Suzuki Program

The Suzuki approach was created by Shinichi Suzuki, a Japanese educator. He believed that children can 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. Parents 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 Orientations 2021-2022

At the beginning of the fall semester, you'll attend two orientation sessions. The sessions are designed for 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.

Parent orientation meetings take place Sept. 9, Sept. 30 and Jan. 20 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom.

Private Lessons

Suzuki students attend 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 2021-2022

At these 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 seven group lessons for violin, cello and guitar.

Violin, Cello and Guitar Group Schedule

Groups meet Thursdays. Every student attends a group class between 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

  • Fall: September 23, October 7 and 21, November 4 and 18, December 2 and 9.
  • Spring: January 27, February 10 and 24, March 10 and 31, April 14 and 28.


The Suzuki Program runs during the fall and spring semesters.

Registration Form


Teachers with a symbol are available to teach in-person lessons only. Teachers with a symbol are available to teach online lessons only. Teachers without a symbol can do both.


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
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
Faculty Violin $1,244 $1,746 $2,248

Workshops and Events

Contact Us

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Office of External Programs

Music Building 132

Kristin Sherman

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Online Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(lunch from noon – 1 p.m.)

To protect the safety of our staff, students and families, we will operate remotely until further notice. Our staff will be available at their remote offices during normal NIU business hours and can be contacted via phone or email.

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