Studio Policies

Welcome to my Music Studio! I am looking forward to starting our musical journey together. I hope to provide a structured, fun-filled learning environment in which your son or daughter can thrive.

Basic Philosophy of the Suzuki Approach

Violinist and teacher Shinichi Suzuki developed what is known today as the “Suzuki Method” after he realized that children all over world learn to speak their native tongues effortlessly. Through my training with Mrs. Joanne Bath at ECU, and my own hands-on teaching experience, I have adopted the Suzuki philosophy that “every child can learn to play a musical instrument”. Some key components to the success of this approach include:

  • An Early Beginning
    The early years of development are most crucial for both muscle coordination and ear training. The traditional Suzuki approach starts children with formal lessons and music appreciation as early as possible. Although starting musical training at an early age is beneficial, we believe that one is never too old to begin.

  • Parent Involvement
    The Suzuki Triangle is the symbol used to show that the teacher, the parent, and the child are all necessary to the learning process.  Each is equally important and each needs to be able to work together and support one another.

    Therefore, parents should attend lessons, take notes on what to practice, and serve as their child’s at-home teacher. The parent should understand the basics of the instrument in order to do so with confidence. Email me with questions and concerns about this, as I am more than happy to offer advice and suggestions!

  • Listening and Repetiton
    Just as your child learned to speak by hearing thousands of words daily, your child can learn music by listening every day. Repetition is essential when learning how to play an instrument. The CD that accompanies the Suzuki books, when listened to daily, makes practicing and attending lessons more successful and enjoyable!

  • Positive Environment
    It is constant praise and encouragement that makes this approach most successful. Although Suzuki taught that every child can learn and develop musicality, I also believe that each child learns at his or her own rate. My teaching style incorporates praise and new challenges in each lesson. As the parent or guardian, you are always encouraged to praise your child, but please allow the teacher to offer corrections and instruction during lessons, as this will prevent confusion.

Group classes

Monthly Saturday morning group classes are a great way to meet other students in the studio and in the surrounding area. These classes also prepare students for the performances we will present to the community at retirement homes, hospitals, and other locations. Classes will take place at 10 A.M. the Third Street Community Center and cost $10 per family.
Additionally, the Eastern North Carolina Suzuki Association will host three events this year, which I hope you will be able to attend! Registration for the ENCSA is $20, and covers the events in September and March, and allows for a discount to be applied to the January Play-In.


Each family should arrive at their lessons on time (early enough to unpack, get settled, etc.) with all necessary materials (instrument, shoulder rest, books/music, notebook). The parent or student should use a practice notebook to write down questions, as well as at-home practice assignments. Each student should have access to recordings of their working pieces at home (Suzuki CD, YouTube or iTunes playlist).


Students are expected to maintain a regular practice schedule at home. Dr. Suzuki said, “Students should practice only on the days they eat”! The study of music is very rewarding, but requires daily effort and discipline. I will assign specific weekly practice goals, and you are encouraged to email me throughout the week if you have questions about any of these assignments. Parents are expected to oversee practice sessions of their young children, so feel free to ask about games and activities that can make difficult musical challenges more successful and rewarding.

Scheduling conflicts / make-ups

I will alert you in the event of any conflicts with the semester schedule. If I need to cancel a lesson, I will provide a make-up lesson at an agreed upon time.
Due to having a full teaching schedule, I am unable to offer regularly scheduled make-up times. If you let me know in advance about an absence, I will do my best to reschedule your lesson. If an unexpected circumstance should arise on your end, I am able to reschedule or make-up one missed lesson per semester.

billing method

In keeping with the West Side String School Policy, each student will be billed for a set number of lessons for the term. Tuition may be paid in full at the beginning of the semester, or in monthly installments (which includes a one-time administrative fee of $25). Starting in Fall 2018, tuition will be as follows:

  • 30 minute private lesson = $30.00; 45 minute private lesson = $45.00.

  • Recital Fee: $10 (Due at Fall and Spring Recital Rehearsals, payable to Gabriela Potter)

Recitals / performances

I will host a Fall Studio Recital, and Mr. Chris Nunnally and I will both host a Spring Recital. Book recitals may be scheduled on an individual basis, and may take place wherever the student is most comfortable. Ms. Jon Shaw and Mr. John Holter have both offered their piano accompaniment services for such occasions.


concert attendance

We in Eastern North Carolina are very fortunate to have access to local, professional-level concerts! Concert attendance is very inspiring for young musicians, and I will make everyone aware of as many concerts as possible. The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival and the ECU Symphony Orchestra offer both ticketed and unticketed *FREE* concerts year-round! Please mark your calendars and take advantage of these opportunities!

*The Music House event calendar may be found on Facebook

Suzuki Community Resources


instrument resources

The Violin Exchange

Rob Kelly (910-892-8900)
1008 W. Broad Street
Dunn, NC 28334

Triangle Strings

Jerry Pasewicz (919-233-4991)
4911 Waters Edge Dr #200a
Raleigh, NC 27606

Potter Violins

Dalton Potter (301-652-7070)
7711 Eastern Ave
Takoma Park, MD 20912

Shar Music Online Catalog  

The Practice Shoppe

Suzuki Music on YouTube