CCM: Prep

CCM: Prep


The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Preparatory Suzuki program offers classes in this acclaimed musical learning system in piano, violin, vola and cello, and taught by trained Suzuki faculty.

Is Suzuki Right for My Child ?

Suzuki study provides a fulfilling, enriching musical experience and an opportunity for parent and child to share a wonderful musical journey. The Suzuki philosophy, developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998), is based on how children learn to speak their native language. Suzuki’s ideas grew out of a friendship with Albert Einstein, who believed in music’s ability to create community among people of differing backgrounds. Instruction is based on the language model:  students learn through listening, rote learning, and repetition; beginning with small, manageable steps. Students learn to read music when they have attained basic instrumental skills.

The success of The Suzuki Method relies on the “Teaching Triangle” of respect among the teacher, student and parent. Parental involvement, support, and encouragement enable young students to progress at their own pace with confidence. Suzuki students often perform at professional levels, though Suzuki’s goal was not to create child prodigies. Suzuki believed that through music, one could nurture loving beings. You can read a brief history of Suzuki and the educator's 10 Keys here.

The Suzuki faculty at the UC-CCM Preparatory Department have taken specialized training in The Suzuki Method and follow a curriculum created by the Suzuki Association of America. 

Children may begin Suzuki instruction as young as 4 years old. The CCM Prep program includes weekly individual lessons, group classes, ensemble playing, and performances within the community and at CCM. 

Before You Start

In order to make the most of the program, families are expected to make a commitment to the process.

  • The parent or parents should read Nurtured by Love, by Shinichi Suzuki (Miami: Warner Brothers, ©1983. ISBN: 0-87487-584-6) to learn about the Suzuki philosophy and teaching approach. Parents are encouraged to discuss any questions with the teacher prior to beginning lessons.
  • The parent or parents must observe a lesson and group class. The teacher will invite you to specific lessons and classes. Please ask the teacher whether or not it is all right to bring your child (the potential student). Each instructor has his or her own procedure for this.

Once the decision has been made to begin lessons, the parent registers and pays through the CCM Preparatory Department. One parent (or adult representative) must commit to being the “Suzuki parent.” This parent will:

  • attend and take notes at all lessons and group classes
  • practice daily with the child at home
  • facilitate the child’s participation in recitals.

Some teachers require parents to take several lessons by themselves first, before their children begin lessons. Even if the teacher does not require it, parents may request this option in order to feel comfortable helping the child at home right from the beginning.

Will These Expectations Fit into Your Family Life ?

Building the “Suzuki Triangle” requires constant reinforcement and parent involvement, and parents should be certain they would not prefer one of the traditional alternatives also offered at CCM Prep. Child-care arrangements during lessons should be made for siblings, and cell phones and other potential distractions are discouraged. Please notify the teacher if you are expecting an emergency phone call.

To relieve frustration and stress, avoid overscheduling your child. For school-age children, one additional activity is the recommended limit. Practice daily, and only what the teacher assigns. One parent only is designated the "Suzuki parent." Switching parents or sending a different person to the lessons is contrary to the Suzuki Philosophy.

This parent and child must commit to attending lessons, classes and performances.  Each one serves a distinct purpose in the child’s development, reinforces concepts, and allows us to celebrate achievements. Parents should read the articles and books suggested by the teacher, attend parent talks to get help and new perspectives, and connect with other  Suzuki parents. Experienced Suzuki parents provide a great resource for navigating any bumps along the way.


Missed Lessons: We follow the CCM Music Preparatory make up lesson policy. Every student is allowed one make-up lesson per session, provided they e-mail (not text or call) the teacher 24 hours prior to the intended missed lesson. Out of respect for the teacher’s time and devotion to the students, please do not ask for a makeup lesson if the absence falls outside of these parameters.

Group-Class Policy and Etiquette: The success of group classes depends on everyone being in attendance at every class. Students and parents should:

  • Arrive on time
  • Stay for the entire class
  • Do not bring students when they are ill
  • Refrain from talking to other parents in the rehearsal room
  • Turn off all cell phone/pagers during lessons and group classes
  • Participate actively and provide undistracted support

Practicing: In Suzuki, one parent is designated the Suzuki practicing parent. This parent attends all lessons and group classes, and practices at home with the child. The practicing parent must work together with the child.  Excelling at musical study is not rocket science; it simply takes regular, committed practice time. This means sitting down with the child and working through the assignments given in the private lesson. Effective practice entails:

  • Establishing a daily, uninterrupted home practice schedule
  • Helping the child commit to the schedule
  • Working only on the assigned materials

Ineffective practices could include:

  • Cooking or doing chores while the child practices in the next room
  • Answering the phone, using the computer, etc, during the practice session
  • Using substitutes for the practicing parent (the other parent, a nanny, babysitter, etc)

We prefer that one parent be responsible for the class, as each lesson builds from the last. New techniques are easy so long as old ones stay easy. It is easier for the parent to notice these things when he or she attends all lessons.

Parents often ask what is expected in terms of practice time. Ideally students should practice seven days a week; one of Dr. Suzuki’s famous quotes is “Practice only on the days you eat." A baseline of daily, focused practice for 10-15 minutes is recommended for the beginner (depending on the age). As the child progresses with concentration level and with physical skills, the home lesson time will naturally lengthen. The following chart is an example of suggested practice times for your family. Daily practice sessions can be broken into multiple segments. For some students, (especially advanced students) this often works better.

Suggested Reading Material

Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki
Helping Parents Practice by Edmund Sprunger
To Learn with Love by William and Constance Starr
The Suzuki Violinist by William and Constance Starr
Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn
They’re Rarely too Young and Never to Old to Twinkle by Kay Collier Slone
Ability Development from Age Zero by Shinichi Suzuki
Time to Practice: A Companion for Parents by Carrie Reuning-Hummel

2016-17 Suzuki Tuition

Suzuki String Program

Includes weekly lessons and group classes.

30-minute lessons — $1,389
45-minute lessons — $1,875
60-minute lessons — $2,389

Suzuki Piano Program

Includes weekly lessons and group classes.

30-minute lessons — $1,230
45-minute lessons — $1,725
60-minute lessons — $2,250