On December 10, 2015, Woodlake Elementary School held its Winter Concert for Suzuki Strings. In St. Tammany Parish, we are fortunate that students have the opportunity to learn how to play the violin, viola, cello, or string bass through the Suzuki Strings Program. At my school, we had close to 100 students register for the program this year, and all of the students chose to play the violin.
The strings program is based on the Suzuki Method where Dr. Suzuki believed the process for learning to play an instrument is similar to the process for language development. In the method, parental involvement is a key ingredient where the teacher, parent, and the child work as one to help the child’s musical ability grow. At the beginning of the school year, the students have the opportunity to register for the program. Then, students attend small group lessons based on ability levels once a week for thirty minutes.
As the students began to arrive for the concert, I loved seeing the kids dressed in their concert attire. From getting instruments tuned to setting up the music stands, there was a great flurry of activity as everyone got ready for the concert to begin. Our program for the concert began with the more advanced students playing. As the concert progressed, more children began to play with everyone playing by the end. Although I enjoyed all of the songs, “Jingle Bells” was my favorite. The students played the song twice, and we asked the audience to sing along during the second time. As I saw the happy expressions of the audience and the violinists, I knew we were “making spirits bright”.
While we wanted to celebrate the students’ progress, our main goal for the concert was to provide a positive experience for performing in front of an audience. With each performance, the children become more comfortable and gain confidence in their abilities. Thank you to all of those at Woodlake Elementary School and the families of our students for helping to make this a wonderful experience for our little pelicans!