths of remote learning through visual aids (Zoom screen sharing) and video playback.
Audition for placement and private teacher’s approval are required. Space is limited to eight students per section.
Weekly on Wednesdays, 40 minutes, time TBD
Recommended Minimum Level of Playing
Dvořák: Humoresque (Suzuki Vol. 3)
Auditions for the 2020–21 academic year are no longer being accepted. Interested students should submit an inquiry.
Please record yourself playing any two or three octave scale and a solo piece of choice. Upload the video to YouTube and share the link in the application form. Private teacher’s approval required for registration in this class.
Online Submission Instructions
Workshops will be instrument specific and comprised of students with similar playing levels. These online classes will give students the feeling of community while providing them with the necessary skills that will enable them to evaluate and analyze their own musical progress, allow them to become more effective and creative when practicing, raise their level of musical awareness and expectations, and be able to take charge of their own learning.
Topics will include:
Audition for placement and private teacher’s approval are required. Workshops will be limited to 8–10 students per class.
Weekly on Wednesdays, 50 minutes, time TBD
Participants must study privately, have solid technique and intermediate reading skills, and be able to focus during online instruction. Previous group participation or ensemble experience required.
Minimum Age Requirement
5th grade; must be 10 years old by September 1, 2020
Recommended Minimum Level of Playing
Violin: Concerto in A Minor, A. Vivaldi
Viola: Bourrée, J.S. Bach
Cello: Sonata in C Major, J.B. Breval
Participants must study privately, have solid technique and advanced reading skills, and be able to focus during online instruction. Previous group participation or ensemble experience required.
Recommended Minimum Level of Playing
Violin: Sonata in F Major, G.F. Handel
Viola: Concerto in G Major, G.P. Telemann
Cello: Danse Rustique, W.H. Squire
Auditions for the 2020–21 academic year for both String Workshops for will be held through an online submission, starting on July 19. Submissions can be made through the application below. The application will close at 11:59 pm PT on August 3. Applications submitted after the deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Please note that all submissions are timestamped. Once classes reach their maximum capacity with qualified students, submissions will be closed to further applications.
Please record yourself playing the required excerpts, scale and solo piece (click on the link for your instrument) Upload the video to YouTube and share the link in the application form below. Note: Private teacher’s written approval will be required for registration in this class.
Violin: Audition Information and Excerpts
Viola: Audition Information and Excerpts
Cello: Audition Information and Excerpts
Designed for upper-level violin students, this 90-minute class will focus on learning the sonata repertoire, with a minimum of two Mozart and two Beethoven sonatas, as well a sonata by Brahms, Franck, and Prokofiev. In addition to technical details about performing the various sonatas, students will learn about the histories of the composers and the individual works. After listening to various recordings, students will discuss different performance styles and choices in order to come to a deeper appreciation of the music and help inform their own performance choices.
Must have instructor approval to enroll.
As skills advance, students can supplement private lessons with group instruction through different classes and ensemble experiences. Visit our ensembles page for more information.
Aspiring musicians can enhance their music education by observing others perform, including watching technical skills and proper performance etiquette. We always welcome students to attend any of our free performances at the Colburn School. Performance opportunities include Studio Recitals, Friday Night Recitals, School Recitals, and Honors Recitals. For more information, visit Performance Opportunities.