The Colburn School Community School of Performing Arts Suzuki String Program faq – Frequently Asked Questions about the Suzuki String Program How old must a child be to enter as a beginner in the Suzuki String Program?

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The Colburn School

Community School of Performing Arts

Suzuki String Program

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about the Suzuki String Program
How old must a child be to enter as a beginner in the Suzuki String Program?

A child must be at least 4 years old and no older than 6 by January 15th 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 15th for the coming fall term.

What if my child already studies the violin or cello? 
Please keep in mind that our beginning Suzuki String 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 he/she 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 String Program must fill out an Inquiry Form with the CSPA 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 10 – 20 students each year on violin or cello. 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 CSPA Registration Office and fill out an Inquiry Form. Please specify your interest in the Suzuki String 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 String 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 CSPA Registration Office.
Transfer students, students who have had previous lessons, regardless of age, will be contacted by Richard Schwabe, String Department Chair.
What criteria do you use to select students?
Selection is not based on talent or specific criteria. 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 CSPA Suzuki students and returning applicants?

Siblings of current CSPA 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 he/she 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 String Program.  


If my child is not accepted into the Suzuki String Program’s beginning class, can they still study strings at Colburn?


The Suzuki String Program is the preferred method of beginning string study at CSPA because our Suzuki faculty specializes in teaching young children. If your child is not accepted into the program, please contact Richard Schwabe, String Department Chair at or 213.621.1030.


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 constant review

  • Students perform frequently, individually and in groups


Partially reprinted from  Please visit this website for more information.
Is the Suzuki Method a group method?
The Suzuki Method is not a group method. Once a student is accepted into the Suzuki String Program, their curriculum includes private lessons and group classes.
Is it possible for my child to participate in Suzuki group classes if he/she studies with a non-CSPA 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 CSPA and non-CSPA students may audition for participation.
If you have any questions that were not answered above, please email

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