Suzuki Program

The Suzuki approach was created by Shinichi Suzuki, a Japanese educator. He believed that children are able to excel in music when they learn it in the same, natural way they learned how to speak. Read more about the Suzuki method.

Our Suzuki program includes daily practice, private lessons and group lessons. As a parent, you'll attend lessons to observe and interact with other families. You'll also work with your child on daily practice and listening.

Children may begin Suzuki lessons at about age 4, usually in the fall semester. Before registering, we recommend that you observe a Suzuki lesson and that your child attend our early education class. Admission may also require a brief meeting with you, your child and the teacher to see if the program is a good fit. Contact us to request a meeting.

Parent Orientation

At the beginning of the fall semester, you'll attend two orientation sessions. The sessions are open only to parents of children who will start lessons in the fall or who started the previous summer or spring.

Orientation will teach you how to work with your child and what to do during lessons.

Private Lessons

There are 14 lessons in the fall and spring semesters and six in the summer. The teacher will work with your child on listening skills, posture, rhythm and tone, while you watch and take notes. You may want to use a practice planner (PDF) to keep track of assignments.

Group Lessons

At these one-hour lessons, parents and students enjoy interacting while working on repertoire, technique, reading, theory, music history and ensemble skills. Group lessons take place in the fall and spring semesters. There are four group lessons for piano and seven for violin, cello and guitar.


Each year, we hold a workshop for Suzuki students. It is free for students enrolled in the NIU Suzuki program. Other Suzuki students may attend for a small fee. The workshop includes master classes, musical activities and a performance.

Other Events

  • Strings first-night picnic: Violin, cello and guitar families are invited to a fall picnic and group play-in.
  • Recitals: Students may participate in end-of-the-semester recitals. Check our calendar for upcoming dates.


The Suzuki Program runs during the fall and spring semesters. Registration information will be forthcoming.



Marilyn Montzka


Ann Montzka Smelser
Laurie Rodriguez


Eric Schroeder


Thomas Cappaert

Your fee includes the cost of private and group lessons. For violin and cello students, the fee also includes the cost of piano accompanists at group lessons and recitals.

Fall Only/Spring Only
14 Private Lessons and Groups

Level 30 Min 45 Min 60 Min
Associate Violin/Guitar/Cello $528 $732 $936
Associate Piano $478 $682 $886
Faculty Violin $622 $873 $1,124

Fall and Spring Semesters
28 Private Lessons and Groups

Level 30 Min 45 Min 60 Min
Associate Violin/Guitar/Cello $1,056 $1,464 $1,872
Associate Piano $956 $1,364 $1,772
Faculty Violin $1,244 $1,746 $2,248