Suzuki Strings Program FAQs

Please note that this enrollment information is for violin and cello students only. Students interested in Suzuki guitar should contact Dr. Connie Sheu at for more information.

How old must a child be to enter as a beginner in the Suzuki Strings Program?
A child must be at least four years old and no older than six by January 15 to be eligible for the coming fall term. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis if a child is a little older, but never younger, even by a few days or weeks.

Is there an application deadline for beginners?
Yes, January 15 for the coming fall term.

What if my child already studies the violin or cello?
Our beginning Suzuki Strings Program is designed for students who have had no previous violin or cello experience. If your child is currently studying or has previously had private and/or group lessons s/he unfortunately does not qualify for our program. Regardless of age, if your child has had any previous lessons, whether Suzuki or traditional, they are considered a “transfer” student. Parents interested in having their child transfer into our Suzuki program must fill out an Inquiry Form with the Community School Registration Office.

How many spaces are available for the beginning class each year?
On average, we receive 30–60 applications and we are typically able to accept up to 20 students each year.  The number of students accepted each year is determined by teacher availability.

How do I enroll my child?
The first step in the application process is to contact the Community School Registration Office and fill out an Inquiry Form. Please specify your interest in the Suzuki Strings Program. It is important for us to have your complete contact information, including your preferred email.

What happens after I fill out an Inquiry Form?
Parents of beginners, students who have never studied the instrument, will receive an initial email from the Suzuki Strings Program coordinator to confirm that your inquiry has been received and filed in our database.  In January, you will receive another email regarding the steps in the application process. If you do not hear from us by the end of January, please contact the Community School Registration Office. Transfer students, students who have had previous lessons, will be contacted by the String Department Chair regardless of age.

What criteria do you use to select students?
Selection is not based on talent or specific criteria, but all students must go through the application process. Ultimately, the number of students that we can accept is determined by teacher availability and the flexibility of the student’s schedule.

What is your policy on siblings of current Community School Suzuki students and returning applicants?
Siblings of current Community School Suzuki students and returning applicants receive priority consideration when all other factors determining admission are equal. However, we cannot guarantee admission.

What if I have more than one child applying for the Suzuki program?
Occasionally we have twins or siblings applying for the Suzuki program in the same year.  We try to be sensitive to each family’s needs, but it is not always possible to place more than one child in the same year, especially on the same instrument with the same teacher.

If my child was in Colburn’s Early Childhood Program, will s/he have a better chance of getting into the Suzuki program?
The Colburn Early Childhood Music Program prepares students to become active participants in music and the performing arts. The Colburn Early Childhood Music students develop a foundation of musicianship skills that assist them in pursuit of other musical interests, such as studying an instrument, singing in the choral program or participating in dance. Early Childhood Music students may be better prepared to demonstrate their readiness for violin or cello instruction; however, priority is not necessarily given to those students for acceptance into the Suzuki Strings Program.

If my child is not accepted into the Suzuki program’s beginning class, can they still study strings at Colburn?
The Suzuki program is the preferred method of beginning strings study at Community School because our Suzuki faculty specializes in teaching young children. If your child is not accepted into the program, please contact the String Department Chair.

Is there a waitlist?
The Colburn School maintains a database for all inquiries, but there is no waitlist.

What are the main differences between Suzuki and traditional study?
Although many non-Suzuki or “traditional” teachers use some or all of the elements listed below, Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the Suzuki Method, formulated them in a cohesive approach:

  • Suzuki teachers believe that musical ability can be developed in all children.
  • Students begin at young ages.
  • Parents play an active role in the learning process.
  • Children become comfortable with the instrument before learning to read music.
  • Technique is taught in the context of pieces rather than through technical exercises.
  • Pieces are refined through purposeful review.
  • Students perform frequently, individually, and in groups.

Is the Suzuki Method a group method?
The Suzuki Method is not a group method.  Once a student is accepted into the Suzuki program, their curriculum includes private lessons and group classes.

Is it possible for my child to participate in Suzuki group classes if s/he studies with a non-Community School teacher?
Unfortunately, students who study privately with outside instructors may not participate in our Suzuki group classes. However, we do have an orchestra program where both Community School and non-Community School students may audition for participation.


If you have any questions that were not answered above, please email