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Suzuki String Academy: Investing in Families’ Lives through Music

Suzuki String Academy

Suzuki String Academy inspires the joy of learning music ... together By Jillian Chandler

In the spring of 2019, Sandpoint was first introduced to Suzuki String Academy. What started out as a small two-room studio in the Sandpoint Business and Events Center with just eight students has expanded and grown over the past four years and now serves more than 65 families in the community. Now residing in their own building on Baldy Mountain Road, they continue to grow.

Suzuki String Academy is the realization of a vision brought to life by Ruth Klinginsmith and Marianne Wall.

“We are so honored to witness the families in our community embracing the Suzuki philosophy. Seeing the powerful transformation and positive impacts in their lives has made our dream come true,” the two reflect.

Music has always been a big part of Ruth’s life, and it has opened many wonderful opportunities for her. Her desire to nurture the love of music in children has inspired her teaching over the last two decades. During this time Ruth founded and created several music programs. She and her family made Sandpoint their home more than 17 years ago, and she is passionate about investing in families’ lives and building beautiful hearts through music.

Growing up in a thriving Suzuki music program in Salt Lake City, Utah, Marianne knew firsthand the life impact that Suzuki had on her. She knew from an early age she wanted to be a part of pioneering a Suzuki program wherever life would lead her. After moving to Sandpoint in 2012, Marianne realized the beautiful opportunity to do just that. She is passionate about partnering with families to nurture beautiful people and cultivate a strong community of kind hearts and joyful family connections.

Together, Ruth and Marianne have created a thriving Suzuki string program. Their mission, to build beautiful hearts and nurture family and community connections through music. Suzuki String Academy provides local string students opportunities to learn and grow while building friendships and sharing their music within a supportive community environment. “Parent involvement is a key distinction of this mission, with emphasis on the parent and teacher working closely together to nurture the child,” notes Ruth. “Our mission for students in the academy is that they become more sensitive, kind, compassionate and engaged humans in their communities.”

The Suzuki method is an international method used by trained Suzuki teachers all over the world. Referred to as the “Mother Tongue Method,” it is learned just as a child would their own language; first by listening, then by imitation and repetition. When the child is developmentally ready, note reading from a page is introduced.

Shinichi Suzuki based his approach on the belief that “musical ability is not an inborn talent but an ability which can be developed. Any child who is properly trained can develop musical ability, just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. The potential of every child is unlimited.”

At Suzuki String Academy, they specialize in early childhood music education that prioritizes family involvement, with children beginning as young as 3 years of age. At the beginning, parents attend their child’s lessons and learn the instrument along with their child so they can better guide them when practicing at home. All students participate in weekly private lessons and group class—with group classes aiming to foster mentorship and camaraderie between the students.

“We teach students from ages 3 to 73. We believe that you are rarely too young and never too old to begin your musical journey,” smiles Marianne. “Currently, we have over 40 students enrolled in our school as well as directing the string orchestra programs at the Sandpoint Christian School.”

The Academy’s instructors are passionate about investing in families and developing the character of the students they work with. All instructors are trained and certified in the Suzuki Method along with being members of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. They offer a wealth of combined experience and knowledge to include child development and music pedagogy. The most rewarding part about the work that Ruth and Marianne do through Suzuki String Academy is the beautiful family connections that are being fostered through music in the community. They are thrilled to witness parents bonding with their children and creating lasting positive habits in their lives.

“Our goal is to not only cultivate life skills and character through music but also that our students would have a lifelong companion in their instrument and music,” shares Ruth. Be sure to save the dates for Friday, October 27, at First Presbyterian Church (417 North Fourth Avenue) and Friday, December 8, at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (1900 Pine Street) as Suzuki String Academy presents their free Strings Concerts. Both concerts begin at 6pm.

For those interested in Suzuki String Academy, enrollment is now open. Be sure to visit their website to explore their class offerings, and call to schedule a tour. Suzuki String Academy 1033 Baldy Mountain Road Sandpoint, Idaho 208.252.5615 Follow us @suzukistringacademy

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